Football Preview | Keys to the game

1. Run the ball

One of the biggest factors behind Cornell’s upset of Yale was the Elis’ inability to get the ground game going. The Bulldogs finished the game with zero net rushing yards. That’s a far cry from last year, when the team managed over 290 yards on the ground. If the Elis can’t get Ivy League MVP Mike McLeod ’09 back on track, they’ll be lucky if they win another game.

2. Limit the turnovers

It’s hard to win close games when you keep giving the other team the ball. After two red zone fumbles against Georgetown, the Bulldogs continued the trend against the Big Red with three fumbles and an interception. If it weren’t for a stellar defensive performance — the Bulldogs only allowed Cornell to score three points off the turnovers — the game would have been a blowout.

3. Contain Dominic Randolph

Although the Bulldogs limited the Big Red to just 96 yards through the air, they will face a much tougher test against Holy Cross quarterback Dominic Randolph. The senior quarterback is one of 16 finalists for the Walter Payton Award, given annually to the best player in the Football Championship Subdivision. In just three games, Randolph has already racked up 768 yards and seven touchdowns with just three interceptions.

4. Limit the fast start

Cornell jumped out to an early 14-0 lead, forcing the Elis to play catch-up for the rest of the game. Although the Yale defense had a stellar overall performance, the damage was already done. The potent Holy Cross offense, which has averaged nearly 35 points per game, will be much more dangerous than Cornell if the Elis let the Crusaders get into any kind of rhythm.

5. Put away the two-headed monster

After an impressive showing against Georgetown, Brook Hart ’11 and Ryan Fodor ’09 combined for five sacks, an interception, and just one touchdown against Cornell. The two-headed quarterback only works well when each passer brings a different skill set to the table — think Tim Tebow and Chris Leak — but the Elis are basically trotting out the same type of player with Hart and Fodor. Plus, the last thing a struggling quarterback needs is to be looking over his shoulder after every mistake. With Fodor starting for the third consecutive game, it’s time for head coach Jack Siedlecki to make a firm decision and give his quarterback the confidence he needs.

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