Oct. 12, 2012
ITHACA, N.Y. -
The Navy sprint football team used a solid defensive effort and three field goals from kicker Adrian Montecinos to defeat Cornell, 11-3, on Friday night at Schoellkopf Field in Ithaca, N.Y. Navy remains undefeated with the win, improving to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in CSFL play. Cornell is now 3-2 overall and 2-2 in the conference.
Friday night's win was Navy's slimmest margin of victory since a 7-6 win over Army on Oct. 30, 2009. The Midshipmen outgained the Big Red, 295-61, including 209-3 advantage on the ground. Despite their dominance, the Mids were unable to get into the end zone.
Cornell's three points were the fewest allowed by the Navy defense since a 37-0 shutout of Post last season. Junior linebacker Matt Piotrowicz led the way with six tackles, while defensive end Chris Mershon came up with three sacks.
The Big Red entered Friday's contest averaging 347 yards per contest.
"It was certainly a defensive game. Cornell came out strong, but we were able to wear them down in the end," said Navy head coach Maj. Kavan Lake, USMC. "We knew they would be ready for us, but we dug in deep and finished strong. In the end, a win is a win."
The Mids took advantage of a fumbled punt return early in the first quarter to score the first points of the game. Navy's Brady Flies forced the fumble on the punt return and then pounced on the ball and the Big Red 41-yard line. The Mids drove down to the Cornell 10-yard line and after they failed to find the end zone, Montecinos converted a 27-yard field goal attempt to give Navy a 3-0 lead.
The Big Red tied the game with a field goal of their own in the second quarter. John Rodriguez connected from 46 yards out with 8:53 remaining in the half.
While the Mids' offense was unable to sustain a touchdown-producing drive, it was the defense that forced the next points of the game. With Cornell starting a drive from its own 18-yard line, the Navy defense used sacks from Mershon and Piotrowicz to help knock the Big Red back to their own 1. The Mids then got to Cornell Punter Chase Funderbruk in the end zone on fourth down, not allowing him to get the punt away and recorded a safety and take a 5-3 lead.
After receiving the ensuing free kick, Navy drove down the Cornell 23-yard line, but Montecinos missed a 40-yard field goal attempt and the half ended with Navy leading by two.
Consecutive three-and-outs by the Big Red in the third quarter allowed Navy to extend its lead. Despite going just 36 yards in 12 plays, Navy held the ball for 6:38, driving down to the Cornell 23-yard line. Montecinos then booted his second field goal of the game - a 39-yarder - to give Navy an 8-3 advantage.
The Navy defense continued to suffocate the Big Red offense in the fourth quarter, holding Cornell to just one first down. After Navy got the ball back at its own 24-yard line, the offense sealed the game with its longest scoring drive of the night. Freshman running back Corey Garcia accounted for 68 of the 73 yards on the drive that ended when Montecinos hit his third field goal of the game, capping a 7:19 march. Montecinos' 20-yard field goal with 2:03 to play upped the Navy lead to 11-3.
Montecinos' three field goals matched a career-high and also tied a program record. The junior kicker last hit three field goals in a game in a win over Catholic on Sept. 19, 2010.
"Adrian came up big tonight," said Lake. "He deserves a lot of credit. He was our go-to guy."
Garcia shouldered a majority of the load for the Navy offense, carrying the ball 34 times for a career-best 176 yards.
"Corey is a fantastic runner and we're confident he can make something happen with (fullback) D.J. Hooper blocking in front of him," Lake said. "He runs hard."
Navy quarterback Will Hampton completed 9-of-23 attempts for 86 yards and was intercepted twice. Cornell's Brendan Miller was just 5-of-19 for 58 yards.
Navy will be back home next Friday when it meets Mansfield at 7 p.m. at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.