Musco Sports Photos

The Bulldogs (0–1, 0–0 Ivy) will travel to Schoellkopf Field in Ithaca, New York to take on the Big Red (1–0, 0–0 Ivy) for their first Ivy League game of the season. 

The matchup will mark the beginning of Ivy competition for both Yale and Cornell. Despite Cornell notching its first season win last Saturday, the Blue and White is projecting confidence in its ability to start off conference play on the right foot. 

“I think it’s a great opportunity for us to just kind of reset and remind ourselves what the season is about,” defensive lineman Reid Nickerson ’23 said. “That [means] attacking every single play like it’s our last play.”

Yale has triumphed over Cornell in their past four games, winning 23–17 in their last meeting in 2021 on Sep. 25 at the Yale Bowl. Yale linebacker Rodney Thomas II ’22 — now a player for the Indianapolis Colts — previously returned an onside kick for a touchdown in the fourth quarter and intercepted two passes to give the Bulldogs the edge they needed. 

The Bulldogs got 317 yards and two touchdown passes from quarterback Griffin O’Connor ’23, who completed passes to 10 different receivers. Defensive lineman Clay Patterson ’24 led the defense with two tackles out of their six tackles for loss. 

“I am so proud of the guys and the effort and dedication they showed over the past seven days,” head coach Tony Reno said to Yale Athletics following the game. “Their preparation was evident today as we found a way to secure the win.”

Since the first time the Yale football team faced Cornell was in 1889, Yale has led the series 51–30–2. Yale is currently on a four-game winning streak and has won its Ivy League openers in each of the last four seasons, starting 1–0 in conference play in seven of the past eight years. 

The Big Red started off their season with a strong 28–22 win against the Virginia Military Institute, which has been nationally ranked in each of its past two seasons. Cornell led 28–2 in the fourth quarter, maintaining its strong defense and limiting the Keydets to -2 rushing yards on 25 carries.

The Bulldogs, on the other hand, fell to No. 13 Holy Cross last weekend, in their season opener. While they faltered after a strong first quarter, the Elis look to bounce back with a more complete performance this Saturday. 

“As a team we did not play our best [at Holy Cross] and the stats said exactly that,” wide receiver David Pantelis ’25 said. “There are a lot more games to be played, and as a team we just need to correct the mistakes we made and continue to prepare week after week.”

Last Saturday, Big Red tight end William Enneking became the first tight end at Cornell to catch multiple touchdown passes in the same game with a pair of 3-yard scoring receptions. Linebacker Holt Fletcher had a pick-six, and defensive lineman Max Lundeen had a strip-sack. 

During the game, four different rushers had at least 20 yards on the ground to total 159 yards, including running back Gannon Carothers who had a game-high of 57 yards and a touchdown. Linebacker Jake Stebbins made eight tackles, including two on a key goal-line stand in the first quarter. 

This season, Yale was picked to finish fourth in the Ivy League’s official preseason media poll, while Cornell was ranked last in the poll. 

A win this weekend would allow the Bulldogs to open their conference season in a dominant position and to continue their streak of victories over Cornell into its fifth year. 

The Elis next face Howard at the Class of 1954 Field in the Yale Bowl on Saturday, October 1st for their first home game. 

Amelia Lower covers women's soccer, men's lacrosse and men's ice hockey. She is a sophomore in Jonathan Edwards College and is from Rye, New York.