CORTLAND, N.Y. – Cortland graduate student quarterback Dan Pitcher (Cortland) passed for 270 yards and two touchdowns and earned Most Outstanding Player of the Game honors as the Red Dragons shut out Albright College, 14-0, in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Div. III Southeast Bowl.
Cortland finishes the season with a 9-2 record and has now won six ECAC bowl games. Albright wraps the year with a 6-4 mark. The Lions are now 5-2 in ECAC bowl games.
Pitcher completed 20-of-35 passes, including a 29-yard touchdown pass to freshman Kordel McInnis (Washington Township, NJ) in the first quarter and a 30-yard scoring pass to sophomore John Babin (Warwick Valley) on the final play of the first half. Pitcher also rushed for 37 yards on seven carries. McInnis caught six passes for 61 yards, junior Mike Humphrey (Le Roy) made five catches for 69 yards and Babin caught four passes for 73 yards.
Pitcher finishes as Cortland record holder with 54 career touchdown passes. He also set school records with 31 TD passes this season and 13 straight games with a TD pass, dating back to the final two games of the 2010 season. Babin set school records this season with 72 receptions, 1,183 receiving yards and 16 receiving touchdowns.
Junior linebacker Mike Wilson (Penfield) made a team-high nine tackles and senior linebacker Bill Smith (Nanuet) recorded eight tackles and two pass breakups. Senior cornerback D.J. Romano (Newburgh/Newburgh Free Academy) registered seven tackles, all solo, broke up three passes and registered an interception. Romano finished tied for the career lead at Cortland with 15 interceptions, four this season.
Albright senior running back Josan Holmes (Penllyn, PA/Wissahickon) rushed 18 times for 101 yards. Sophomore T.J. Luddy (Bethlehem, PA/Freedom) completed 12-of-29 passes for 133 yards and junior Adam Galczynski (Kutztown, PA/Kutztown Area) was 3-of-8 passing for 26 yards. Senior Scott Pillar (Keansburg, NJ) made seven catches for 90 yards.
Sophomore linebacker Matthew Hnatiuk (Baltimore, MD/Loyola Blakefield) and sophomore safety Drew Peterson (Bristol, PA/Harry S. Truman) each made nine tackles. Peterson also intercepted a pass and senior defensive tackle Paul Muller (Belford, NJ/Middletown North) blocked two field goals. Senior Brooks Mitzkewich (Frenchtown, NJ/Delaware Valley) averaged 45.8 yards per punt, including a 75-yarder.
Cortland had a field goal blocked on its opening possession, but a Babin 24-yard punt return set up the Red Dragons on the Albright 40-yard line. Three plays later, McInnis turned a screen pass into a 29-yard score. On the point-after, Cortland faked the kick and holder Chris Rose (Victor) ran in basically untouched for a two-point conversion and an 8-0 lead.
On Albright's next drive, the Lions marched from their own 26-yard line to the Cortland 15-yard line. A sack and an incomplete pass on second and third down led to a 37-yard field goal attempt by Jordan Loiodice (Brick, NJ/Brick Memorial) into the wind that was on line but fell about a yard or two short.
Albright's next drive began at the start of the second quarter at its own 45-yard line and progressed to the Red Dragon 2-yard line. Cortland, however, held Holmes to a 1-yard loss and no gain on two rushes, and Luddy's pass attempts to Pillar missed the mark on both third and fourth down.
Late in the half, Peterson intercepted Pitcher – only the fifth pick Pitcher threw all season – and set up the Lions at the Cortland 24-yard line after a 25-yard return. Following a delay of game penalty, however, Cortland linebacker Chris Bright (East Meadow) intercepted Luddy and returned the ball 22 yards to the Cortland 45-yard line with 16.6 seconds left in the half.
Pitcher connected with Humphrey on a 25-yard pass down the middle to the Lions' 30-yard line and Cortland called timeout with 9.5 seconds remaining. Pitcher then threw a deep pass to the back left corner of the end zone. Babin leaped, made the catch and was able to get his feet inbounds before falling through the back of the end zone. Cortland missed the point-after kick and led 14-0.
Albright's best scoring chance came early in the third quarter on its second drive of the half. The Lions started on their own 20-yard line and Luddy threw a 16-yard pass to Pillar to the 36-yard line. On the next play, Holmes broke free down the right sideline for a 54-yard run. He nearly scored, but Cortland junior safety Steven Lenhart (Ticonderoga) chased him down and made a diving tackle at the 10-yard line.
The Lions' next three plays netted only a combined one yard, and on fourth down Luddy's pass was intercepted by Romano in the front left part of the end zone.