Bucknell used Cornell’s formula of stout defense and a methodical offensive attack to rally past the Big Red to claim a 21-13 win on Saturday afternoon at Schoellkopf Field. Cornell fell to 2-3, while Bucknell upped its record to 2-4.
Coleman Bennett rushed for 157 yards for a Bison team that pounded out 176 yards on the group, with Rushawn Baker and Ralph Rucker finding the end zone. Nick Semptimphelter came off the bench to throw a 6-yard touchdown to Damian Harris in the fourth quarter that provided the final scoring.
The Big Red was held to 282 yards of offense, including just 82 on the ground. Jameson Wang ran for 40 yards and Cornell’s lone touchdown, scampering in from 5 yards out early in the second half to give Cornell a 13-7 lead and the junior his 18th career rushing score and 40th total touchdown accounted for. The Bison scored late in the third and early in the fourth to regain the edge and never allowed Cornell back in it, surrendering just 61 yards on the Big Red’s final three drives.
Wang completed 15-of-26 passes for 200 yards through the air, including finding Nicholas Laboy four times for 89 yards. Wang surpassed both 4,000 yards of total offense and 3,000 passing yards in the contest.
Senior place-kicker Jackson Kennedy connected on a pair of field goals, giving him 10 on the season. He also averaged 47.5 yards on two punts with one, a 65-yarder, downed inside the 20.
The Big Red defense forced two Bison turnovers and forced Bucknell into a miserable 9-of-21 passing day in the wet conditions. Connor Hendersonposted a game-high 10 stops with two coming for a loss, Noah Taylor had nine tackles with one behind the line of scrimmage and Hunter Sloanmade seven with a pair of quarterback hurries. Paul Lewis made five tackles with a sack and a forced fumble, Muhammad-Ali Kobo notched six stops with a sack and a pass breakup and Brody Kidwell intercepted a pass to go along with five tackles.
The teams did plenty of feeling each other out in the first half with the Bison taking a 7-6 lead into the locker room despite a pair of Kennedy field goals, the second a 35-yarder to close out the half.
Cornell took the ball to begin the second half and went 61 yards on five plays to take its first lead since 3-0. A pair of 24-yard gainers through the air from Wang to Laboy and then Robbert highlighted the drive, with Wang going the final 11 yards himself for the touchdown.
Bucknell answered two drives later with a 73-yard drive that ate up 5:03 off the block and ended with Baker’s 1-yard score. Cornell would punt on the ensuing drive, with the Bison again marching downfield, this time for 75 yards and a touchdown that pushed the lead to 21-13. The Bison picked up a pair of third-and-longs, the second a pinpoint connection from Semptimphelter to Eric Weatherly for 36 yards on a third-and-12.
Needing a touchdown and a two-point conversion to knot the score, the Big Red was forced to punt after a three-and-out. After the defense got a big stop, Bucknell turned the home team over on downs and ran out the clock to claim the victory.
- After forcing a Bucknell three-and-out, the Big Red started its first drive of the game. After earning a first down, the Bison tipped the ball out of Wang’s hand as he was throwing, forcing an interception.
- Six plays later, Kidwell secured his first career interception, adding on a 33-yard return. Wet conditions helped to keep the Big Red out of the end zone, but Kennedy put the first points on the board with his 46-yard field goal with 6:01 remaining in the quarter.
- Muhammad-Ali Kobo helped the Big Red force another Bucknell punt on the ensuing drive when he sacked Rucker for a loss of 7 yards on first-and-10 on the Cornell 48. It marked his first sack of the season.
- The Bison started the second quarter with the ball on their own 28-yard line. Two Cornell penalties totaling 25 yards helped Bucknell to get to first-and-goal, where it found its first points of the day with a touchdown at the 10:58 mark on a quarterback keeper taken from the Cornell 1-yard line.
- Cornell’s second drive of the quarter began after Paul Lewis III forced his first career fumble that Hunter Sloan recovered. The Big Red started at the Bucknell 44-yard line. Wang commanded the offense down the field to the 18, but the Bison defense managed to hold Cornell to another field goal, keeping the Bucknell lead to 7-6 at the break.
- A Davon Kiser return for 29 yards opened the second half, which was followed up by a 24-yard completion from Wang to Laboy, who made an acrobatic one-handed catch to get the Big Red up to the Bucknell 37.
- Wang matched the distance two plays later for season-long reception by Matthew Robbert, helping get the Big Red to the red zone. Wang kept the ball the next two plays, ending in the end zone for the first Cornell touchdown of the day 2:05 into the quarter.
- Manny Adebi, Cornell’s go-to kick blocker, tallied his first-career catch late in the third quarter for 7 yards.
- Bucknell broke the 20-point mark with 10:02 remaining in the game, when Nick Semptimphelter found Damian Harris in the back to the end zone.
- The Big Red stays home next weekend when it hosts Brown for the first home Ivy action of the year. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.on Saturday, Oct. 21 at Schoellkopf Field.
- Fans at home can catch the action on ESPN+.