Throwback Thursday: Big Red Gridders defeat Princeton Tigers for Homecoming
On October 13th, 1973, the Big Red football team, known as the “Gridders” at the time, won their homecoming game against the Princeton Tigers, demolishing its Ivy-league rival 37-6. While the score may make seem like it was an easy victory for Cornell, the game remained scoreless for much of the first half. The receivers were dropping easy passes, the offensive line was unable to create holes in the defense and, as a result, the running backs were unable to be effective. The Tigers were not playing much better, but they were able to complete a 50-yard pass on a drive resulting in a field goal in the first half. Princeton was also able to get another field goal off of a 63-yard punt return. The only reason that return did not result in a touchdown was because Cornell kicker Bernie Szynalski was able to tackle the Princeton punt returner at the nine-yard line.
The only score by Cornell in the first half was a safety that resulted from a fumble by Princeton quarterback Ron Beilbe. The ball was recovered in the end zone by a Tiger halfback. This left the score late in the first half 6-2 Tigers. The large homecoming crowd understandably became agitated at this dismal-looking game. However, their fears dissipated when Cornell quarterback Mark Allen led the team on an 82-yard drive to score in just 15 plays. This momentum carried the Gridders for the entirety of the second half. Allen went on to complete 18 of 33 passes for a total of 253 yards, a personal best for him. The Big Red defense also had an impressive showing late in the game, leaving the Tigers with 19 rushing yards at a loss. The defense was also able to cause an interception and a fumble. The crowd of 21,000 students and alumni left the game with a new sense of pride in the Big Red Gridders.