Saxons beat Bombers, 21-19, snap 12-game losing streak at Ithaca
ITHACA, NY – The Alfred University football team defeated host Ithaca College, 21-19, Saturday afternoon at Butterfield Stadium, snapping the Saxons' 12-game losing streak at Ithaca.
The Saxons had not won on the Bombers' home turf since the 1982 season and with the win AU snapped a two-game losing streak in conference play, improving to 6-3 on the season, 3-3 in Empire play. With the loss, Ithaca falls to 4-5 (2-5 Empire 8).
Senior linebacker Nick Clark had seven tackles (including a sack) for the Saxons, giving him 363 for his career and breaking the school record of 359 formerly held by linebacker Wil Greene (1993-96). Clark also had an interception that thwarted a third-quarter Bomber drive and rushed for a touchdown.
Alfred led 21-12 when Phil Neumann tossed an eight-yard TD pass to Joe Ingrao to make it 21-19 Saxons with just under four minutes left in regulation. Junior tailback Tyler DeRosa returned the ensuing kickoff 32 yards to midfield. Three runs by sophomore tailback Austin Dwyer produced a first down and freshman wideout Christian Smith rushed for five yards on third-and-four to give AU another first down. With Ithaca out of timeouts, the Saxons were able to run out the clock and secure the victory.
Dwyer finished with 129 yards on 28 carries and DeRosa had 30 yards on nine carries.
The game was close throughout. AU took a 14-6 lead after Clark bulled into the endzone from three yards out to cap a 14-play, 78-yard drive with just under two minutes left in the third. The Saxon drive came after Clark's interception at the Alfred 22-yard line with 3:52 left in the third. Ithaca had a chance to tie the game at 14 when Dan Ruffrage returned a punt 43 yards for a touchdown with 12:08 left in the fourth, but the two-point conversion attempt failed at Alfred led 14-12. On its ensuing possession, AU drove 68 yards in eight plays before senior quarterback T.J. Kilcarr hit junior tight end Adam Schutz with a 15-yard TD pass to put Alfred up 21-12. Dwyer ran for 34 yards on the drive.
Kilcarr finished 17-of-30 for 211 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Sophomore wide receiver Justin OIiver had three catches for 70 yards and a score and Schutz had five catches for 53 yards and a score. Sophomore wideout Josh Phillips caught four passes for 42 yards.
AU led 7-6 at intermission, despite a late Bomber drive inside the Saxon 5-yard line late in the second in which Ithaca settled for the second of Andrew Rogowski's two first-half field goals. The first, from 28 yards 2:49 into the contest, staked Ithaca to a 3-0 lead. AU took a 7-3 lead 2:52 in to the second when Kilcarr capped an eight-play 70-yard drive with a 40-yard scoring pass to Oliver.
Ithaca had a chance to take a halftime lead when Jarrett Naiden broke free for an 86-yard run to the Alfred 2-yard line with under two minutes left in the half. But after a one-yard Naiden rush on first down, the Bombers sent Rogowski out to kick a 19-yard field goal with just over a minute left before intermission.
AU dominated the stat sheet, producing 394 yards of offense (211 passing, 183 rushing) to 239 for Ithaca (112 passing, 127 rushing). The Saxons had 22 first downs to nine for Ithaca and converted nine of 18 third downs to only four of 15 for the Bombers.
AU senior end Marcellus Jones (sack) and junior tackle Mike Raplee each had five tackles and junior end Chris Steeves had a sack.
Neumann was 10-of-31 for 112 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Ruffrage caught three passes for 55 yards and Ingrao had four receptions for 22 yards and a touchdown. Naiden had 18 rushes for 141 yards.
Eric Toporoff and Will Carter each had 12 tackles to pace the Ithaca defense. Joe Gilfedder had nine stops and Mike Conti had an interception for the Bombers.
Alfred is in action next on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 1 p.m. at home against Empire 8 foe Utica, in the regular season finale for both teams.