Thursday, November 10, 2011

Scouting Cornell

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Jeff Matthews


Rather than trying to fix all the things that were wrong with the Big Red all at once, Head Coach Kent Austin seized on his talented freshman QB Jeff Matthews last season and decided to focus on creating a solid passing offense.

Matthews is a sophomore now and is turning into one of the best passers in all of FCS football.

That's the biggest reason for Cornell's resurgence this season into at least a respectable team and hardly an easy "W" for anyone in this league.


The Big Red have 2,346 yards passing this season versus 627 yards rushing.

Get the picture?

Matthews is the offense and opposing teams know it.

Considering how often Matthews passes, (35 times per game), Cornell's 22 sacks allowed isn't such a bad stat. But clearly, it's not a bad idea to come after the Big Red QB.

Matthews has three receivers with at least 500 yards receiving. Tops among them is senior Shane Savage with 50 catches for 732 yards and six TD's. Junior Luke Tasker, (son of Buffalo Bills great Steve Tasker), is not to be ignored with a 16.6 yards-per-catch average and three touchdowns.

The running game is used sparingly. Lead rusher senior Ryan Houska gets about 10 carries a game and he's averaging a solid 4.4 yards per rush. Sophomore Grant Gellatly is the #2 guy with about seven carries per game. No Big Red rusher has had a run of more than 30 yards this season.


The Cornell defense is still having a terrible time containing the run, and it was torched by Dartmouth's runners all day last week in Hanover.

The Big Red allow 198 yards on the ground per game and a whopping 4.5 yards per rush. Opponents have averaged 44 rushing attempts per game against the Red as they tend to keep running at them until it stops working, and it rarely does.

By contrast, opposing teams pass the ball just 27 times per game for a 62%-38% run-to-pass ratio. But opponents still average just over 200 yards per game through the air against the Red.

Special Teams

PK Brad Greenway is having a fantastic season. He's missed just one of 12 FG attempts and is a perfect 4-4 from 40-49 yards out. He's a perfect 22-22 on PAT's.

Greenway is also the primary punter. He does that job solidly, but not at all as fantastically as he does the kicking.

Tasker and senior Rashad Campbell are both dangerous kick returners with KO return averages well over 25 yards per return. But Tasker has not been spectacular as a punt returner.


At Thu Nov 10, 02:47:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be great if Bill Campbell camne to the final two games to draw whatever conclusions need to be drawn. Let's face it; he is the primary decision maker here. I would like to note that our team has not collapsed and continues to play hard. Nor has we suffered from attrition during the season, whihc was prevalent during the end of the Shoop era. If we can put together two halves like the first half of the Harvard game I think we will win on Saturday.

At Thu Nov 10, 04:22:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous KSMDAWG3 said...

All I know is Columbia has the horses to win this week, and thats all I am expecting. I hope these kids go play for themseves the parents, the fans, students, and some of the coaches who actually care...DB coach, WR coach. Lets go lions!!! Stop the Streak! I did want to mention CB Ross Morand..has that top end speed, after watch his pick six no one was close. Maybe we should get him involved more on special teams, and WHEN IS #8 WR GONNA GET THE ROCK ....CMON MAN GET HIM THE BALL! wait wait wait... thats right 1st 3 plays draw draw qb scramble, or a one man route in double coverage! as Al Davis would say " Just Win Baby"


At Thu Nov 10, 07:34:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two deep is out. A few surprises. Childress starting at DE. Carter and Melka starting. Lowry at RB

At Thu Nov 10, 10:38:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melka played a solid game against Harvard. Carter also did well. Martin made about ten tackles. Mistretta had another very good game. Waller has emerged as a leader. Expect our linebackers to play a very important role against Cornell.

At Thu Nov 10, 10:44:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we defeat Cornell, can we put Ross Morand on offense for a few plays against Brown.

At Thu Nov 10, 11:28:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger cathar said...

Seasons still change. Friday night on ESPNU, Lions men's basketball vs. UConn, first game of the season for both teams.

I realize we're meant to serve as sacrificial victims here. But it's also a national showcase of a team that Kyle Smith clearly made his own last season. It was especially impressive how much more he seemed to get out of the five seniors he inherited from Joe Jones.

And the first home game is Monday night vs. Furman, which rarely gets up this way. Followed by always-tough American on Friday night.

At Thu Nov 10, 07:26:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cather, I have been a devoted FB fan this season, but also love BB. I wish them all the best,hope they have a winning season! Go Lions!

At Thu Nov 10, 10:34:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harvard's basketball team, which is filled with NBA wannabees, is also scheduled to play UConn next month. With the exception of Dartmouth, all of the Ivy League schools have beefed up their basketball programs in the last couple of years. Brown even has a freshman center from Brazil whose eligibility appears to be under review by the NCAA. Penn has two freshman players from the United Kingdom. Harvard has pictures on its athletics website of its highly recruited basketball players shaking hands with Harvard University President Faust and other big shots. Keep in mind that unlike football,there are no academic index restrictions on Ivy League Basketball recruits. When Harvard hired Amaker the admissions office even accepted a seven footer from a community college in Iowa who had transferred from the University of Indiana and before that a school in Europe. Harvard, gets away with murder because it's Harvard and everyone assumes that anything Harvard does is correct which is not always the case. Harvard wins because it wants to win more than other schools and its administrators don't take decades to get a practice field on campus for its football team. Anyway, at the very least, President Bollinger should take a lesson from President Faust of Harvard and start shaking hands with Columbia's student-athletes in photos on line and on senior day. If Harvard's President is doing it, so should President Bollinger. As President of the University he should be sending a strong message that he supports our hard-working student-athletes. Jake, I think we should all urge President Bollenger to go down on the field on Senior Day against Brown and shake hands with the granuating seniors and their parents.

At Thu Nov 10, 10:49:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone said "Two deep is out. A few surprises. Childress starting at DE. Carter and Melka starting. Lowry at RB"

Childress has done well since they have been playing him at DE. He had a really good game last week. With Frasher and Groth injured there really isn't much surprise in the DL 2-Deep.

Lowry has made yardage the last two weeks so there is no surprise there.

At Thu Nov 10, 10:49:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may be correct as a matter of semantics that everyone except Dartmouth has upgraded the bball program "in the last couple of years." But Dartmouth is currently undergoing a massive upgrade to its hoops facilities, and President Kim has publicly stated that he wants to win a Ivy men's basketball title in the next five years. It may take some more time, but Dartmouths' days as a league hoops doormat should be ending soon.

At Thu Nov 10, 10:51:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about getting Donald Trump involved with Columbia Athletics? Sure he's a Penn guy, but he' a mover and a shaker, who doesn't put up with nonsense and would make certain that our athletes, and for that matter, all Columbia students, have better recreational facilities in a matter of months.

At Thu Nov 10, 10:54:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any chance that we can get President Kim of Dartmouth to exchange places with Bollinger?

At Thu Nov 10, 10:55:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the Thu Nov 10, 07:49:00 AM PST poster.

When the Big Green sets that kind of goal they will eventually get there. It will be interesting to watch their BB team in the coming years.

At Thu Nov 10, 10:57:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What, if anything, has President Bollinger done to improve athletic facilities for Columbia undergraduates during his tenure?

At Thu Nov 10, 11:00:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who cares, here is a link to Dartmouth's President and AD (along with the coaches) affirming their commitment to the basketball program:

At Fri Nov 11, 02:55:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re top end speed: I would call anything under 4.6 for the 40 as top end speed. Regarding our WRs and RBs, do we have anybody who meets my definition?

At Fri Nov 11, 06:45:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 11:55 poster
2 of the freshman WR have posted sub 4.6 40s.
Slivka and Nelligan
Both have received playing time which has increased as of late.

At Fri Nov 11, 07:44:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Garretts hurt that's why lowery is starting.

At Fri Nov 11, 11:50:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Dartmouth committing to improve at BB - if football is an example, not any time soon.

Saying it and doing it are two very different things. Lions know this. If there's one sport where Lions should have a recruiting advantage, it's Bball in this urban area.

At Sat Nov 12, 09:25:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ANON 7:34
What is the source of your statement that "unlike football, there are no AI restrictions on Ivy League basketball recruits?"

The general understanding is that basketball is packaged with all sports besides football, into one AI pool that definitely is restricted.

Do you know something the rest of us don't know? If so, please source it.


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