On one of the few weekends in Ithaca, N.Y., where the weather is actually bearable, there were remarkably few students on Cornell’s campus.
It was fall break for students, which marks an annual mass exodus from upstate New York for the second weekend of October.
It was probably a good thing the vast majority of the students weren’t around to see the Big Red Big Bloodshed.
Saturday’s 40-3 dismantling of the Cornell football team (0-4, 0-2 Ivy) was just the fourth in line in a series of 2015 slaughters by the Harvard squad (4-0, 2-0).
Surprisingly, the majority of people actually in attendance at Schoellkopf Field—definitely a much smaller number than the 7,092 recorded tickets distributed—appeared to stick out the entire game, an impressive feat considering the final 13 minutes consisted of just five first downs gained, 91 total offensive yards, and a whopping zero points.
Maybe these diehard Cornellians were somehow not bored by yet another mundane Harvard final quarter, but I was ready for this game to be over by the time Crimson quarterback Scott Hosch barreled into the end zone to begin the fourth quarter.
As Harvard coach Tim Murphy emptied the end of his bench—which has seen nearly as much playing time as the starters this season thus far—it felt like déjà vu.
Eighteen at Rhode Island, 40 against Brown, 45 versus Georgetown, and now 31 over Cornell.
Those are the leads that the Crimson has held at the third quarter for each game this season.
Of any of the teams that Harvard has faced this year, however, Cornell seemed to have the best shot of snapping the 17-game win streak—at least, early on.
When the Crimson’s offense stalled on its first possession, the Big Red marched all the way to Harvard’s 16-yard line before kicking a field goal.
Suddenly, Murphy’s team found itself in a position it had yet to experience all season: trailing.
Perhaps something about the startling and unfamiliar feeling of being behind jump-started the Crimson offense.
On the ensuing kickoff return, rookie receiver Justice Shelton Mosley showed that he was a more than adequate replacement for injured kick returner and receiver Andrew Fischer, bringing the ball 47 yards back to set up Harvard in Cornell territory.
One play later, Hosch connected with senior tight end Ben Braunecker for the score. Seventeen seconds, seven points, and trailing no longer.
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