HERO Sports welcomes you to "Three-a-Days", where we will preview every single one of the 126 FCS programs, with three teams being released each day from June 17 to July 28. Then, we'll preview all 13 conferences from August 1-4. Today, we present … Cornell.
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Cornell (3-7 IN 2018)
Ivy League (Cornell finished 7th in 2018)
COACH: David Archer – At School: 7th year (15-45) Overall: Same
LAST FCS POSTSEASON: N/A
2018 OFFENSE: 19.1 ppg. (106th in FCS)
2018 DEFENSE: 29.7 ppg. (75th in FCS)
KEY GAME: Sept. 28 @ Yale: With what Yale has coming back, the Bulldogs look like they'll be at the top of the Ivy League like they were a couple of years ago. There's no better opportunity for Cornell to kick off Ivy League play by measuring up to a talented Yale team.
SUM IT UP: Cornell has had a below .500 record every season since 2011 when the Big Red went 5-5. The program just hasn't been able to get over that hump, but it has raised its level of competitiveness. Cornell pushed eventual playoff participant Delaware into the fourth quarter in the season opener last year. It lost by six the next week to Yale and also saw a three-point loss to Columbia to end the season. The Big Red impressed with a 28-24 October win against Harvard.
So the question is where does the team go in 2019? Does it take a step forward, backward or stay about the same? The first thing is to address the QB situation. Cornell averaged just 19.1 points per game last year and is replacing starter Dalton Banks. There are a number of playmakers back, though. The team's top rusher (Second Team All-Conference Harold Coles) is back along with two of the top three pass catchers (one being Coles and the other WR Owen Peters). Two offensive linemen who started at the end of the year return (George L. Holm III and Nick Busher).
The defensive unit brings back a bit more experience. Seven of the top 11 tacklers from last season are on the 2019 roster. Safety Jelani Taylor led the team in tackles last year, linebacker Lance Blass was solid with 49 tackles and six tackles for loss and David Jones is a special talent at cornerback after being selected to the All-Ivy League Second Team.
OUR TAKE: We believe this team can improve its 2-5 conference record this year if the passing game improves. The Big Red were right there in a number of games last year. The schedule is challenging, though. Three of the seven Ivy League games are on the road. And Colgate comes to town in the nonconference after reaching the quarterfinals in 2018. Cornell has a huge senior class of 30. No doubt this group of men wants to not only end their college careers on a high note but be the group that started the winning ways for the Big Red.
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COUNTDOWN: The Best Player in FCS Who Wears Each Number, 1-99
TOP RETURNEE: Sr./RB Harold Coles (Second Team All-Conference, 710 rushing yards and 7 TDs)
THE FOUNDATION: Sr./CB David Jones (Second Team AC, 3 INT and 9 PD, 20.2 yards per KR); Sr./WR Owen Peters (No. 1 WR last year, 29 rec. for 455 yards and 2 TDs); Jr./OL Nick Busher (Started final 8 games at LG); Jelani Taylor (Tackles leader, 72 total, 9 PBUs); Lance Blass (49 tackles, 6 TFLs)
TOP NEWCOMER: Fr./WR Javonni Cunningham (2-time First Team All-State out of Georgia)
WERE WE RIGHT?: Last Year's Cornell Preview
FCS 2020 NFL PROSPECTS: The List
BEST FCS TRADITIONS: The List
PREVIEWS: The Rest Of The Ivy League
Brown | Columbia | Cornell | Dartmouth
Harvard | Penn | Princeton | Yale
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