CORTLAND, N.Y. – Cortland completed its regular-season home schedule with a 62-49 New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) victory over Morrisville State in a game that set Cortland school single-game records for most combined points (111) and combined total offensive yards (1,263).
The Red Dragons improved to 5-4 overall and finished with a 5-2 NJAC record. Cortland finishes the regular season at Ithaca next Saturday at noon in the annual Cortaca Jug game. Cortland could still share the NJAC title if both Rowan and Brockport lose next week, but the Red Dragons would lose the league tiebreaker in that situation.
Cortland finished with 641 yards in total offense to Morrisville's 622 yards. The previous record for combined yardage in a Cortland game was 1,210 yards in a win over Albany in 1978. The prior combined scoring record was 107 points in Cortland's 64-43 win at Brockport in 2011.
Cortland senior running back Justin Autera (Mahopac) finished the game with 30 carries for 133 yards and a touchdown and three catches for 109 yards and a score. He is believed to be the first player in school history to register both 100 rushing and 100 receiving yards in the same game.
Junior running back Dylan Peebles (Port Leyden/South Lewis) ran 11 times for 171 yards (15.5 yards per carry) and three touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback John Grassi (Oceanside), making his first collegiate start, completed 24-of-34 passes for 347 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Junior wide receiver John Babin (Warwick/Warwick Valley) caught 15 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns. He finished one reception short of tying the school record of 16 catches set by Frank Goroleski in the 1978 Albany game.
Morrisville (3-6, 2-4 NJAC) was led by quarterback Lemar Johnson (Ossining), who completed 32-of-47 passes for 396 yards and five touchdowns before leaving the game with an injury in the fourth quarter. Tony Deese (Brooklyn/Grand Street Campus) connected on 2-of-5 passes for 66 yards and a score.
Junior Josh Powell (Yonkers/Archbishop Stepinac) led the Mustangs with 15 receptions for 130 yards and four touchdowns and sophomore Anthony Gray (Smallwood/Monticello) caught 13 passes for 187 yards and a score. Sophomore Cristian Pena (Ridgewood/Enterprise) ran 21 times for 142 yards and a score.
Linebackers Matt Ambrose (Wyckoff, NJ/Ramapo) and Tristan Laurore (Jamaica/Boys & Girls) led Cortland with 10 tackles each and defensive end Tom Hagan (Hopewell Junction/John Jay-East Fishkill) recorded 3.5 tackles for loss, including two sacks. Safety Andrew Tolosi (Monroe/Monroe-Woodbury) broke a school record with his sixth forced fumble of the season and senior Ben Krauz (Huntington/St. Anthony's) blocked a punt.
Delroy Young (Binghamton) paced Morrisville with 14 tackles, nine solo, and Jeremy Stewart (Moravia) finished with eight tackles and two pass breakups.
The teams were tied 7-7 after the first quarter. Peebles scored on a 5-yard run and Pena answered with a 43-yard touchdown run. Cortland then outscored the Mustangs 31-14 in the second quarter to lead 38-21 at halftime. The Red Dragons' scores in the quarter came on a Babin 2-yard TD catch, a Peebles 1-yard run, an Autera 1-yard run, an Autera 82-yard reception on a screen pass, and a Nick Daley (Saratoga Springs) 36-yard field goal on the final play of the half. Powell caught two TD passes for Morrisville in the quarter. Autera's 82-yard catch is the second longest in school history behind an 85-yard Keith Greene catch from Ray Miles at Kean in 2007.
Powell's third TD catch of the game with 9:17 left in the third quarter drew Morrisville within 10 at 38-28. On the ensuing kickoff, however, Autera advanced the ball five yards, then handed to Peebles who covered 82 yards before being tackles at the Morrisville 8-yard line. Two plays later, Grassi threw a 5-yard TD pass to freshman tight end Josh Riley (Poughkeepsie/Spackenkill) for Riley's first career TD catch.
Morrisville quickly responded when Johnson hit Anthony Mella (Brooklyn/Grady) for a 65-yard TD pass on the second play of the next series and the Mustangs trailed 45-35. The quick offensive strikes continued, however, when on the first play of Cortland's next drive Peebles ran around right end for an 82-yard touchdown – the sixth-longest rush from scrimmage in school history – and a 52-35 lead.
Tolosi's forced fumble on the next Morrisville drive set up Cortland at the Mustangs' 49-yard line. On 4th-and-4 from the 33-yard line, Grassi hit Babin in stride up the middle for a TD pass and Cortland led 59-35.
Johnson found Powell for an 8-yard TD pass six seconds into the fourth quarter to bring Morrisville within 17. Later in the quarter, Krauz's blocked punt gave Cortland the ball at the Morrisville 33-yard line. The Red Dragons eventually drove to the 2-yard line before settling for a Daley 20-yard field goal. The Mustangs closed the scoring on a 27-yard TD pass from Deese to Gray with 2:36 remaining.
Daley made 2-of-3 field goals and all eight of his point-after kicks. He also averaged 34 yards per punt on three attempts and 60.7 yards per kickoff on 10 kicks, five of which resulted in touchbacks.