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Cornell falls to Colgate in home opener

Junior quarterback Jameson Wang accounted for three touchdowns, but Colgate rallied in the fourth quarter to top Cornell 35-25 on Saturday afternoon at Schoellkopf Field. The Big Red dropped its first contest of the year in its home opener and saw its five-game non-conference win streak come to an end in the process. Colgate improved to 1-4 with the victory.

Colgate took its first lead of the contest with 12:35 to play on Zach Osborne’s 10-yard score and then pushed the edge to 11 after Brendan Cassamajor found paydirt from a yard out with 5:48 remaining to make it 28-17. 

Just when it looked like it was done, the Big Red made a game of it.

Cornell marched 75 yards on 12 plays, scoring on an 11-yard pass from Wang to Nicholas Laboy with 2:29 left. Wang kept the ball himself on the two-point conversion play, getting the Big Red within a field goal.

The Big Red held on a three-and-out, getting the football back with 2:03 to play at its own 3 after a 48-yard punt pinned Cornell in. After a short gain on first back, Wang was hit in the end zone and fumbled, with the Raiders jumping on it for the touchdown with 1:37 to play, sealing the deal for Colgate.

Wang ended the day 23-of-36 passing for 226 yards and a touchdown and ran for 63 more with two scores to pace a Big Red offense that tallied 384 yards. Laboy had his first career 100-yard receiving game with seven catches for 104 yards and a score. Nine different players caught a pass, including Luke Malaga’s 21-yard grab in the fourth for his first career catch.

Noah Taylor made a career-high 15 tackles for the Big Red defense, while Anthony Chideme-Alfaro intercepted a pass and had a half-tackle for loss. Luke Banbury made seven stops, including five in the first quarter.

Zach Osborne, who came in on Colgate’s second play from scrimmage following an injury to starting quarterback Michael Brescia, ran for 62 yards and a touchdown and threw for 179 more with two scores. Treyvhon Saunders caught a touchdown among his seven catches for 74 yards, with William Parker adding a touchdown catch. Punter Shelby Pruett was also a difference-maker for the visitors, averaging 52.5 yards on four punts with a pair downed inside the 20, including the late punt that allowed Colgate to pressure for its defensive score.

Cornell led 17-14 at halftime on the strength of two Wang touchdown runs and a 34-yard Jackson Kennedy field goal as time expired in the first 30 minutes to send the home team to the locker room with the lead.

FIRST QUARTER

• The Big Red defense held Colgate to a three-and-out to open the game after the Raiders elected to return the opening kickoff.
• After being force to punt, the Cornell defense again came up big when Hunter Sloan recovered a fumble and returned it to the Colgate 10-yard line. The Big Red scored on the next play when Wang scrambled to the end zone to get Cornell on the boards.
• 4:40 later, the Raiders found the end zone on a 20-yard pass to knot the quarter at seven.

SECOND QUARTER

• It took the Big Red on 5:33 to get back in the end zone, once again on a quarterback keeper from Wang. The Kennedy extra-point put Cornell ahead 14-7.
• Colgate turned the ball over on downs after a Cornell defensive stop at the Big Red’s own 38, but the Raiders held strong, forcing a Cornell three-and-out to regain possession.
• The Raiders turned the defensive momentum into offensive success, marching down the field 90 yards to score on an eight-yard pass from Osborne to Parker.
• With two minutes left in the quarter, the Big Red pushed on the gas, but were held to a field goal to hold a 17-14 lead at the break.

THIRD QUARTER

• A scoreless third quarter from both teams saw a combined nine first downs.
• In the third quarter alone, Taylor accounted for five tackles.

FOURTH QUARTER

• From 4:42 of the third quarter through 12:35 of the fourth, Colgate put together a 17 play, 97 yard, 7:07 drive to take a 21-17 lead.
• After forcing a three-and-out from the Big Red, the Raiders took advantage of the short field off a 25-yard punt from Kennedy, but the Cornell defense held strong on third and 13, preventing a first down and forcing a field goal, which Colgate kicker, Jacob Jaworski, missed wide left, giving Cornell the ball back on its own 23.
• The Raiders responded with a forced fumble on Wang, recovering on the Big Red’s 19, and capitalizing on the short field position to take a 28-17 lead.

NEXT UP

• The Big Red returns to the road to take on Harvard in a Friday night nationally-televised battle on Oct. 6, at 7 p.m. at Harvard Stadium.
• Fans at home can catch the game on ESPNU.
• The Crimson lead the all-time series 50-34-2 and has won three consecutive contests between the teams.