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Throwback Thursday: Big Red Lightweight Football Dethrones Scarlet Knights

On September 20th, 1985, the Cornell Lightweight Football (now known as Sprint Football) Team kicked off their 1985 season with a shutout against Rutgers on their own field. Although was a non-league game that was not counted in the Eastern Lightweight Football League, it seemed to be a promising start to the season. They were coming off of a season in which they tied for 1st place with both Army and Navy. This season was filled with highlights such as when the league decided to honor Coach Bob Cullen by naming the league’s championship trophy after him. Bill Bellamy ’87 was honored as becoming an all-league mention as both a running back and as a punter. Brian Miller ’85 became the first Cornell receiver with 1,000 yards over the course of his career. In this game they dominated the Knights by a score of 14-0. They mainly ran the ball until they scored the first touchdown of the game in the last minute of the third quarter off of a 35-yard pass caught by junior Steve Bloom. The final score of the game came courtesy of a 65-yard run by junior Steve Call.

Although this may have been a victory, coaches Bob and Terry Cullen saw cracks in the seemingly well-functioning team. Terry Cullen said, “The offense made a lot of mistakes in following their assignments. But this is not unusual, since this was the first game of the season.” His father, Bob, was much blunter, simply saying, “The score should’ve been higher.” However, the coaches did acknowledge some standouts in this game, in particular quarterback Rob Lynch and the defense both played particularly well. In addition to the previously mentioned issues, Big Red was hampered by injuries to starting tailbacks Bill Bellamy and Steve Call. This all resulted in a lackluster season in which they came in 4th place. However, this season gave the Lightweight Team the motivation it needed to tie for 1st place again in the 1986 season.


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