Empire 8 Football: Dragons need win badly at Hartwick
Coming off back-to-back Empire 8 Conference losses, all SUNY Cortland is looking for at this juncture of the football season is a victory.
Sure those two setbacks came to St. John Fisher and Utica College opponents who are both currently undefeated, but that doesn’t take the sting away for a Red Dragons squad that opened the season 2-0, was nationally-ranked and was intent on repeating as conference champions.
“You don’t change who you are,” insists head coach Dan MacNeill of his suddenly struggling Red Dragons, as Cortland (2-2) looks to get back on the winning track traveling to Oneonta Saturday afternoon to face Hartwick College. Kickoff at Wright Stadium is 2 p.m. in the conference contest.
Still, MacNeill hopes the Red Dragons’ defense can step up against a high-scoring opponent, hopes freshman quarterback DeAngelo Walker gets more comfortable in his role running the offense after taking over when senior Steven Ferreira broke an ankle in the St. John Fisher loss.
“We just need to win. That’s all we really control,” says MacNeill, who knows with parity prevalent throughout the Empire 8 anything can still happen.
“I have no idea how this thing is going to turn out. There are a lot of good football teams out there,” said MacNeill. “You see that Brockport is leading Fisher 28-7 or something at halftime, and they lose the game. It’s a good league and a lot of different things will happen.
“Who will be champion? Well, there’s a lot of games left to play,” he adds. “If you start looking at it that way (as a must-win game) you start panicking, and I think to a certain degree we’ve got to watch and be very vigilant that we don’t get lost in ‘what if?’ Control what you can control, and that is the mission ahead for us, playing better against a worthy opponent, again, on the road.”