CEDAR RAPIDS — Happy birthday, Tino Green!
The Coe sophomore turned 20 on Saturday and he started the celebration with a breakthrough performance.
As part of a three-headed backfield monster, Green amassed 192 rushing yards and scored three touchdowns, helping the Kohawks to a 59-21 victory over Cornell on Saturday at Clark Field. Coe extended its win streak in the Bremner Cup Series to 18 games.
Green said he didn’t imagine a statistical explosion before taking the field. He made the most of his opportunities, leading Coe with 18 carries.
“I think the offensive line helped me a lot,” Green said. “It was easy for me to get through the holes. When I made one cut it was just open space. I have to give credit to the offensive line.”
Green finally got a possession to himself near the end of the first quarter and gave the Kohawks a lead that they didn’t surrender. He carried the load on a 68-yard, seven-play drive. Green rushed six times for 63 yards on that series, capping it with a 9-yard touchdown run and 14-7 lead with 13:42 left in the second quarter.
His physical running style made it hard on the Rams’ defense to bring him down once his legs started to churn, averaging 10.7 yards per carry.
“He had a great game,” said Coe Coach Tyler Staker, leading the Kohawks to a 13th straight regular-season win. “He ran hard. He made a lot of great cuts. He got into open field and busted some big runs. He broke a lot of tackles. I was really happy with how he played.
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“He’s had a great birthday with the way he performed. I’m sure he’s all smiles.”
Green was a part of a vastly better rush attack from last week. The Kohawks tallied 404 yards on the ground against Cornell after managing just 37 in a season-opening victory at Wisconsin-River Falls. The run was a top priority for Coe, which ran on 62 of 94 offensive plays.
“Our running backs ran well (Saturday),” Staker said. “We made that a big emphasis. I know it was something that didn’t set well with our offense, especially with our offensive line last week.”
The Kohawks have a strong stable of carriers. In addition to Green, Tyler Dralle rushed for 99 yards on 17 carries. Clevon Catchings added 68 yards, including a 6-yard TD that put Coe up, 7-0, with 4:58 left in the first quarter. Each impressed Staker, although there may not be as many handoffs to spread around in upcoming contests.
“We have to find our guys and find the guys who will rise to the top,” Staker said. “We saw some good things out of all three of them. We will have some evaluating to do.”
The pass game benefited from the effective run game. Coe threw for 211 yards, including 155 from Zach Andre, who connected on three TD passes. With the Rams’ defense committed to stop the run, the Kohawks were able to capitalize on opportunities through the air.
“It’s huge,” Andre said. “They have to play all those guys up in the box and it opens things in other places.”
Coe was able to break things open with the pass during crucial stretches that sandwiched halftime.
The Kohawks took a 17-7 lead on Tristan Connell’s 27-yard field goal before halftime. The Coe defense forced a punt just inside the 2:00 mark. Coe needed just 18 seconds to go 64 yards when Andre hit Mitch Stopko for a 50-yard pass and a 24-7 lead with 1:19 top go before the break.
“It worked out the exact way it had been in practice all week,” Andre said. “It was like playing catch out there.”
The second half opened similarly to the end of the first half. Cornell stalled on its opening possession and Coe answered with a scoring drive that resulted in an 18-yard TD pass from Andre to Tyler Schamel, making it 31-7.
“That was a big chain of events, because up until that point it was a back-and-forth battle,” Staker said. “The way we finished the first half and started the second half really broke it open.”
Green assisted in driving the final nails in the Rams’ coffin, breaking away for scoring runs of 32 and 53 yards just 1:19 apart early in the fourth quarter. Each allowed Coe to pull further ahead for a 52-21 lead with 10:22 to play.
“We wanted to keep the ground game going,” Green said. “We just have to keep pounding at the (defensive) line and eventually will wear down.”
The defense did its part as well, limiting Cornell to 292 yards of total offense. All but one of the Rams’ first-half possessions were more than six plays. They forced four turnovers and three sacks. Linebacker Terrence Hall had a team-high 14 tackles, including three tackles for loss and a sack.
“We put together a scheme all week and we executed pretty well as a team,” Hall said. “It was good to see that happening.”
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The Rams hung with Coe for the better part of the first half, but couldn’t sustain it for four quarters and made too many mistakes.
“Never did I think we were out of it, but when they started to grind it out and wore us down you could tell a little bit,” Cornell Coach Vince Brautigam said. “They were the better team.”
James Douglas made some impressive plays, throwing for 168 yards and rushing for 55 more, including a 10-yard TD run that tied the score, 7-7. Mickey Hines, who injured his left knee and was on crutches after the game, added a 15-yard TD run. Devan Clark scored on a 4-yarder as the Rams fought until the end.
“We have 49 kids,” Brautigam said. “We’re not an extremely deep team, but I told those kids after the game that, first and foremost, they gave their teammates 100 percent. That’s all you can ask for as a head coach.
“They showed me a lot of heart and grit. I’m proud of them.”
Coe surpassed 50 points for the ninth time during the current win streak. The Kohawks increased their edge in the series to 73-50-4.
“We come out here against Cornell it’s always a big game,” Hall said. “They want to beat us. We want to beat them. Ultimately, we want to do it for the people who have been here before us. Keep that rivalry going and stay ‘big brother,’ as we say.”
Coe travels to Nebraska Wesleyan next week. Cornell has a bye, then hosts Beloit on Sept. 23.
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