Ithaca stifles Hobart with 10-3 comeback victory

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GENEVA, N.Y. – The Ithaca College football team faced less than favorable conditions for the third straight week at Hobart College on Saturday, and for the third consecutive week, the Bombers came out on top as they defeated the Statesmen, 10-3, in a Liberty League matchup. Ithaca is now 7-2 on the season and 4-1 in the Liberty League, while Hobart falls to 4-4 overall and 2-2 in league play.

On Saturday, both teams had to deal with a stiff breeze all afternoon and sporadic rain showers throughout the first half. Along with temperatures in the low 40s, those conditions made it tough for both teams to move the ball all game.

Ithaca received the opening kickoff but went three-and-out as the offense battled the headwind. Hobart took over at midfield and quickly moved into the red zone on rushes of 15 and 7 yards, and an 11-yard pass. The drive bogged down there, and the Statesmen settled for a 28-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 9:32 left in the opening quarter.

From there, both teams punted for the remainder of the half, as neither squad could sustain a drive long enough to move into scoring range.

Ithaca and Hobart combined for 12 punts in the first half. The Statesmen owned a slim edge in yardage, 113-96, including 73 on the ground. The Bombers threw for 65 yards and rushed for 31 in the opening 30 minutes.

The second half started much like the first, as three punts started things off.

Ithaca took over with 5:41 left in the third quarter at its own 33-yard line. IC then marched 67 yards on eight plays, which culminated with a 12-yard touchdown run by junior Kendall Anderson to give the Bombers a 7-3 lead with 2:43 on the clock.

During the drive, Anderson quickly gave the Bombers momentum with 10- and 18-yard runs to move into Hobart territory. After an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Hobart, the ball moved up to the Statesmen 22-yard line. The Bombers then put themselves behind the sticks with a holding penalty, but sophomore Wahid Nabi found junior James Jarvis for a 15-yard gain to set up third-and-two. Now at fourth-and-one, Nabi continued the drive with a sneak, and on the next play, Anderson broke out around the right side for the 12-yard score.

Hobart answered with a long drive of its own, which was highlighted by a 51-yard pass from John DelliSanti to Jake Catalioto down to the Ithaca 13-yard line. After an incompletion, junior John Hadac came up with a huge sack-fumble, which was recovered by senior RJ D'Amico and returned 14 yards to end the third quarter.

The Bombers used that sudden change momentum into the fourth quarter and tacked on a 19-yard field goal from freshman Brian Fallon with 10:56 left in the game.

Anderson started off the drive with a pair of carries for five yards, and then Nabi created time for himself on third down and found sophomore Andrew Vito for 34 yards down to the Hobart 26-yard line. An incompletion set up second down and then junior Nick Cervone broke off a 23-yard run to give IC a goal-to-go situation. IC was unable to punch in a touchdown but settled for three on the Fallon field goal.

From there, the Ithaca defense suffocated Hobart and capped things off with an interception by senior Pat Minogue with just over three minutes left in regulation.

The Bombers ended the game in victory formation after a seven-yard carry by Anderson, who finished the game with 120 yards rushing on 26 carries and a touchdown.

Nabi completed 15-of-25 passes for 118 yards, while junior Will Gladney recorded seven receptions for 44 yards. In the first quarter, Gladney broke Ithaca's career receptions record, surpassing Dan Ruffrage '12, who caught 151 passes in his career.

Vito led the receiving corps with 53 yards on five catches.

The defense once again lived up to the billing, as the unit held Hobart to 33 points and 146 yards below its season averages of 36.3 points and 377.5 yards.

Minogue recorded eight tackles on the day, while junior Nick Garone added six tackles, including two for loss. Hadac finished the contest with six tackles, a sack and two forced fumbles. Seniors Jovonte Long and Tyler Kishbaugh each logged five tackles in the win. Senior Brian Gill added four stops, a half-sack and forced fumble. 

Ithaca outgained Hobart, 257-231, on the day and picked up 18 first downs to 12 for the Statesmen. Hobart quarterback Ryan Hofmann entered the day averaging 266 yards through the air, but the Bomber defense held him to just 100 yards passing on 13-of-25 attempts.

IC concludes its regular season next Saturday at the 60th Cortaca Jug Game in Cortland for a 12 p.m. kickoff.

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