Following last Friday's loss against Brown at home, Penn football (5-2, 2-2 Ivy) is now entering the final stretch of its season, with three must-win games to keep the team's Ivy League title hopes alive. That stretch of games begins Saturday, when Cornell (3-4, 2-2) heads into Franklin Field. Ahead of kickoff, see how members of The Daily Pennsylvanian's Sports Staff think the game will go.
Penn 28, Cornell 17 — Caleb Crain, Sports Editor
With just three games left in its season, every contest is suddenly must-win for Penn. I think that this Saturday, the Quakers will begin that journey against Cornell. In front of a strong Homecoming crowd at Franklin Field, Penn should be able to take care of business. The Big Red ranks just one spot below Penn in terms of points scored and points allowed. While this means just a slight drop off on defense, the team's offense is scoring nearly seven points per game fewer than the Quakers'. With fifth-year senior defensive back Jaden Key potentially seeing a bigger role as he continues his recovery from an upper-body injury, I think Penn's defense will hold firm on Saturday.
Penn 28, Cornell 20 — Walker Carnathan, Deputy Sports Editor
The Quakers are playing with a proverbial “chip on their shoulder” this week after a deflating home loss to Brown. But as the alumni flock back to campus, so, too, will the true spirit of this Penn team. I wrote last week about the Quakers’ wasted potential to this point, and how at their best, they are capable of beating anyone in the Ivy League. I see one of those efforts in store this week. The Big Red's defense has been porous against the air attack, and if junior quarterback Aidan Sayin gets going, Penn is difficult to stop. Look for another 300-plus yard passing game from Sayin and at least three touchdown passes to right the ship after last week’s three-pick stinker.
Penn 31, Cornell 28 — Sean McKeown, Sports Associate
So far this year, there have been no easy wins for the Quakers. Sayin and the offense know they didn’t play their best game last week, so I fully expect the coaches have placed some extra pressure on them to perform this time. Cornell hasn’t been the best in conference all season, but they did recently give Brown a beat down which does make it hard to form expectations for Saturday's matchup. I don’t expect the win to be easy, but I expect Penn to pull themselves together, limit mistakes, and pull away from Cornell to further their Ivy title hopes.
Penn 27, Cornell 21 — Neema Baddam, Sports Reporter
There’s a crisp fall chill in the air as we approach the homecoming football game, and to me, it feels like hope — hope that the Quakers will pull off a repeat of last year’s win over Cornell and set good vibes in place for the weekend of Red and Blue celebrations ahead. Cornell’s Ivy record matches Penn’s, with two wins each, which makes me optimistic about the possibility of seeing the first Ivy victory of the year on Franklin Field this weekend. Despite the Quakers' most recent disappointing loss to Brown, I believe Penn’s defense will shape up stronger against the Big Red, especially in front of the larger crowd of community support that homecoming typically gathers.
Penn 31, Cornell 20 — Ethan Crawford, Sports Reporter
After coming up just short against Brown in last Friday’s comeback attempt, this is a must-win game for the Quakers, especially facing a Cornell team predicted to finish second to last in the preseason poll. Penn’s offense has been stellar so far this season, and with an increased focus on limiting the turnover margin following a three-interception game from Sayin, Saturday should be no exception. The issue is that Cornell blew out Brown 36-14 just two weeks ago, which will give them all the confidence the team needs to beat the reeling Red and Blue.
Despite this, Cornell put up just three points against a Princeton team tied for first place in the Ivy League, and I predict the Big Red will continue their losing form against Penn. While Cornell is looking to mark its most conference wins since 2019 with one more victory, it won’t happen against the Quakers on Homecoming.