No. 11 Monroe Football Takes Down Cornell JV on the Road
ITHACA, N.Y., October 24, 2021 – Playing in a rare Sunday afternoon game, the No. 11-ranked Monroe College football team defeated Cornell University JV, 23-7, at Schoellkopf Field. The Mustangs remain unbeaten at 6-0 with the victory.
Both teams got off to a slow start in Sunday's matchup, with neither team putting points on the board in the first quarter. It was the Big Red that scored first in the game. With just under six minutes to play in the opening half, Chad Martini capped off an 11-play, 75-yard drive for the home team with an 18-yard touchdown run, putting the Big Red up, 7-0.
The Mustangs must have had a fire lit under them after giving up the first points of the game, as they moved the ball quickly down the field to tie things up on the next drive. Shelton Applewhite Jr. opened the drive with a 14-yard pass to Idrissa Nikiema, and then completed a 47-yard pass to get into Cornell territory. It took one more play from there to reach the end zone, as Applewhite hit Jalen Rose-Hannah for a 31-yard score, needing just 1:24 to go 92 yards to tie the game.
The momentum remained heavily in Monroe's direction, as the first play of the next drive was a pass that was intercepted by Andrew Hardin, who took it 41 yards for the pick-six to quickly put the Mustangs ahead, 14-7.
Monroe forced a punt on the next possession for Cornell, and took advantage of a botched punt that went just eight yards. The drive nearly stalled, but a pass interference on Cornell put the Mustangs on the two-yard line. Two plays later, Applewhite ran it himself over the goal line for the score. A missed extra-point left the Mustangs ahead, 20-7, with just 20 seconds left before the half.
Cornell opened the second half with the ball, but the Mustangs' defense was able to force a turnover on downs just past midfield. The Mustangs moved the ball down to the seven-yard line, but were stopped there and forced to kick a field goal. Nikiema was good from 24 yards out, pushing the lead to 23-7, which proved to be the final score of the game.
Applewhite finished 10-of-22 for 197 yards, one touchdown pass, one touchdown run and one interception in the winning effort on Sunday. Troy Booker led the team with 70 yards on 20 carries.
The defense forced three turnovers in the win. Hardin came away with two of them, his interception for a touchdown and a fumble recovery in the third quarter. He also had two pass breakups and made four tackles in a terrific effort. Payton Edwards also came away with an interception in the win, adding a team-high six tackles, including a tackle for loss. Tyree Martin made Monroe's only sack in the game.
The Mustangs have a tough matchup on the docket next Saturday, Oct. 30, when they visit Div. III's No. 1-ranked team, Nassau Community College, on the road in Garden City, N.Y. The game is set to kick off at 12 p.m.