Cornell Big Red Football
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Cornell Big Red Football
Cornell Big Red football
Cornell "C" logo.svg
First season1887
Athletic directorJ. Andrew Noel
Head coachDavid Archer
6th season, 17-49 (.258)
StadiumSchoellkopf Field
(Capacity: 25,597)
Field surfaceArtificial turf
LocationIthaca, New York
ConferenceIvy League
All-time record
Claimed national titles5
Conference titles3
RivalriesColgate (rivalry)
Columbia (rivalry)
Dartmouth (rivalry)
Penn (rivalry)
Consensus All-Americans16
Current uniform
Cornell big red football unif.png
ColorsCarnelian Red and White[1]
Fight songGive My Regards to Davy

The Cornell Big Red football team represents Cornell University in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) college football competition as a member of the Ivy League. It is one of the oldest and most storied football programs in the nation. The team has attained five national championships and has had seven players inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.


In 1869, the first intramural football on the Cornell campus took place, although it did not resemble the modern sport and there were 40 players per side. In 1874, the university president and founder, Andrew Dickson White, disallowed a team of Cornell students from traveling to Cleveland, Ohio to play a Michigan team. White said, "I refuse to let 40 of our boys travel 400 miles merely to agitate a bag of wind."[2] On November 12, 1887, Cornell played its first intercollegiate game against Union College, losing 24-10. The following year, the Cornellians record their first win by beating Palmyra, 26-0, and went on to finish the season with a 4-2 record.[2] In 1889, Cornell played the University of Michigan in Buffalo, NY and beat Michigan 66-0. [3]

In 1892, Glenn "Pop" Warner first played the game and the Cornellians finished the season having posted a 10-1 mark under "Father of Cornell football" Carl Johanson. Two years later Warner rose to become the team captain. After college, Warner began his coaching career and returned to Cornell in 1897. That year, he led the team to a 5-3-1 record. The following season, Cornell compiled a 10-2 record. Warner then moved on to coach the Carlisle Indians football team.[2]

The 1904 team coached by Warner (not pictured).

In 1901, under first-year coach Ray Starbuck, the Cornellians outscored their opponents 324-38 and won 11 games for the only time in school history. Pop Warner returned as head coach from 1904 to 1906, during which time his teams posted a 21-8 record.[2]

Cornell began playing Ivy League rival Penn in 1893. They have played 122 times since, in every year except 1918, making this game the 5th most played college football contest in the nation.

In 1915, Cornell won all nine of its games. They handed Harvard their first loss in 50 consecutive games, 10-0. Gil Dobie took over as head coach in 1920. In his first season, the Cornellians posted a 6-2 record, but in each of the subsequent three years they finished 8-0. Cornell was awarded the national championship for each of those three seasons by at least one selector. In those seasons, Cornell outscored its opponents, 1,051 points to 71.[2]

Cornell defeated Penn State, 21-6, in 1938 to begin a school record unbeaten streak of 16 games. The Big Red compiled an 8-0 record in 1939 for its fifth national championship. The possibility of a Rose Bowl invitation that season was rebuffed by the university administration. The unbeaten streak came to an end in 1940 with the infamous Fifth Down Game.[2] After the game, Cornell voluntarily forfeited to Dartmouth when review of film showed the Big Red had inadvertently used five downs.[4] The ESPN College Football Encyclopedia named the game, and Cornell's honorable concession, the second greatest moment in college football history.[5]

The 2017 team after their win against Brown.

In 1951, Cornell beat defending Big Ten and Rose Bowl champion Michigan, 20-7. Between 1969 and 1971, running back Ed Marinaro broke numerous NCAA records with a career total of 1,881 yards and 24 touchdowns. His senior year, he finished as runner-up in the Heisman Trophy voting behind Pat Sullivan of Auburn. That same season, Cornell finished 6-1 to secure a share of the Ivy League conference championship for the first time. Following the 1981 season, the Ivy League was reclassified to Division I-AA, today known as the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Cornell moved to Division I-AA play with the rest of the league.[6] Cornell twice more attained the Ivy League title, shared in 1988 with Penn and shared with Dartmouth in 1990.[2] Beginning in 2018 Cornell will play New York State Ivy League rival, the Columbia Lions in their final game. The victor is awarded the Empire Cup.

Before the start of the 2020 season, the Ivy League announced that no sports would be played until January 1, 2021, at the earliest, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has not yet been determined whether the football season will take place in the spring 2021 or not at all.[7]

Conference affiliations


National championships

Cornell has won five (1915, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1939) national championships from NCAA-designated major selectors.[8][9]:111-112 Cornell claims all five championships.[10][11]

Year Selectors Coach Record
1915 Helms, Houlgate, National Championship Foundation, Parke Davis Al Sharpe 9-0
1921 Helms, Houlgate, National Championship Foundation, Parke Davis Gil Dobie 8-0
1922 Helms, Parke Davis Gil Dobie 8-0
1923 Sagarin Gil Dobie 8-0
1939 Litkenhous, Sagarin Carl Snavely 8-0

Conference championships

Year Conference Coach Overall record Conference record
1971 Ivy League Jack Musick 8-1 6-1
1988 Ivy League Maxie Baughan 7-2-1 6-1
1990 Ivy League Jim Hofher 7-3 6-1


Notable players

Consensus All-Americans

Players in the NFL Draft


Year Round Pick in round Overall pick Player Team Position
2013 4 25 122 J.C. Tretter Packers T
2006 6 7 176 Kevin Boothe Raiders T
1997 4 18 114 Seth Payne Jaguars DT
1997 4 27 123 Chad Levitt Raiders RB
1984 9 24 248 Derrick Harmon 49ers RB
1974 9 26 234 Bob Lally Dolphins LB
1974 14 22 360 Mike Phillips Bengals T
1972 2 24 50 Ed Marinaro Vikings RB
1969 10 23 257 John Sponheimer Chiefs DT
1967 9 11 222 Pete Larsen Redskins RB
1964 8 11 109 Gary Wood Giants QB
1956 18 7 212 Stan Intihar Packers E
1956 28 2 327 Bill DeGraaf Steelers B
1955 13 3 148 Len Oniskey Redskins T
1954 28 8 333 John Gerdes Eagles T
1951 26 4 307 Jeff Fleischmann Cardinals B
1949 8 10 81 Bob Dean Eagles B
1949 18 6 177 Hillary Chollet Rams B
1949 25 3 244 Paul Girolamo Yanks B
1947 5 4 29 Frank Wydo Steelers T
1946 9 2 72 Al Dekdebrun Yanks B
1946 25 6 236 Chick Davidson Packers T
1945 22 4 223 Walt Kretz Yanks B
1945 22 7 226 Chick Davidson Redskins T
1944 25 7 259 Joe Martin Redskins B
1944 30 2 309 Howard Blose Dodgers B
1941 10 7 87 Walt Matuszczak Giants B
1941 11 4 94 Nick Drahos Rams T
1941 17 4 154 Kirk Hershey Rams E
1941 22 2 204 Mort Landsbert Steelers B
1940 21 4 194 Vince Eichler Packers B
1939 10 4 84 Bill McKeever Eagles T
1939 11 3 93 Sid Roth Rams G[12]

Numerous undrafted players have also played in the NFL.[13]Pete Gogolak became the first soccer-style kicker in pro football in 1964; the most recent is current Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Bryan Walters.


  • Arthur Fazzin was captain of the team during the early 1940s. He later became an actor and game show host under the stage name Art Fleming.


Cornell football currently[when?] has a deal with iBN Sports to host live and on-demand home games with their Cornell football channel.[14][15]


  1. ^ "Colors". Cornell University Brand Center. Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Cornell Football History, Cornell University, retrieved March 13, 2009.
  3. ^ "Wolverines Worsted.," The Cornell Daily Sun - 18 November 1889.
  4. ^ Part II: The Fifth Down Game Archived 2011-07-08 at the Wayback Machine, The Cornell Daily Sun, November 8, 2007.
  5. ^ Beano Cook's top 10 moments in college football, ESPN, October 6, 2006.
  6. ^ New York Times - 2006-11-17
  7. ^ West, Jenna. "Ivy League to Postpone Fall Athletics, No Date Set for Return". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2020.
  8. ^ Christopher J. Walsh (2007). Who's #1?: 100-Plus Years of Controversial National Champions in College Football. Taylor Trade Pub. pp. 119-120. ISBN 978-1-58979-337-8.
  9. ^ 2017 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records (PDF). Indianapolis: National Collegiate Athletic Association. August 2017. Retrieved 2018.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Cornell University - FB_RecordBook" (PDF). p. 3.
  12. ^ "".
  13. ^ "Cornell Players/Alumni". Pro Football Reference. November 19, 2016.
  14. ^ "Spring Football Game Set For Saturday". Cornell University.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-04-05. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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