The Jug Stays in Ithaca; Football Downs Cortland, 24-21

CORTLAND, N.Y. – For the second consecutive season, the Ithaca College football team defeated SUNY Cortland in the annual Cortaca Jug Game, as the Bombers took down the host Red Dragons, 24-21, in the 60th edition of the rivalry at the SUNY Cortland Sports Complex on Saturday. With the win, Ithaca is now 8-2 on the season, while Cortland falls to 7-3. The rivalry brings its own intensity to the contest, but prior to today's matchup, a steady snow storm rolled through Cortland and coated the field as the teams were warming up. It appeared that the 60th Cortaca Jug would be played in near white out conditions, but the skies cleared for a majority of the contest. The only weather factors both teams had to deal with throughout the game were occasional snow flurries, steady winds from 10-15 miles per hour and frigid temperatures. Ithaca won the coin toss and elected to defer to the second half. Cortland would pick up one first down on its initial drive but was forced to punt. After three-and-outs for both teams, which included a school record 67-yard punt by senior Pat Minogue, the Bombers manufactured a 12-play, 69-yard drive, which ended on a one-yard touchdown run by junior Kendall Anderson to give the Bombers a 7-0 lead with 5:30 to go in the first quarter. On the drive, Anderson started things off with three straight carries for 20 yards, and a 15-yard facemask was tacked on after the third carry. Two plays later, sophomore Wahid Nabi connected with classmate Andrew Vito for 18 yards down to the Cortland 14-yard line. Rushes by Anderson (five yards) and Nabi (six yards) spotted the ball at the four-yard line. Ithaca took two cracks at the end zone on the ground, but were unable to score, and then went to the air. The pass was intercepted, but Ithaca retained possession on an offsides call on Cortland. Now facing fourth-and-goal at the half-yard line, Anderson plunged in on a toss to give IC an early advantage. On the ensuing drive, Cortland was forced into another three-and-out. The Bombers continued their early momentum as Anderson rushed for 19 yards on three totes to start things off. After a first down sneak by Nabi, he hit Vito for 23 yards down to the Cortland 24-yard line. On the next snap, Nabi rolled right, directed traffic and found sophomore Hayden Frey in the back corner of the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown connection to increase Ithaca's lead to 14-0 with 2:04 left in the first quarter. Cortland appeared to solidify a drive on its next possession as a Brett Segala pass to Nick Anderson went for 24 yards, but the play was brought back on an ineligible player downfield. The Red Dragons regrouped and picked up a first down but were then flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct foul to end the first quarter. Now facing fourth-and-23, the Red Dragons were unable to dig out of the hole and had to punt. The Bombers answered with a 32-yard completion from Nabi to Vito just two plays later to spot the ball at the Cortland 25-yard line, but the drive ended as Nabi was intercepted at the Cortland 35 after a holding penalty on IC. Once again, Cortland could not move the ball and punted it back to the Bombers. On the first play from scrimmage, Anderson rushed for three yards, but 15 more was added on as Cortland was flagged for a personal foul. A 16-yard completion to Vito move Ithaca inside Cortland territory, and then two 15-yard penalties on the Red Dragons pushed the ball down to the 12. Ithaca stalled out there and had to settle for a 34-yard field goal try, but the attempt sailed right to keep the score at 14-0 with 5:20 to go until halftime. Cortland would move into IC territory after the miss, but an intentional grounding call on second-and-eight bogged down the drive. A nine-yard punt staked IC to great field position, and the Bombers capitalized, and they took just three plays