Cornell Big Red
First season 1887
Head coach Kent Austin
Home stadium Schoellkopf Field
Stadium capacity 25,597
Stadium surface Artificial turf
Location Ithaca, New York
Conference Ivy League
All-time record 623–477–34
Postseason bowl record
Claimed national titles 5
Conference titles 3
Consensus All-Americans 16
Colors Carnelian red and White            
Fight song Give My Regards to Davy
Rivals Penn Quakers
Dartmouth Big Green

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 intermural 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."[1] 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.[1]

In 1892, Glenn "Pop" Warner first played the game and the Cornellians finished the season having posted a 10–1 mark. 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 soon-to-be legendary Carlisle Indians football team.[1]

File:Cornell's 1904 Varsity Football Team.jpg
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.[1]

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.[1]

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.[1] After the game, Cornell voluntarily forfeited to Dartmouth when review of film showed the Big Red had inadvertently used five downs.[2] The ESPN College Football Encyclopedia named the game, and Cornell's honorable concession, the second greatest moment in college football history.[3]

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. Cornell twice more attained the title, shared in 1988 with Penn and shared with Dartmouth in 1990.[1]


The Cornell Big Red have compiled the following team and individual achievements:[4]

National championshipsEdit

Year Selectors Coach Record
1915 Helms, Houlgate, NCF, Parke H. Davis Al Sharpe 9–0
1921 Helms, Houlgate, NCF, Parke H. Davis Gil Dobie 8–0
1922 Helms, Parke H. Davis Gil Dobie 8–0
1923 Sagrin Ratings Gil Dobie 8–0
1939 Litkenhous, Sagarin Carl Snavely 8–0

Conference championshipsEdit

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

Consensus All-AmericansEdit


Cornell football currently has a deal with iBN Sports to host live and on-demand home games with their Cornell football channel.[5][6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Cornell Football History, Cornell University, retrieved March 13, 2009.
  2. Part II: The Fifth Down Game, The Cornell Daily Sun, November 8, 2007.
  3. Beano Cook's top 10 moments in college football, ESPN, October 6, 2006.
  4. Official 2007 NCAA Division I Football Records Book, National Collegiate Athletic Association, 2007.

External linksEdit

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