Ithaca Scores 21 Second Half Points to Down Alfred, 21-13

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ALFRED, N.Y. – The Ithaca College football team trailed Alfred University, 13-0, at halftime at Yunevich Stadium on Saturday afternoon, but the defense held Alfred scoreless over the final 39:05 and the offense scored 21 points in the second half points to cap off the comeback victory, 21-13.

The victory over Alfred, which was the 59th all-time meeting, improves Ithaca's record over the Saxons to 39-18-2.

Ithaca received the opening kickoff of the game, but went three-and-out. On the ensuing punt, senior Pat Minogue flipped field position with a 56-yard punt down to the Alfred 12-yard line.

Alfred quickly took a 6-0 lead on its second play from scrimmage as Ben Burk found Robert Smith for an 83-yard touchdown with 12:48 left in the quarter. The point-after was blocked to account for the 6-0 score.

The Bombers once again went three-and-out after the score, but regained possession on the Saxons' first snap on a fumble, which was recovered by senior Tyler Kishbaugh at the Alfred 40. Ithaca used that momentum to drive all the way down to the Alfred 6-yard line, but stalled on a fourth-and-goal. IC moved into scoring position behind a 16-yard completion from sophomore Wahid Nabi to junior Kendall Anderson. Anderson then rushed for 12 yards and caught another pass for eight yards to spot the ball at the six before the drive stalled.

Ithaca had another opportunity to take over deep in Alfred territory, as the snap on a punt attempt sailed over the punter's head, but Burk was able to chase it down and get away a 13-yard punt to place IC at the its own 35.

The Bombers gave the ball right back on an interception, which was returned 34 yards down inside the Ithaca red zone to conclude the first quarter.

Alfred found the end zone on back-to-back plays, but both were called back on penalties. Two snaps later, junior John Hadac intercepted a screen pass at the 20-yard line and rumbled 53 yard to the Alfred 27 with 13:51 on the clock.

IC was unable to capitalize and had to punt.

The Saxons also struggled to move the ball after the change of possession, but had a bounce of good fortune on their punt. As the ball was rolling down the field, it hit a Ithaca specialist and Alfred fell on the ball at the IC 21.

Three plays later, Burk connected with Smith for a 19-yard strike to build Alfred's lead to 13-0 with 6:46 to go in the half.

Ithaca once again could not move the ball down the field and had to punt, but Minogue came up clutch again for IC, as he drilled a 65-yard punt down to the Alfred 10. The 65-yard boot tied the school record set by Brian Bicher in 2001 and Nick Aiello in 2003.

The Bomber defense once again fed off the energy of the field possession change and intercepted Burk on the third place from scrimmage. Burk's pass was tipped by Minogue and picked off by senior Aaron Francis at the Alfred 24.

IC gave the ball right back on the first snap as senior Peter Palczewski's pass was intercepted in the end zone.

As the half wound down, Ithaca had a change to put points on the board with under a minute to play with a field goal attempt of 27 yards.  The snap was bobbled and freshman Brian Fallon was unable to get enough on the kick to send it through the uprights and the Bombers went into intermission trailing, 13-0.

It was an entirely different Bombers offense out of the break, as the group marched 85 yards on 14 plays on their first possession to cut Alfred's lead to 13-7.

Junior Isaiah D'Haiti started things off with 16 yards rushing on three carries and then Nabi hit Vito for 12 yards. After a pair of 6-yard runs by D'Haiti and junior Nick Cervone, Alfred was flagged for 15 yards to push the ball down to the 20-yard line.

A penalty on Ithaca two plays later brought the ball back to the 27, but Nabi connected with freshman Jacob Cooney for 11 yards on fourth-and-nine to continue the drive. The next snap, D'Haiti marched in from eight yards out to put Ithaca on the board with 8:30 left in the third quarter.

The former Empire 8 Conference rivals punted for the remainder of the third quarter, but Alfred gave Ithaca terrific field position with a four-yard punt to end the quarter, which spotted the Bombers with their next possession at the Saxon 32-yard line.

After moving to the other end of the field, Ithaca took a 14-13 lead on a 10-yard pass from Nabi to Vito on the seventh play of the drive with 11:54 remaining in the game.

On Ithaca's next possession, the Bombers chewed up 6:33 of clock and went 64 yards on 12 plays, but turned the ball over on downs at the Alfred two-yard line. Nabi completed five passes on the drive for 52 yards, including a 22-yard completion to Cooney.

Pinned deep in their own end, the Saxons moved out to the 20 before penalties and a sack by senior Brien Pacheloc and sophomore Antonio Valle brought the ball back to the six-yard line. Alfred had to go for it on fourth-and-18 and threw an incomplete pass.

Ithaca tacked on another touchdown with the short field on a one-yard run by D'Haiti for an insurance touchdown with 1:09 left in the game.

Ithaca outgained Alfred, 323-259, in the contest and picked up 20 first downs. IC also went 8-for-17 on third down conversions.

Nabi threw for 182 yards on 20-of-28 passing, while D'Haiti rushed for 86 yards on 23 carries and a pair of scores. Vito hauled in eight passes for 74 yards and a score to highlight the offense.

Defensively, Minogue led the way with 11 tackles, two pass break-ups and a sack. Senior Ryan Bronson added seven tackles, while junior Nick Garone had six.

Ithaca is on the road again next weekend as the Bomber travel to St. John Fisher College for a 2 p.m. kickoff at Growney Stadium in Pittsford, N.Y.

Dec. 14: All times Eastern
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 24, Mount Union 16
@ Woodforest Bank Stadium; Shenandoah, Texas
Recap Photos Box Score
Dec. 14: All times Eastern
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 24, Mount Union 16
@ Woodforest Bank Stadium; Shenandoah, Texas
Recap Photos Box Score