The formula established by the Cornell seniors – ball control offense, stingy against the run defensively, and a steely reserve against adversity – played itself out in the final home contest of their collegiate career. The Big Red used all three phases of the game to pull out a 17-13 win over defending Ivy League champion Dartmouth on Saturday afternoon at Schoellkopf Field.
Cornell held the ball for nearly 38 minutes on offense and piled up 141 rushing yards, limited the Big Green to 47 yards on the ground itself, answered Dartmouth’s go-ahead score with a special teams touchdown, and guaranteed itself its first .500 or better season since 2011 in the process.
Connor Henderson had 10 tackles and a key pass breakup in the fourth quarter, Brody Kidwell recorded three tackles for loss, and Trey Harris forced a fumble that was recovered by senior captain Demetrius Harris to spur a defense that allowed just 281 total yards. The offense methodically used the clock to its advantage, keeping the Big Green defense on the field for 37:52 grinding out 17 first downs. Robert Tucker III scored the lone touchdown, the first of his career, on a 1-yard run in the second quarter to give the home team the lead and registered 36 total yards on the ground, one of four Big Red players to tote the ball for at least 29 yards. Jameson Wang controlled the game, completing 13-of-18 passes for 128 yards and running for 32 more with both Nicholas Laboy (three catches, 39 yards) and Thomas Glover (three catches, 31 yards) his favorite targets.
While both the offense and defense did their part, it was the special teams that provided the punch. Freshman Davon Kiser gifted Cornell the go-ahead score late in the third quarter with an electric 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, the first by a Big Red player since Rashad Campbell took a kick back 78 yards at Princeton on Oct. 29, 2011. It was the 20th kickoff return for a score in school history. Additionally, Jackson Kennedy booted all four of his kickoffs through the end zone for touchdowns and his 28-yard field goal in the fourth meant that Dartmouth couldn’t settle for one of its own in the final seconds, and Cornell’s defense broke up a pass in the end zone as time expired to earn the victory.
The Big Red will close the 2022 season when it visits Columbia in a battle for the Empire State Bowl on Saturday, November 19, at 1 p.m. at Wien Stadium.