Sports

Still in hunt for Ivy crown, football tops Cornell behind Farnham ’10

By
Senior Staff Writer
Monday, October 26, 2009

It was turning out to be a defensive battle in Ithaca.

Midway through the third quarter of Saturday’s Brown-Cornell football game, the Bears had only one touchdown, and the Big Red defense had scored Cornell’s only two touchdowns. Then 15 seconds changed everything.

With his team trailing 14-7, Brown quarterback Kyle Newhall-Caballero ’11 spotted wide-receiver Buddy Farnham ’10 wide open near the right sideline. Fifty-six yards later, Farnham was in the end zone and the Bears were an extra point away from tying the score, 14-14.

After the ensuing kickoff, Cornell had the ball at its 34-yard line. On the first play of the drive, Big Red quarterback Ben Ganter tried to pass to one of his receivers. But defensive end and co-captain Jimmy Develin ’10 got it instead. Develin ran the interception back to Cornell’s six-yard line. One play later, running back Zach Tronti ’11 found the end zone, giving Brown its first lead of the game, 21-14.

Four plays. Fifteen seconds. Two touchdowns.

The Bears never looked back, and ran away with a 34-14 victory.

“That 15 seconds was huge,” said Head Coach Phil Estes. “After that, the offense really kicked in and just controlled the football game.”

Once they had the lead, the Bears turned away from their pass-focused offense and kept the ball on the ground, chewing up time and slowly advancing down the field. Of their 24 offensive plays in the fourth quarter, 19 were rushes.

Tronti finished the day with 26 carries for 134 yards and three touchdowns.

“He made some great runs,” Estes said. He got to the sideline and made the edge. He set up his blocks really well.”

But Tronti and the rest of the offense struggled to get drives going in the first half. The Bears’ only first-half touchdown was a 48-yard pass to Farnham, who didn’t have anyone within 20 yards of him because of a miscommunication between two of Cornell’s defensive backs, according to Cornell safety Anthony Ambrosi.

Farnham’s first touchdown was one of his nine catches for 207 yards.

The Bears had to rely heavily on Farnham after the Bears’ other star receiver, Bobby Sewall ’10, came down hard on his head and back and was sidelined for the rest of the game.

“I mean, he basically took over the game,” said Estes of Farnham. “With Sewall out, he knew the ball would be coming his way … He’s one of the best football players I have ever been around.”

Other than Farnham, no Brown player found the end zone before halftime, and the Bears entered their locker room tied, 7-7.

Ambrosi led Cornell’s defense in the first half with nine tackles, one fumble recovery and a touchdown. A former running back who converted to safety this summer, Ambrosi said he never thought his first college touchdown would have been at safety.

“We had some tough breaks in the first half,” said co-captain and left-tackle Paul Jasinowski ’10.

On a play that ended with a Cornell touchdown, the officials ruled that Newhall-Caballero fumbled, but Estes said the tapes showed that they should have called it an incomplete pass. A few downs before, the referees ruled a late hit on a play that Estes said was still going when the contact occurred.

And Farnham caught a ball that one referee said was a touchdown, but another official said the receiver bobbled the ball and was out of bounds by the time he had possession.

“That was a touchdown,” Estes said. “The guy that called it, the field judge, was behind the play. I don’t think he should have been making that call. The backfield judge had clearly (seen) it, and it was a catch.”

“It’s calls like that,” Estes said. “We just couldn’t keep things going because we just constantly got moved back or plays taken away from us. It’s deflating when you make a great play.”

The Bears’ defense kept Brown in the game during the first half, and played well throughout. The defensive line combined for 6.5 tackles for loss on the day, with five different linemen getting at least one.

“You’ve got to give them credit,” said Cornell receiver Bryan Walters. “They dominated us up front.”

Walters, who has more receiving yards than anyone in the Ivy League except Farnham, was one of the few bright spots in Cornell’s offensive attack. He finished with seven catches for 105 yards.

Two different quarterbacks were on the other end of Walters’ receptions. Ganter, who separated his throwing shoulder two weeks ago, shared time at quarterback with Stephen Liuzza, who is listed on Cornell’s roster as a wide receiver.

But that didn’t stop Cornell from throwing with Liuzza, who was 10-of-13 passing for 124 yards on the day. He also had 10 rushes, but gained only nine yards on the ground. Ganter was 10-of-20 passing for 101 yards.

Ganter, who Walters said usually has a “rocket arm,” couldn’t put as much power behind his long throws on Saturday.

The Bears’ win keeps them in third in the Ivy League, behind Penn and Harvard, who remain unbeaten in league play.

The Bears will get a crack at Penn Saturday when they return to Brown Stadium. Sewall said he will be healthy for the game.

“Penn is a good team,” Jasinowski said. “They’re a lot like us. They’re tough. They’re hard-hitting. That’s the kind of football they like to play, so I think that will be a real good game.”

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