The We Owe Cornell shirts are gone, and only the seniors remember the 41-14 embarassment at Schollkopf two years ago, when Bob Blackman had his team pass with a 27-point lead in the final minute.
No, the biggest grandstand play since Pete Rose squared off against Bud Harrelson is ancient history: "We haven't forgotten," says senior captain Pete Coppinger, "but this is a whole different team. Most of the guys weren't there."
Tomorrow's visit to the Hotel Management Capital of the Ivies is important in a different way. Lose this one and the Crimson is looking at a three-game winless streak with Dartmouth knocking on the door next weekend. Win it and the squad is 2-0 in the Ivies with momentum on its side. That's important since the bulk of the Ivy schedule (four consecutive league games) begins this week.
The Crimson also has to prove that its losses to Holy Cross (33-19 two weeks ago) and Army (27-13 last week) were constructive ones, and that the squad has learned from its mistakes. After all, that's why you play non-conference games.
It's back to the Ivies now, and that's one reason to toss Cornell's 0-3 mark (its worst start since 1977) into Cascadilla Gorge. Penn upset the big Red in Philadelphia to open the season, and since then Cornell has lost to Colgate, 34-10, and Rutgers 31-17.
But Blackman has finally found a quarterback to fill Mike Ryan's shoes--senior Chris Metz. The southpaw is 15-37 this year for 290 yards and a touchdown, and he replaces junior Doug Fusco, the man whom Harvard fans saw burned by Rocky Delgadillo at Soldiers Field last year.
Metz will probably call Derek Harmon's number when he wants to move the ball outside. The sophomore rushed for 152 yards against Penn, and his three-game total is 246 on 57 carries.
The Big Red's biggest problem has been on the defensive line, where eight lettermen have departed from last year's 5-5 team. Look for Harvard's Jim Callinan and Jim Acheson to do the heavy work. Both of Cornell's returning starters are defensive backs.
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