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Football prepares for Ivy showdown with Cornell

After three weeks on the road, the football team will return home to face the Cornell Big Red. Bruno (3-2, 2-0 Ivy League) will look to extend its perfect record in league play while the Big Red (1-4, 0-2) enter the game seeking their first conference win.

Even though Cornell heads into the game with a less-than-stellar overall record, running back Zach Tronti '11 cautioned against underestimating the Big Red.

"Cornell is a solid football team that we cannot overlook, despite their record," Tronti wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. "It is going to be very important for us to get things going on offense early, especially since we have struggled during the past few games."

Though Cornell is starting several freshmen on offense, they do have the talent and potential to scare — and potentially surprise — the Bears as Princeton did last weekend, said Head Coach Phil Estes.

"They have good overall team speed, especially their wideouts," he said. "They are very young and inexperienced, but they are getting better each game."

One of the challenges heading into Saturday's game will be the aggressive scheme employed by Cornell. Unlike previous opponents, Cornell plays mostly man-to-man and relies heavily on blitzes to disrupt opposing offenses.

To win, the Bears will need their receivers to get off jams and win the one-on-ones on the outside. Correctly diagnosing blitzes and picking them up  — a problem earlier in the season — will also be key.

The defense, on the other hand, will look to build upon their performance in a stifling second half against Princeton, in which they limited the Tigers to only 43 total yards. The Bears will look to exploit Cornell's young offensive line, which has already surrendered 27 sacks and features two freshman tackles. By putting pressure on Cornell's starting quarterback Jeff Mathews — another freshman — the Bears hope to force mistakes and create turnovers.

The Family Weekend game will kick off at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.


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