The Bulldogs face a long, hard drive to Ithaca this weekend, but the trip will get even harder when they take the field to face Cornell.
Although they lost their season opener to Fordham, the Big Red (0–1, 0–0 Ivy) is a dangerous team led by reigning Ivy League offensive player of the year, quarterback Jeff Mathews.
Mathews started the season where he left off last year, throwing for 489 yards and three scores against the Rams to give him 1,446 yards and 12 touchdown passes in his past three games. Despite Mathews’ recent accomplishments, Yale (1–0, 0–0 Ivy) quarterback Eric Williams ’16 said that he will not change his game to compete with the Big Red signal caller.
“Throwing for 1500 yards in the last three games, that’s something you don’t do too often,” Williams said. “[But] I’m not trying to compare myself to [Mathews]. I’m just trying to play the best that I can.”
Head coach Tony Reno also praised Mathews, saying that he was an NFL prospect who combined a strong arm with an ability to read the field. Although Mathews is a threat, wide receiver Henry Furman ’14 stated that the team will not go to extremes to counter him.
“Our identity is an aggressive defense,” Furman said. “We’re still going to run the same blitzes. We’re not going to be afraid and put more guys in coverage.”
Wide receiver Cameron Sandquist ’14 added that the offense will also maintain the balance between ground and aerial assaults that led the Blue and White to a 24–21 victory at Georgetown last weekend.
He added that the backfield combo of running backs Tyler Varga ’16 and Mordecai Cargill ’13 gives the Elis an edge. The duo rushed for a combined 179 yards last week, and Williams said that the backs’ ability to gain yards after contact is especially important.
“I think we’ll fare all right [against Cornell] because we’ve got the run game with Varga and Mo that can be just deadly,” Williams said.
Although establishing the run will be important, Williams said that the Bulldogs will take more chances down the field this weekend in the passing game. He and Sandquist added that although the Big Red secondary is young, the talent of the unit is apparent in the video that the Elis have been watching.
Sandquist went on to say that Cornell also mixes up its coverages, but that one of Williams’ strengths as a quarterback was reading defenses and taking what he saw, rather than “step[ping] out of what he sees on the field.”
Finally, Sandquist stated that Yale will try to control the tempo of the game.
“We’re going to establish our identity and go from there,” Sandquist said. “We’re going to try and dictate the game ourselves.”
Kickoff in Ithaca, N.Y., is at 1 p.m. tomorrow.