MOUNT VERNON – John Smith grinned from ear to ear when he heard the information.
The senior quarterback was pleasantly shocked in regards to the significance of his newest efficiency. For the second straight week, he produced his profession greatest single-game passing whole.
“Actually,” Smith mentioned. “That’s information to me.”
Smith had one other massive week, passing for 276 yards and a landing and serving to Cornell to a 36-24 Saturday afternoon at Van Metre Area of Ash Park. The Rams improved to 3-2 total and 3-1 within the Midwest Convention, producing their greatest begin since 2014.
“I feel we performed laborious,” Cornell Coach Dan Pifer mentioned. “I advised them there isn’t a such factor as an unsightly win. We’ll take it.”
For Smith, he didn’t fade from final week’s 255-yard and 5 whole TDs outing. Smith accomplished 74.3% of his 35 passes for his new private greatest and hitting six receivers. He additionally added 10 yards and a 1-yard TD on the bottom. He was fast to reward his teammates.
“It simply exhibits the group I’ve round me,” mentioned Smith, who obtained a tutorial scholarship and made the two,000 mile trek from Hoopa, Cali., to proceed his soccer profession. “The lineman are capable of shield me and provides me time to make the appropriate reads. I’ve playmakers throughout me, so I’m grateful for every little thing I’ve just about.”
Smith appreciates stepping on the sphere. He has labored for these alternatives that he walked away from beforehand.
Smith advised Jack Carlson on the Hilltop Sports activities Report podcast that he give up as a freshman throughout the 2020 season canceled by the Covid-19 pandemic. He missed the game and suited up together with his mates, making an attempt not return for spring follow in 2021.
Pifer reminded Smith of how he left this system and he needed to work his approach again on the roster. Smith put in his dues as a supervisor within the fall of 2021, filming video games and touring with former huge receivers coach and present offensive coordinator Ryan Kaltenmark.
“He’s a superb child,” Pifer mentioned. “He’s a superb chief. Children like him. They voted him one of many captains. It speaks volumes for him and the respect he has on the group.”
Smith, who grew up admiring Stanford and Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck, began because the third string QB final season, taking the sphere when accidents sidelined teammates. He entered this season because the No. 1 man and he’s definitely taking part in prefer it.
“I’m embracing with the ability to present up within the second,” Smith mentioned. “We had two quarterbacks go down in entrance of me and it’s ‘Subsequent man up. That’s all I preach. On the faculty degree, it’s a must to be prepared it doesn’t matter what. That’s what I strive week to week.”
Smith devotes 4 hours a day, dissecting movie. He does the work off the sphere and reaps the reward in competitors. He prepares for every group, attempting to establish schemes and patterns.
“He places within the time,” Pifer mentioned. “You need to in that place. One of the best athletes nonetheless must put within the time and know what the protection is doing. You’re looking for little tendencies and he’s doing that.
“The nice quarterbacks know what the defenses do earlier than they do it as a result of they watched movie and know. I feel that’s given him a bonus.”
Smith displayed his enchancment during the last 12 months. He related with Trey Birdsong for a 20-yard catch and run landing to cap the primary drive of the sport. Smith added a 1-yard scoring rush for a 23-3 lead with 17 seconds left earlier than the half, capitalizing on a Savian Perez interception close to midfield.
“He’s simply making good choices,” Pifer mentioned. “I feel he’s seeing the sport nicely. It’s slowing down for him slightly bit.”
Cole Reed led the Rams with 9 catches for 114 yards. Birdsong was second with 77 yards on eight catches. Former Alburnett prep Gavin Soukup had 64 yards on six receptions. Smith has many succesful targets.
“We’ve a superb corps of receivers,” Pifer mentioned. “All of them can do one thing with the ball. They’ve their strengths, so we attempt to get them in these areas the place they will do one thing with it.”
Smith orchestrated scoring drives of 75, 67 and 58 yards. Two concluded with Tony Gomez TD runs of 6 and three yards. The latter iced the sport with 6:24 remaining. Daniel Abesames-Hammer added a 2-yard TD run within the second half.
Gomez had a game-high 127 dashing yards. He ran behind a entrance that helped soften the clock late and supply time for Smith to throw.
“I feel it’s an indication of maturity,” Pifer mentioned. “I feel it’s an indication of the O-line getting higher.”
The Rams are in a three-way tie for second place within the MWC. They’re experiencing their greatest season in Pifer’s 4 years of rebuilding this system. A lot work stays.
“We’re getting higher,” Pifer mentioned. “We’ve to maintain constructing. We’re solely midway by the season. We nonetheless have 5 left. As soon as this sport is over we transfer on, but it surely’s going nicely.”