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MOUNT VERNON — There’s always that one person who, when you get together, something crazy seems to happen.
For Cornell’s football team, that crazy friend is the Illinois College Blueboys. You can add 2016 to the growing list of zany endings between these teams, as Illinois College eked out a 38-37 win.
“Every time we play a game, it comes down to something like this,” Cornell Coach Vince Brautigam said. “They’ve all been entertaining, that’s for sure. When one team has another team’s number, for some reason or another, they just play great games.”
This season, an errant kick by Kaleb Whiting on an extra-point try with 41 seconds remaining kept the Rams a point shy of completing a comeback. Cornell won 64-62 in 2015 after the Blueboys missed a last-second field goal. In 2013, the Rams won 35-29 in overtime after returning a blocked field goal 90 yards for the winning touchdown.
“Both teams just fly around,” Cornell quarterback Daniel Brown said. “We both have really high intensity. We both think we have a chance to win, so we play that way on every snap.”
In the waning moments of the game, Brown shoveled the ball out to running back Mickey Hines, but it dropped short. Hines scooped it up and ran it in untouched for a 9-yard touchdown. The touchdown marked a great comeback for the Rams, who trailed 38-17 with 8:33 to play in the third quarter.
“I tried to get the ball out there, but it wasn’t that good of a pitch,” said Brown, who had 103 yards rushing to go with three total touchdowns. “I saw that he had green grass out there and two of their guys went to me. I was just glad he was able to get the ball off the ground.”
Whiting lined up and initially made the extra point, but the kick was waved off after a false start against Cornell. Penalties proved costly for the Rams, and not just on the game’s final play. Cornell finished with 14 penalties, totaling 100 yards.
“There is more than just one play,” Brautigam said. “You can talk about penalties or miscues on special teams. There is more than that last play, and there always is.”
It wasn’t all bad for Whiting, who set the Cornell record for career field goals made with 21. The old record of 20 was set by Craig Kouba (1974).