by David F. Pendrys (Eyewitness account checked against official box score.)
NEW HAVEN, CT- The Yale Bulldogs staged a major comeback to tear a 33-26 win away from the Cornell Big Red at The Yale Bowl Saturday. For awhile it looked Cornell’s offense would be too much for the Bulldogs but things changed.
Cornell took the lead quickly at 9:25 on a Robert Somborn pass to Julian Gallo, but Cornell Kicker Zach Mays missed the point after. Cornell continued to build a lead and at the beginning of the 2nd quarter Luke Hagy capped a long Cornell drive with a run to the end zone. Somborn had moved the team down the field flinging the ball to Hagy, Collin Shaw, and James Hubbard. Mays had his kick blocked by Yale’s Marty Moesta though. Still the Big Red was up 12-0.
Yale fought back in the 2nd quarter as QB Morgan Roberts drove the team down the field hitting Michael Siragusa Jr. for a 42 yarder, then later Sebastian Little for 23 more. On 3rd and goal, Roberts couldn’t find the receiver he wanted and took the ball in himself from 7 yards out, and Bryan Holmes kicked it for a good point after.
Cornell responded quickly as Somborn hit a 23 yarder to Matt Sullivan and Hagy rushed 14 yards. This culminated in Somborn airing out a 37 yarder to Shaw who scored at 9:59. This time Mays hit the attempt and it was 19-7
Neither team did much with following drives until Yale went for it on a 4th and 1 but Cornell stuffed them. On the ensuing possession, the Big Red’s Hagy rushed 56 yards before Shaw caught a 13 yard pass at 0:47. Mays sent the ball through the uprights and the score was 26-7.
Despite the late score, Yale benefited from an 84 yard kick return from Jmal Locke which set up a TD at 00:32 thanks to a pass from Roberts to Ross Drwal up the middle. Though Holmes had his kick blocked by Debo Sodeke.
Halftime came and went, and Yale turned it around holding Cornell from scoring the entire half all the while chipping away at the deficit.
At 11:19 in the third, Yale pulled off a long drive but had to settle for a field goal and Holmes knocked the 26 yarder through. Chandler Rich began it with a 16 yard run, followed by various solid complete passes to Myles Gaines, Robert Clemons III, Siragusa Jr, and Little.
On a third and thirteen during a Cornell possession Somborn lofted a pass which Yale’s Victor Egu intercepted giving the Bulldogs better field position and stifling the drive, but they were unable to turn it into points.
Not much happened for awhile until Yale closed out an unimpressive set of downs with a punt. However, Cornell’s Luis Uceta fumbled the return and Hunter Simino pounced on it at the Cornell 40. A pass from Roberts to Stephen Buric put Yale in great position but a pair of dropped passes caused the Bulldogs to settle for a field goal at 11:09 in the 4th when Holmes knocked in a 37 yarder to make it 26-19. Yale was now within one touchdown as the Cornell missed extra points really were coming back to bite them.
Cornell managed to eat up 7:37 of clock on their next drive. Yale took a costly pass interference penalty on a 3rd and 5 to keep the Big Red drive going. Somborn and fellow QB Jake Jatis nibbled away at yardage and time with a lot of rushes and short passes primarily. They also went for it on 4th and 1 and succeeded. However Yale kept them ultimately to a field goal attempt which J. Hunter Roman blocked.
Roberts went to work hitting Gaines for 18, Little for 10, and Clemons III for 14. A pass to Drawl put them at the Cornell 8 and Clemons III caught an TD pass from Roberts. Holmes successfully kicked it in at 1:12 to tie the game.
Cornell’s ensuing possession was over quickly as Yale held them. With the ball back and little time Roberts completed a second down pass to Buric for a first down. After an incomplete pass Roberts hit Little who dashed forward up the middle. When all was said and done it was a 52 yard TD pass at :32. Holmes nailed the kick for the eventual 33-26 final score.
Cornell had one last chance but Yale sacked Somborn twice in a row with Andrew Larkin, and Moesta earning the honors. Incomplete passes followed and that was that.
As a note, Shaw had the Cornell highlight of the game when he came up with the beautiful one handed catch.
Stat-wise for Cornell, Somborn was 20-30 for 238 yards, 3 TDs, and an interception. Hagy ran for 117, averaging 5.1, picking up a TD also also snagging 44 receiving yards. Shaw not surprisingly had a good day averaging 16.3 for 114 yards and 2 TDs. Defensively, Nick Gesualdi had 10 tackles, Mike Staples acquired 7. Miles Norris, Jackson Weber, and J.J. Fives each had a sack.
For Yale, Roberts went 25-47 and had 371 yards and 3 TDs. He also rushed for 29 yards on the ground and 1 TD. Rich averaged 4.9 yards for 44 yards totals with Deshawn Salter averaging 3.3 for 36. Sebastian Little caught 100 yards on 4 catches total and 1 TD. Clemons had 86 yards and 1 TD, averaging 10 per catch while Siragusa had 77 yards on 3 catches. Defensively, Hayden Carlson had 10 tackles, Cole Champion grabbed 9, Victor Egu 8, and Darius Manora had 7. Egu, Larkin, and Moesta had the team’s 3 sacks.
With the win Yale is 2-0 (1-0 in the Ivy League) and Cornell is 0-2, (0-1 in Ivy League Play.)
Cornell has posted a highlights package: