Cortland Controls Ithaca, 27-3, to Retain Cortaca Jug
ITHACA, N.Y. – Cortland graduate student quarterback Dan Pitcher completed 23-of-36 passes for 280 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 94 yards on 11 carries as Cortland retained the Cortaca Jug with a 27-3 victory at Ithaca College in front of an estimated crowd of 9,700 fans.
Cortland finishes the regular season with an 8-2 mark. The Red Dragons have a slim chance at an NCAA at-large berth, but most likely will host an ECAC bowl game next Saturday. The NCAA pairings will be announced Sunday at 6 p.m. and the ECAC pairings will be released on Monday morning.
Cortland's 24-point margin of victory is its largest in the series since a 41-13 win in 1996 and is the Red Dragons' biggest road victory over the Bombers since a 28-0 shutout in 1955, four years before the Cortaca Jug existed.
Sophomore tight end Tyreek Burwell, junior receiver Mike Humphrey and sophomore receiver John Babin each caught touchdown passes and freshman tailback Bronson Greene rushed for a score.
Freshman Kordel McInnis caught seven passes for 73 yards. Babin made five catches for 91 yards, senior tailback Dorian Myles had five receptions for 48 yards and Humphrey finished with three catches for 34 yards. Burwell's TD catch was his first collegiate reception.
Babin set a school single-season record with 1,110 receiving yards and tied the school record with 68 receptions. He extended his school record for TD catches in a season to 15. Steve Ellis held the school record with 1,089 receiving yards and now shares the school record with 68 receptions – marks set in 1994.
Pitcher has now thrown at least one TD pass in 12 straight games, breaking his mark of 11 set in 2009-10. Pitcher has a TD pass in 23 of 24 games he has started for the Red Dragons. Pitcher has thrown a school-record 29 touchdown passes this season and 52 for his career, and his 2,442 passing yards this fall are the most ever at Cortland during the regular season and second overall at Cortland behind Ray Miles' 2,963 yards in 13 games in 2008.
Cortland outgained Ithaca 417-226 in total offense. The Red Dragon defense sacked Ithaca quarterback Jason Hendel eight times and limited the Bombers to 67 yards net rushing. Senior defensive tackle Steve Gruber made six tackles, including three for lost yardage. Senior linebacker Cody Allen recorded five stops, a sack and an interception that halted Ithaca's opening drive of the game inside the Cortland 20-yard line. Junior linebacker Mike Wilson and freshman linebacker Jesse Scanna each finished with 1.5 sacks.
Hendel finished 16-of-24 passing for 159 yards for Ithaca. Dan Ruffrage made eight catches for 85 yards and became Ithaca's career receiving leader. Adam Lajara ran for 47 yards on just three carries. Josh Liemer and Will Carter each finished with seven tackles.
Ithaca faced a 4th-and-17 on its own 30-yard line on the first play of the second quarter with the game scoreless. The Bombers faked a punt and Tom Scanlon ran 38 yards to the Cortland 32-yard line. The drive stalled at the 20-yard line and Andrew Rogowski made a 39-yard field goal – his school record 13th of the season – to give Ithaca a 3-0 lead.
Cortland responded with a 10-play, 89-yard touchdown drive on its next possession. The big plays on the drive were a Pitcher 20-yard run to the Cortland 48-yard line, a 15-yard catch by McInnis, and a 29-yard reception by Humphrey on 2nd-and-8 from the Ithaca 35-yard line. Two plays later, Pitcher found Burwell open in the left corner of the end zone on a play-action pass to give Cortland a 7-3 lead.
The Red Dragons marched 80 yards on 10 plays to open the third quarter to score a touchdown and take a 14-3 lead. Babin caught a 47-yard pass to advance the ball to the Ithaca 8-yard line and, three plays later, Pitcher found Humphrey for a 6-yard TD pass.
Ithaca drove to the Cortland 27-yard line later in the third quarter but dropped a pass on 4th-and-2 to turn the ball over on downs. The Red Dragons answered with a 13-play, 73-yard scoring drive. On 4th-and-15 at the Ithaca 29-yard line on the final play of the third quarter, Pitcher ran for 17 yards to keep the drive alive. Two plays later, he found Babin for a 10-yard TD and a 21-3 lead.
Cortland's final score came on Greene's 2-yard TD run with 1:50 remaining. Greene has rushed for 11 touchdowns this season, the most ever by a Cortland freshman. Ithaca's final drive ended on an interception by senior cornerback Chad Stalter in the end zone as time expired.