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VMI holds off Cornell to gain road win, 31-21

VMI AthleticsVMI redshirt freshman quarterback Collin Ironside threw for two touchdowns to senior wide receiver Jakob Herres and senior running back Korey Bridy added 92 yards rushing and a touchdown to lead #22 VMI to a 31-21 win over Cornell Saturday afternoon.

It was VMI’s fourth road win over the last trips dating back to last spring as the Keydets took the first meeting between the schools.

VMI never trailed in the contest but had to overcome 12 penalties and a resilient Cornell team to post the victory in its final non-conference test of the season.

The Big Red trimmed VMI’s lead to 24-21 following a 17-yard touchdown run on a screen pass from Richie Kenney to Curtis Raymond III with 3:39 left in the third quarter, but the Keydets responded with a decisive fourth quarter 72-yard drive capped when Ironside connected with Herres on a fade throw to the right corner of the end zone for a seven-yard score with 6:57 left in the game. Bridy sparked the drive with a 42-yard rush down the right sideline and added three more rushes of 13 yards to put the Keydets in the red zone.

The VMI defense pitched a scoreless fourth quarter and limited Cornell to just 13 yards rushing in the final period and 80 yards for the game.

Ironside was inserted into the game when starting QB Seth Morgan left the field with injury during VMI’s second drive of the first quarter. Ironside engineered a seven play, 30-yard drive set up by a Stone Snyder fumble recovery and return into Cornell territory. Bridy crashed in from the one-yard line and the Keydets took a 7-0 lead with 1:59 left in the first quarter.

Cornell evened the score at 7-7 on a 45-yard touchdown pass from Kenney to Thomas Glover with 11:08 left in the second quarter, but the Keydets retook the lead later in the quarter when Ironside found Herres over the middle for a 14-yard touchdown pass play at the 4:21 mark. The 36-yard scoring drive was set up when VMI sophomore punter Jack Culbreath cornered a punt at the Cornell 1-yard line and the Keydets defense held play on that end of the field.

The Big Red countered when Eric Diggs picked off a VMI pass attempt at midfield and eight plays later SK Howard darted in from three yards out to bring the Cornell even again at 14-14 with :21 seconds left.

Bridy took the ensuing kickoff to the Cornell 34-yard line and set up a Jerry Rice 41-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, putting the Keydets up for good on the afternoon.

After an exchange of punts to open the second half, VMI took a 24-14 lead with a 13-play, 53-yard scoring drive that ended when Ironside rolled right and dove into the endzone on a four-yard keeper with 6:19 remaining in the third period.

Bridy finished with 92 yards rushing while Ironside completed 27 of 42 passes for 230 yards. Herres caught seven passes for 60 yards while adding two more touchdown receptions to give him 25 for his VMI career. Junior Leroy Thomas added six catches for 54 yards and senior Michael Jackson caught four aerials for 54 yards.

Stone Snyder topped the VMI tackle charts with six stops including five solo tackles to go along with his first quarter fumble recovery.

Kenney completed 18 of 47 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns for the Big Red while Glover led Cornell receivers with seven catches for 159 yards and a touchdown.

VMI opens Southern Conference action next Saturday against Wofford at Foster Stadium in Lexington. Kickoff is 1:30 pm.