Over Fall Break, Princeton Football played a pair of thrilling games against Ivy League foes Cornell and Penn. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they were on the losing end of each game, falling 29-28 and 38-35 to Cornell and Penn, respectively.
Princeton’s offense, which had scored over 50 points in each of the three games preceding its home match against Cornell, began the first half in its typical productive fashion. Senior quarterback Chad Kanoff scrambled for a touchdown run in the first quarter and added two touchdown passes to junior wide receiver Stephen Carlson in the second to give Princeton a 21-10 halftime lead. The teams exchanged touchdowns in the third quarter, with sophomore Ryan Quigley scoring on a 7-yard run for Princeton, and Princeton entered the fourth quarter leading 28-16. From there, however, Cornell would mount an improbable comeback. Cornell kicked a field goal early in the quarter, and Jake Jatis scored on an 8-yard run to narrow the score to 28-26. After the Princeton offense failed to respond, Cornell drove down the field and Nickolas Null drilled a 43-yard field goal to give Cornell a 29-28 lead with just 0:48 remaining. Kanoff engineered a rapid drive down the field for the Princeton offense, but Princeton sophomore kicker Tavish Rice missed the potential game-winning field goal from 44 yards out as time expired. Even in defeat, the Princeton passing attack shined once again, with Kanoff completing 28 of 41 passes for 370 yards and junior Jesper Horsted hauling in 10 passes for 133 yards.
The following weekend, Princeton traveled to Philadelphia to take on rival Penn. Dealing with several injuries, Princeton’s defense struggled to contain the Penn offense, allowing 38 points in the game. Princeton was forced to play from behind for most of the game, as Penn leaped out to a 24-7 lead early in the third quarter. However, Kanoff connected with Horsted twice in the third quarter for touchdown passes to bring the score to 24-21. Penn extended the score to 31-21 with a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, but Princeton brought the margin back to within three at the 8:47 mark in the quarter with a run led by junior Charlie Volker. With 4:26 left in the game, Princeton took its first lead since the first quarter with another Volker touchdown run, but Penn drove down the field and scored on a 15-yard touchdown pass to retake a 38-35 lead with 1:12 remaining. Once again, Kanoff led a last-minute drive down the field, moving the offense deep into Penn territory. On a third down play from the Penn 13-yard line, Kanoff appeared to complete the game winning touchdown pass to Carlson, but Carlson was ultimately ruled to have been out of bounds. Princeton would go on to miss the game-tying kick from 31 yards out and fall, 38-35.
Following the two losses, Princeton’s record dropped to 5-3, and 2-3 in Ivy League play. While injuries and close losses will likely prevent the Tigers from contending for an Ivy League title, the team still has much to play for. Princeton returns home next week to face Yale, who sits atop the Ivy League standings. A win would give the Tigers their first sweep of Harvard and Yale since 2013.