Oct. 29, 2005
PRINCETON, N.J. - Senior kicker Derek Javarone set an Ivy League record in the most dramatic way possible. His 35-yard field goal, the 42nd of his career, sent Princeton into a four-way tie for first place in the Ivy League and earned the Tigers a 20-17 overtime win in front of 9,315 fans at Princeton Stadium. Javarone tied the record, previously held by Penn's Jason Feinberg, with a 32-yard field goal late in regulation to force overtime.
Princeton, which jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the second quarter, had to play from behind in the final stanza for the second consecutive week. An 8-play drive that culminated in a 6-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Kuhn to Luke Siwula gave the Big Red a 17-14 lead with 10:24 remaining. Princeton quarterback Jeff Terrell, who ended the game 13-for-27 for 190 yards and a touchdown, engineered an 18-play, 63-yard drive that put Javarone in position to make the kick. He converted three third downs and on fourth down on the drive, including two crossing passes to wide receiver Brian Brigham.
The drive ended at the Cornell 15-yard-line, and Javarone connected on the 32-yard field goal with 2:18 remaining to even the score at 17-17.
Cornell gained a trio of first downs on its final drive of regulation and got to the Princeton 30-yard-line, which was close to the range of Cornell kicker A.J. Weitsman, despite the potential kick going into the wind. The Princeton defense brought pressure on third down and forced Kuhn to get rid of the ball, which was ruled intentional grounding. The play pushed Cornell out of field goal range, and both teams prepared for a tense overtime. Cornell had the first possession and got the 18-yard-line, where it faced 3rd-and-3. Kuhn dropped back and threw an out pass inside the 5-yard-line, but junior safety Tim Strickland jumped in front of the pass for the biggest interception of his career. Princeton took over and ran the ball three times to set up Javarone's 35-yard attempt, which sailed between the uprights and sparked a jubilant celebration at midfield.
"That was the biggest kick of my career," Javarone said. "To set the record on a kick that wins the game for us makes it special. I've said all along that it's the team record that matters most to me."
That team record is now 5-2, 3-1 in the Ivy League. With Brown's 34-20 victory against Penn and Yale's 37-3 win against Columbia, four teams will enter November in a tie for first atop the league standings. Only two will survive next weekend, as Princeton travels to Penn and Brown travels to Yale.
For Javarone, it was the first game-ending field goal of his career. He won the Columbia game last year with an extra point in overtime, but this kick was much more dramatic. It also clinched Princeton's first overtime win since that same Columbia game of 2004.
Princeton can thank another stellar effort from its defense for its place atop the league standings. Senior linebacker Abi Fadeyi recorded a career-high 14 tackles, including two sacks, and senior co-captain Justin Stull added 13 tackles. The defense limited Cornell to 150 yards rushing, a solid number considering the Big Red averaged 318.5 yards rushing over its last two games.
The Tiger offense used a balanced attack, but it got another leading performance by senior tight end Jon Dekker, who stepped up with five catches for 71 yards, including the game-opening 11 yard touchdown, which came on Princeton's third drive. Terrell rolled right and threw a side-armed pass to a late-releasing Dekker, who went across the middle and broke tackle attempts by Matt Grant and Jason Cloyd before charging into the end zone. It was the first time all season that Cornell failed to score first in game.
The Tigers stopped Cornell and embarked on a 72-yard drive, which featured a long corner pass to Fields that took Princeton inside the 5-yard-line. The Tigers tempted fate on the next play, an option to Toresco that hit fullback Joe Kovba on the pad and bounced into an open field. Cornell had the first crack at it, as Ryan Kiscadden dove on it but couldn't contain it. Several players from both squads dove on it, and it was No. 2 tight end Brendan Swisher who came out of the pile with the ball. Princeton decided a more conventional run would work best, and Toresco went off left tackle for the score.
After stopping Princeton at its own 2-yard-line, Cornell started with terrific field position midway through the second quarter. Princeton allowed one first down but kept Cornell out of the red zone. The Big Red made sure it got on the board, though, as kicker A.J. Weitsman put everything he had into a 46-yard field goal that barely cleared the upright. Cornell got the ball back immediately on a spectacular onside kick; Weitsman fell on his way to the ball, which allowed backup kicker Jay Harding to run to the ball and tap it straight ahead. With all of his blockers in front of him, Harding positioned himself on the 45-yard-line and waited for it to bounce into his hand.
Princeton kept Cornell out of the end zone, but the Big Red again capitalized with a 39-yard field goal. The Big Red dodged a bullet late in the half, as a penalty on the kickoff and a long pass to Brian Brigham put Princeton inside the red zone, but a 29-yard field goal attempt by Javarone sailed wide right.
Both defenses held firm throughout most of the third quarter, but Cornell used another trick play on special teams to move deep into Princeton territory. On a fake punt near midfield, Nick Maxwell threw an out pass to an open Troy Follmer, who gained the first down and kept the drive alive. A defensive penalty on another third down moved the ball into the red zone, and then Siwula carried the ball the 2-yard-line. With momentum on its side, Cornell hurt itself with a motion penalty that moved the ball back to the 7-yard-line. Two runs gained zero yards, and another false start penalty put Cornell back to the 12-yard-line. The Big Red then earned a delay of game penalty, and found itself starting the 4th quarter with 3rd-and-goal at the 17-yard-line. Kuhn gained half the yards back with a run, and Weitsman converted a field goal to move within 14-12.
The Cornell defense kept momentum on its side by forcing a 3-and-out and marching back downfield. The Big Red moved 70 yards in eight plays and took the lead on a 6-yard-pass from Kuhn to Siwula. The running back recorded a two-point conversion to move Cornell's lead to 17-14 with slightly more than 10 minutes remaining in regulation.
But the Princeton Tigers would not yield, and their effort sets up a battle for first place with Ivy League preseason favorite Penn, which will take place next Saturday at noon at Franklin Field. The game can be heard on WHWH 1350 AM or on www.GoPrincetonTigers.com.