Monday, November 18, 2019

Cortaca 2019

When it was first announced nearly a year ago that the 61st annual Cortaca game between Ithaca College and SUNY Cortland was to be played at MetLife Stadium just outside New York City, I was a little skeptical. Sure, it seemed like a unique opportunity to have this game take place somewhere new in the hopes of setting a Division 3 attendance record, but how many students, faculty, and staff would travel from central New York to East Rutherford, New Jersey? Were there enough alumni in the NYC area to justify moving this game 200+ miles?

It was this uniqueness that got me and my friends on board. Living in Northern Virginia, a drive to New York City/New Jersey is much easier than driving to Ithaca or Cortland. So for the first time since 1996, I planned to see an Ithaca College football game. And as the date approached, I got more and more excited about the trip. I took 8 year old The Moose with me and was joined friends that I first met over 25 years ago.

The Moose got to witness his first ever football tailgate as we walked from the parking lot to the stadium entrance. This included seeing a woman vomiting into a bag being held by I assume a really good friend. The best explanation I could come up with when he asked why she was throwing up is that this woman had too many adult beverages and wasn’t being responsible. Fortunately, there were no follow up questions.

MetLife Stadium set up an area where kids (and adults) could pass, kick, catch, and more. Here are a few pictures of The Moose in action.

The Moose needed to be about 9' 10" to catch this pass!

Very cool ceremony to start the game.

The Bombers about to score a touchdown.

The half-time show should have been Ithaca College graduate Tony DeSare or Ithaca College student (but not graduate) Gavin DeGraw, but instead we got several Ithaca College and Cortland groups. While they were good and I enjoyed their performances, a headliner would have been nice. Even David Muir (who it turns out may have been in a class with me) and David Boreanaz doing cartwheels at midfield would have been fine!

Credit to my friend T for taking this picture below. Why no Heinz ketchup? I have a friend who believes that there is an NFL conspiracy between the Mara (owner of the Giants) and Rooney (owner of the Steelers) families since they are related somehow. If they were truly linked, MetLife Stadium would serve Heinz. (By the way, I'm pro-French's mustard, so I didn't get as upset about this as I would have if they offered Hunt's.)

With about five minutes to go in the game, and Cortland cutting the deficit from 26-6 to 26-20, I mentioned to my friends that I was much more invested in the game’s result than I thought I would be. The point of the trip was to hang out with friends and take The Moose to a game I knew he would enjoy. At that point in the fourth quarter, I realized that I wanted (needed?) an Ithaca College victory too!

Ithaca got the ball back, and I'll let Ithaca Athletics explain:

Cortland would answer after the missed field goal and found the end zone just 1:32 later to pull the Red Dragons to within a score at 26-20 with 6:53 to go. On the 7-play, 80-yard drive, Ithaca was flagged for three separate 15-yard penalties, which allowed the Red Dragons to move down to the Ithaca 27-yard line. Segala then hit Burgess for a 24-yard gain and Tripodi capped off the drive with a 3-yard run.

Sean's note: I don't want to get into the penalty calls.

Now in a fight with 6:49 left in the game after the kickoff, Ithaca needed another sustained drive, which is exactly what the Bombers did. Garcia began the drive with a 2-yard run and then Germinerio notched five straight carries for 27 yards. After two more runs by Garcia and Germinerio, Cortland burned two timeouts with 3:14 to go and Ithaca faced a third-and-six at the Red Dragon 46-yard line.

Out of the timeout, Ithaca pulled out a play for the ages with a pair of fake handoffs to stretch the Cortland defense and Germinerio threw a perfect pass to a wide open Vito for a 46-yard touchdown with 3:06 left to give the Bombers a 32-20 lead after an unsuccessful two-point conversion.

D3 Football used less words.

The Red Dragons scored on another Tripodi run with 6:53 left in the game to make it 26-20.

But Germinerio, who had picked up a bunch of yards running the ball, found Andrew Vito streaking behind the defense on a bit of razzle-dazzle, and Vito ran the rest of the 46 yards to the end zone to seal the game with 3:06 left.

And here's the play:

The ball was in the air for what seemed to be about 8 minutes! Ithaca's wide receiver was so open, you just hoped he wouldn't drop it. Great way to basically end the game.

And there was great celebration throughout the land!

Several people in my section started a “State School” chant a few times during the game. This is apparently a chant to try to denigrate the education students receive at Cortland compared to at Ithaca. I’ve always hated this chant. First, Cortland students are continuing their education after high school to become more educated and to increase their employment prospects. This is a good thing. As a country, I think we can agree that we want people to continue in education whether this is at a “traditional” school or in vocational programs. A better educated society is a better society. We also generally want more government funding to go to education. That’s (at least historically) one of the hallmarks of public education. Basically, what I’m writing is that the state school chant is garbage and needs to go. Rant over.

In case you're wondering, the Cortaca game did set the Division 3 attendance record.

Cody Holyoke, news anchor at KMBC in Kansas City, also highlighted the game on his newscast.

Definitely a fun weekend. Go Bombers!

Thanks to T, Sista K, and T-Rike for many of these pictures.

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