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The Jug Returns to South Hill; Ithaca Drops Cortland, 48-20

More news about: Ithaca

ITHACA, N.Y. – After a seven-year drought, the Jugs are coming back to South Hill as the Ithaca College football team defeated Cortland, 48-20, in the 59th Cortaca Jug Game at Butterfield Stadium on Saturday. Ithaca now leads the all-time Jug series, 35-24, and the overall matchup against the Red Dragons, 40-33-3. Ithaca concludes its regular season with a 7-3 record, while Cortland falls to 6-4.

Freshman quarterback Wahid Nabi set a school record with six touchdown passes in the contest, including five in the first half, and finished the game 27-of-37 for 329 yards. The last Bomber quarterback to throw five touchdowns in a game was Mike O'Donovan in 1998 against AIC. 

On the receiving end of two of those touchdowns was sophomore Will Gladney, who hauled in five catches for 91 yards and eclipsed 1,000 yards on the season to become just the third receiver in school history to surpass that milestone.

Freshman Andrew Vito led the receiving corps with 10 catches for 116 yards and a score, while seniors Jared Bauer (three catches, 34 yards), Jack Yule (two catches, 33 yards) and junior JR Zazzara (two receptions, 22 yards) each tallied touchdown grabs.

Senior Tristan Brown punched home the exclamation mark in the game with a 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter as he finished the contest with 58 yards on 22 carries.

For the sixth straight game, the Bomber defense held its opposition to under 300 yards of offense. Cortland tallied 292 yards and turned the ball over twice. Ithaca also notched three sacks. Offensively for IC, the Bombers amassed 410 yards and controlled the clock with 26 first downs, converted 7-of-15 third down chances and 3-of-4 on fourth down, and also held the ball for 33:07.

An estimated 11,000 fans packed Butterfield Stadium on Saturday, and were immediately brought to their feet, as the Bombers received the opening kickoff and scored on their fourth play for scrimmage. IC opened the game with a 15-yard completion to Yule and then Vito hauled in a 21-yard catch to set up a miraculous 27-yard one-handed snag by Gladney to give Ithaca a 6-0 lead just 1:17 into the game.

Cortland was unable to answer and punted six plays later to give the Bombers the ball at their own 38 with 11:06 to play in the first quarter.

After a loss of seven on first down, Nabi hit Vito for a 33-yard connection down to the Cortland 36. Two plays later, Bauer pushed the ball inside the red zone with a 16-yard reception. Back-to-back incompletion set Ithaca up with a 3rd-and-10 at the 17, but Nabi kept the drive alive with a 13-yard rush down to the 4-yard line. The Bombers would add onto its lead two plays later as Nabi and Gladney hooked up again for a 4-yard touchdown to make the score 12-0 midway through the quarter.

Cortland responded with a seven-play, 50-yard drive, which was capped off by a 2-yard run by Zach Tripodi to cut the score in half after the PAT was missed.

Ithaca once again pushed the ball down the field on the ensuing drive after the Cortland touchdown and notched its third score of the opening period just 1:20 later

On the first snap, Nabi connected with Gladney for 15 yards to spot the ball near midfield. After an offside penalty on Cortland, Gladney pulled down a 37-yard completion from Nabi down to the Cortland 18. An incompletion set up second down, but Nabi settled in the pocket and found Yule over the middle for an 18-yard score with 3:25 to go. A Nabi-to-Vito two-point conversion made the score 20-6.

Ithaca quickly got the ball back as junior Pat Minogue intercepted Cortland's Steven Ferreira at the Red Dragon 25-yard line. Ithaca ran out the remaining clock in the quarter as the Bombers moved down to the 12. Nabi racked up 191 passing yards over the opening 15 minutes of action.

On the opening snap of the second period, Nabi hit Vito in the back of the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown to give the Bombers a three-score lead at 27-6.

After trading punts over the next nine-plus minutes and a turnover on downs by Ithaca, the Red Dragons regained possession with 5:30 remaining in the half at their own 14.

A slew of penalties set Cortland back to 2nd-and-31 at its own 5-yard line, but a 16-yard run gave C-State some breathing room on third down. On that snap, Ferreira bought time and found Alex Wasserman for a would-be 79-yard touchdown catch-and-run, but the score was called back on a holding call and Cortland was forced to punt with 2:13 on the clock.

Three straight carries by Brown moved the chains to start the drive for Ithaca. Three plays later on 4th-and-2, Nabi found Bauer for an 8-yard strike to keep the drive alive. Immediately following the new set of downs, Nabi drilled Zazzara over the middle, who hung on to the 17-yard touchdown as two Cortland defenders hit him in mid-air, and send the Bombers into intermission with a 34-6 advantage.

Cortland came out of the break poised to make a comeback and scored twice over the opening 10 minutes of the third quarter to cut the score to 34-20. The Red Dragons took the opening kickoff and marched 70 yards on eight plays for the first score, and then after an interception, punched in another touchdown seven plays later.

Ferreira scored both touchdowns on the ground for Cortland, which came from 13 and nine yards out.

The Bombers answered with their own scoring drive to push the difference back out to 21 points at 41-20, as Bauer capped off the possession with a 10-yard catch.

The big play of the drive came on a 26-yard reception from Vito, which moved the ball down inside the Cortland 15-yard line with just over three minutes to play in the stanza.

Ithaca added its final score of the game with 2:59 left on the 2-yard run by Brown. During the five-minute drive, the Bombers were set up to punt the ball back to Cortland, but a leaping penalty continued the possession. Now at 4th-and-4, Zazzara stretched past the sticks with a 5-yard reception down to the Cortland 21. Four plays later, the Red Dragons were hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which allowed Brown to chew up the final nine yards.

Cortland put together one final drive to cut into the lead, but fumbled on the Ithaca 29, which was scooped up by senior Mike Miller. The Bombers brought their offense back onto the field and secured the 59th Cortaca Jug Game in victory formation.

Senior Kenny Bradley led the defense with eight tackles, while junior Brian Gill and sophomore Brien Pacholec each notched six. Gill also had 1.5 sacks, while Pacholec added one. Junior Aaron Francis contributed five stops on the afternoon.

Ithaca will find out by Monday where its postseason will take place.

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