Ithaca Rallies To Open Season With 19-14 Win Over Brockport
The win marked the 31sat time in the past 35 years that Ithaca has opened the season with a win. The Bombers have won 14 consecutive season-opening games.
Sulla's one-yard touchdown run 2:54 into the final period capped a 13-play, 64-yard drive as the Bombers regained the following lead following 14 straight Golden Eagle points. Sulla ran for a game-high 63 yards on 20 carries in his first collegiate start.
Brockport had four possessions following Sulla's go-ahead score and got inside Ithaca territory twice but failed to score.
Derek DeCandla intercepted a Bomber pass and returned it to the Ithaca 40-yard line with 5:34 to go. The Golden Eagles drove to the 27-yard line; after a two-yard rush, Ithaca linebacker Eric Toporoff broke up a pass on second down and linebacker Joe Gilfedder stuffed Brockport quarterback Joe Scibilia for a two-yard gain on third down before Scibilia threw an incomplete pass on fourth down.
The Golden Eagles held Ithaca to three yards on the Bombers' ensuing possession but used their final two timeouts on the drive. Ithaca's AJ Vallone, pressed into punting duty for the first time in his three-year career, pinned Brockport on its 27-yard line with a 47-yard punt.
Scibilia completed five passes for 55 yards but was sacked twice – once by tackle Josh Skowronski and once by end Skyler Schlenker. Wide receiver Jordan Hogan caught a 16-yard pass from Scibilla that put the Golden Eagles on Ithaca's 31 with five seconds left but their final pass fell incomplete.
Vallone averaged 39 yards on six punts; he pinned the Golden Eagles inside their 20-yard line three times, including a 23-yard punt from 27 yards away from the end zone that was downed on the Brockport four.
Toporoff collected five tackles. Cornerback Spence White, who recorded his seventh career interception, and free safety Josh Liemer (who had two first-half interceptions) led the Bombers with six stops.
Ithaca used a pair of second-quarter touchdown passes to take a 13-0 lead. Neumann, who made his first career start, capped a five-play, 48-yard drive with a 30-yard touchdown throw to wideout Dan Ruffrage. Brendan Harper added the extra point.
Ruffrage's scoring reception, which was the 13th of his career (tying him for eighth on the program's all-time list), was set up by an 18-yard completion from Neumann to wide receiver J.J. Crandall on third-and-18. The catch was the first of Crandall's career.
On Ithaca's next drive, Hendel moved the Bombers 59 yards on five plays, with Eric Breton catching a 42-yard touchdown pass. Hendel threw for 59 yards in the game with Neumann completing 16 of 30 passes for 194 yards. He became the eighth straight Bomber quarterback to win his starting debut; since 1978 29 quarterbacks have started a game for Ithaca and 25 of them won their first start.
The Golden Eagles used two big plays in the third quarter to take the lead. Cornerback Maurice Brown picked off a Bomber pass – one of Brockport's three interceptions – and returned it 61 yards for a score 2:06 into the second half.
With 30 seconds left in the period, Scilbilla threw an 81-yard touchdown to Hogan on a third-and-12 play. Hogan was the game's leading receiver, catching six passes for 121 yards. Scibilla completed 22 of 39 passes for 232 yards.
Jim Carlson led the Brockport defense with seven tackles, including five solo stops. Jake Ekross and Phil Tokarz made six tackles apiece.
Joseph Ingrao led Ithaca's receivers with four catches for 66 yards. Breton and Ruffrage made three receptions apiece.
The Bombers open Empire 8 play at Salisbury (1-0) next week. Brockport is idle next week before hosting New Jersey Athletic Conference opponent Rowan (0-1) in two weeks.