MOUNT VERNON — Mason Davis isn’t like most college football players.
The Cornell College junior hasn’t been a lifer in the sport, playing since his youth. He played just one year in high school and actually arrived on campus as a baseball recruit.
Last year, the 6-foot-5, 220-pound wide receiver joined the Rams on the gridiron, continuing as a right-handed pitcher on the diamond.
“I love football too much,” said Davis, who also plans to go out for track this year. “I saw an opportunity and decided to come out.”
Davis has ascended to become Cornell’s leading receiver. He surpassed 100 receiving yards for the second straight week and scored the Rams’ lone touchdown in a 56-7 loss to University of Chicago in a Midwest Conference game Saturday at Van Metre Field of Ash Park.
Davis posted a career-high with 120 receiving yards and matched a single-game best with nine catches. The personal accomplishment isn’t a consolation after the disappointing loss.
“Ultimately, it’s a team game,” Davis said. “A loss is a loss. I don’t care about personal stats. I want to win.”
The last two weeks have been his most productive. Davis had 114 yards on nine catches last week and has improved his totals to 318 yards and 22 receptions. He appears to be clicking in the passing game.
Cornell Coach Vince Brautigam said things turned around after a recent conversation.
“He’s letting the game come to him,” Brautigam said. “He’s reaping the benefits the last two weeks.”
Cornell (2-4, 0-2) got on the board with 34 seconds left in the second quarter, resulting in a 42-7 halftime lead for Chicago. Davis hauled in a 13-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Isaak Hahn, following a 48-yard connection between the pair.
“The relationship between Isaak and I has started to bloom,” Davis said. “Our (offensive line) has been blocking well to give him time. All I have to do is catch it and run.”
It was one of the few bright spots for the Rams. The Maroons (4-2, 2-0) built a 28-0 lead on Vittorio Tricase’s 95-yard TD run on the final play of the first quarter. Tricase accounted for 143 of Chicago’s 440 rushing yards and three of its six scores on the ground.
Experience and strength played a factor, according to Brautigam.
“The realization is they had a total of eight freshmen and sophomores on their two-deep,” Brautigam said. “We have 17 on defense alone. With age comes strength in the weight room and getting bigger.
“There are brighter days ahead. We have to work. I love this group of kids. They do a lot of work.”
Hahn finished with 240 yards passing and added 29 on the ground. Brautigam said Hahn has improved in recent weeks. Cornell managed 340 total offensive yards.
“Offensively, we moved the ball,” Brautigam said. “We have to be more consistent.”
Cornell hosts Monmouth (Ill.) next Saturday, beginning at 2 p.m.
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