The men’s football team (3–3 overall, 2–1 Ivy League) will face off against the Cornell Big Red (3–3 overall, 2–1 Ivy League) on Saturday afternoon as they continue Ivy League play. The game will be at 1 p.m., live from Schoellkopf Field with streaming available via ESPN+. This will mark the 105th matchup between the two Ivy League programs. Princeton has an all-time 65–37–2 record against Cornell.
Currently, the Tigers are in a five-way tie at the top of the conference standings that also includes the Big Red. Both sides will be looking to add another tally to their win columns and separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
Princeton beat Harvard at home last weekend, 21–14, despite being eight-point underdogs heading into the game. Cornell, on the other hand, is coming off an impressive 36–14 win at home against Brown, despite being underdogs in that contest as well.
The last time the Tigers faced the Big Red was around the same time last season. The matchup resulted in a comfortable 35–9 win for the Tigers, thanks in large part to a dominant defensive performance that forced the opposition to commit five turnovers.
Associate Sports Editor Hayk Yengibaryan ’26, Sports Contributor Alex Beverton-Smith ’27, and Peter Wang ’27 made their predictions for this weekend’s contest.
Princeton 28, Cornell 16 — Hayk Yengibaryan, Associate Sports Editor
The first few weeks of the season were extremely disappointing for this Princeton team, especially their offense. However, after the impressive win against the Crimson, they seem to have restored hope in Tigers fans. Head coach Bob Surace will be looking to continue building on the performance and will definitely be able to do so when they travel to Ithaca, New York to play the Big Red, a team they have historically dominated.
Since the 2013 season, Princeton football is 8–1 against Cornell, with an average margin of victory of 26.9 points. It is clear that they have Cornell’s number and love to run up the scoresheet against them. With an extremely dominant defense — one of, if not the best in the FCS — I expect the Princeton defense to give its offense a plethora of opportunities on the other side of the ball.
I expect junior running back John Volker to have a big night offensively against the Big Red defense that has allowed opponents RB1s to hurt them defensively. Against Cornell, Crimson running back Charles DePrima had 152 rushing yards for three touchdowns. I fully expect the O-Line to step up and allow Volker to run through this Big Red defense and get in the endzone at least once. Senior quarterback Blake Stenstrom should be able to have another solid performance this weekend and find his receivers against an average Cornell secondary. With a majority of the attention on junior wide receivers AJ Barber and Luke Colella, I expect a big night from senior wide receiver Jo Jo Hawkins, who has yet to score a touchdown despite receiving 18 receptions this year.
Come Saturday evening, I expect the team to be returning from Ithaca with a 3–1 conference record tied atop the Ivy League standings. Expect Surace’s squad to come out strong, control the game defensively, and find success offensively en route to a comfortable win.
Princeton 24, Cornell 13 — Alex Beverton-Smith, Sports Contributor
Princeton’s impressive victory at Harvard last Saturday gave the Tigers much to be hopeful about for the rest of the season. The offense started showing their best with some true cohesion, and the defense played their usual strong game. Cornell, coming off of a 36–14 win against Brown, will have every right to feel confident; however, they have been largely inconsistent this season, losing the previous three games before that.
Key to this game will be Princeton’s ever-strong defense. I expect to see more strong performances from senior linebackers Ozzie Nicholas and Liam Johnson, who should be able to restrict Cornell’s strong offense. Cornell has averaged 23.8 points per game so far this season — but Princeton has excelled in FCS defensive statistics thus far, so they have every chance to lower this.
Offensively, there is much to be said for both Princeton’s running and passing game. In terms of passing, junior wide receiver Luke Colella had a standout game against Harvard and has been improving every week so far — another strong performance by him, and other wide receivers like junior AJ Barber could spell trouble for the Cornell defense. Senior quarterback Blake Stenstrom can help guide this offense too, as he looks to add to his two touchdowns and 244 passing yards against Harvard.
With good weather on the horizon for Saturday’s game, Princeton has every hope of putting together the small plays and big drives that won them the Harvard game. Winning this weekend will put Princeton one step closer to the coveted Ivy League title which remains very much in their sights.
Princeton 20, Cornell 17 — Peter Wang, Sports Contributor
The Tigers head to Ithaca to face a team that just dismantled Brown, cruising to a 36–14 victory. Princeton ranks seventh in the conference in terms of scoring offense, averaging just 17.2 points per game compared to 23.8 for Cornell. However, the Tigers lead the league in total defense, holding opponents to just 257.5 yards per game and a total of nine touchdowns.
This dominant defense was on full display last weekend against Harvard when the Tigers held the previously unbeaten Crimson to just 14 points — much less than their previous average of 41.2 points per game.
On the flip side, Cornell’s defense ranks in the middle of the pack, which Princeton quarterback Blake Stenstrom should be able to take advantage of. Stenstrom is averaging 218 pass yards per game and has thrown for seven touchdowns, four of which came in the last two weeks.
The key for Princeton will be finishing the game strong in the second half. The Tigers blew a 21–7 lead against Brown two weeks ago and allowed Harvard to tie the game after going up 14–0 early. If Ivy League defensive player of the week Ozzie Nicholas — who leads the league with 63 tackles — continues to be a game-wrecking force, expect Princeton to make life difficult for Cornell’s quarterback Jameson Wang. Princeton takes the victory here in a low-scoring bout after forcing Wang to throw two interceptions.
Hayk Yengibaryan is an associate editor for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’
Alex Beverton-Smith is a contributor to the Sports section of the ‘Prince.’
Peter Wang is a contributor to the Sports section of the ‘Prince.’
Please send corrections to corrections[at]princeton.edu.