Princeton (2-4, 1-2 Ivy) at Cornell (3-3, 1-2 Ivy)
Nov. 1, 1 p.m. -- Schoellkopf Field, Ithaca, N.Y.
(Photo courtesy Mark Anbinder/Flickr.com)
In the last eight years, all but one Princeton-Cornell game has been decided by a touchdown or less. Each team has won four of those eight contests. Jordan Culbreath ’10 ran for 145 yards and two touchdowns in a rain-soaked Princeton win over the Big Red last season.
Cornell opened 3-0 with wins over Bucknell, Yale, and Lehigh, but lost its next three, giving up 34.3 points per game in the losses. Princeton also enters this week's game on a three-game skid. The Tigers led Harvard, 20-17, early in the fourth quarter Oct. 25, but fell behind, 24-20, on a late touchdown.
Players to watch
Princeton offensive tackles Mark Paski ’10 and J.P. Makrai ’10
Paski and Makrai joined the starting lineup as freshmen. Two years later, they're the experienced stalwarts on a unit that has paved the way for the Ivy's top rushing offense. Each of Princeton's five linemen takes partial responsibility for calling blocking assignments at the line of scrimmage. "We talk a lot this year," Makrai said. "We call out ’backers, blitzes. We call out who we're going to double-team. It helps to be that talkative, because you know exactly what's going to happen."
Cornell senior safety Tim Bax
Princeton coach Roger Hughes knows exactly how many times Bax blitzed his Tigers last year: 27. The safety managed to make one tackle for a loss and contributed to 11 tackles overall. But that only tells part of the story. "They blitz about 60 percent of the time, generally from the edge," Hughes said. "Their game plan is set up to stop what you like to do best. ... You've got to have some different [plays], or present them in a different manner than you have in the past to make sure we keep them off balance."
Around the Ivies
Brown and Penn, the Ivy's two 3-0 teams, face off at Franklin Field Nov. 1 at noon (to be televised on Versus). The Bears have won three championships in 52 years of Ivy football, but remarkably, this is their first 3-0 start in Ivy play, according to The Providence Journal. Meanwhile, The Daily Pennsylvanian's Matt Flegenheimer reports that the Quakers' "headphoned honcho," Al Bagnoli, "has been vintage Al in ’08, pushing all the right buttons and looking every bit like the ringleader of six Ivy titles from 1993 to 2003." Also on the schedule this week: Columbia (1-2) at Yale (1-2), and Harvard (2-1) at Dartmouth (0-3).
Expect to see quarterbacks Brian Anderson ’09 and Dan Kopolovich ’10 split time behind center, as they did in the first half of the Harvard game. Hughes said that since Anderson's shoulder injury likely will linger for a few weeks, he hopes to minimize the number of hits that the senior absorbs. Kopolovich completed three of five passing attempts for 29 yards against the Crimson.
On the offensive line's goal to improve Princeton's running game: "We came into this season with the mentality that we wanted to run the ball. We worked really hard in the offseason. We wanted to get bigger, we wanted to get faster. We told Jordan [Culbreath ’10] we were going to make the coaches give him the carries."