My rants and insight into Colgate athletics and Patriot League sports

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Cornell Scouting Report

There it is Colgate fans: The starting offense for the Big Red. Word is the formula was recently updated to provide for a bolder hot cinnamon taste and that it gives longer lasting fresh breath than before.

In all seriousness Colgate fans, this year's game should be just as close and exciting as years past. Cornell has to be sensing that this could be the year that they get the monkey off their backs and get that 'W'. Cornell is without a doubt an improving team, so if the Raiders continue their turnover ways, don't be surprised for a homecoming loss. Let's see how the Big Red stack up.


Cornell likes to run and they've got a few tools to do it with. So far sophomore Luke Siwula appears to be the go to guy with senior quarterback Ryan Kuhn being a threat in his own right. The Big Red also broke in freshman quaterback Nathan Ford in the second half of the Yale game. Ford looked to do pretty well with 112 yards passing and 10 out of 17 completions. It does not appear that there was any injury to Kuhn, so it was probably to see if the frosh could get the offense going when the Big Red were flat.

Kevin Boothe is the man to watch on the line. This senior offensive tackle is huge at 6'4" 327 lbs. and has drawn a lot of interest from the NFL. Recently Mel Kiper named him the top draft prospect outside of I-A. You can expect that Cornell will be looking to run behind #77 often.

More impressively, against Bucknell this offense put up 293 yards rushing on 53 carries. Now the Bison have been down so far this year, but that is a heck of a lot of yardage against a defense that was supposed to be one of the best in the Patriot League.

The good news for Colgate is that we've got ourselves a pretty good run defense ourselves. Cornell does not have a more impressive rushing attack than UMass, so if the Raider defense comes to play, we could have some success here shutting the Big Red down. What does scare me is a mobile quarterback. UMass didn't have one - but CCSU sure did. I will look for Colgate to bring up eight in the box and try to force Cornell to have to pass to beat Colgate. With the play of our defensive backs so far, as long as we don't have a mental slip against a deep pass, this plays well into Colgate's strengths. I do not think though that Cornell will give up the run easily, so I expect some smash mouth football on Andy Kerr come Saturday. The battle at the line could be the deciding factor in the game.


Cornell's defense looked good against Bucknell, but looking at the season so far, who hasn't looked good in containing the Bison? Against Yale it looks like they gave up the deep ball for three Yale touchdowns. It also looks like they continued to have a solid run defense by limiting the Eli to a total of 102 yards on the ground. Not having seen the game though, that stat could be deceiving. With the air game going so well, some times there is no need to pound it out on the ground.

The leader of the defense is senior safety Kevin Rex. He is joined by fellow seniors Joel Sussman at linebacker and Matt Pollock at the tackle position. Cornell will put a priority on stopping the run.

Judging by the two deep that was released yestereday, Mike Saraceno will get the ball on Saturday. His back up will be none other than freshman Anthony Fucillo. It appears a front runner has emerged out of our freshman three. Another freshman will be making his collegiate start at tailback: Jordan Scott. I had some high hopes for Scott coming into this season, and after his nice performance in limited time against Dartmouth, it appears that the tandem of Scott and J.J. Bennett could be the future of the Colgate running game.

Colgate's weakness so far this season, the running game, plays right into Cornell's strength; however the Big Red showed last week they can give up the big play. If Saraceno (or Fucillo if need be) can find some sort of rythm and hit our very talented receivers, we might just have something to work with in the air. DeWayne Long and Kenny Parker should be able to take advantage of the Cornell defensive backs. The key is all in Saraceno's hands. If Colgate falls behind or Saraceno turns the over the ball a la CCSU, we could see Fucillo given a shot in the second half.

Special teams

Biddle has stated that we will need to win some games with our special teams, and this game shouldn't be any different. Cornell has some good place kicking, as evidenced by a 45 yarder on turf earlier this year. Clearly any trip to the Colgate end of the field could end in points for the Big Red. We will need to keep their kicker out of range in this potential close game. They have also had some luck blocking field goals too.

For Colgate, Geoff Bean has looked good returning kicks and we might be able to use this to our advantage. At home, a big return could be the spark that we need to push us over the edge to a victory.

The skinny

Colgate fans should come to the game pumped for some good old smash mouth football and a close contest between two heated rivals. The Raider defense will once again be asked to carry the load and give the offense some opportunities to score; if not score themselves. The Raider offense will need to play mistake free football and perhaps fine themselves a future star in the backfield.

It has the potential to be a good one. Let's hope the week off and the return to Andy Kerr does this team some good. As always, Let's Go 'Gate!


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