ITHACA, N.Y. -- The Ithaca College football team (2-0) remained unbeaten, rallying to beat winless Union (0-3) 27-24 in overtime Saturday at Butterfield Stadium. Junior quarterback Phil Neumann threw two touchdown passes in the final three minutes and added a third for the game-winning score in overtime.
The Bombers trailed 21-7 with 2:49 left in regulation before Neumann threw a pair of touchdown passes 70 seconds apart as Ithaca forced overtime. In the extra session he connected on a four-yard pass to senior wide receiver Joseph Ingrao to win the game after the Bomber defense held the Dutchmen to a field goal on their possession.
Union gained two first downs on its overtime possession (the Bombers won the toss and elected to play defense) to advance to the Ithaca five-yard line before Bomber defense took over. After sophomore quarterback Connor Eck got to the Ithaca one-yard line on first down (junior linebacker Jake Santora kept him out of the end zone), the Dutchmen fumbled the snap on second down and junior linebacker Brian Hardenberg brought Eck down for a two-yard loss. Hardenberg burst through the line on third down for a 10-yard sack – the first of his career – to force Union to settle for a field goal.
Hardenberg, who made his first career start, set a Bomber single-game record with six tackles for loss among his 12 total stops.
Ingrao's game-winning touchdown came two plays after the Dutchmen were called for pass interference on a third-down play from the 20-yard line. Senior Clay Ardoin took the ball from the 10-yard line to the four, setting up Neumann's career-best third touchdown pass. Ingrao caught the ball in the back corner of the end zone to set off a celebration by the Bombers and keep Union winless on the season and all-time at Butterfield Stadium (both 0-3).
Ithaca's late rally started with 6:23 left in regulation after the Dutchmen drove 99 yards for a touchdown and extra point that gave them a 14-point lead. Sophomore running back Darnell Thomas capped the 18-play, 9:01 possession with a two-yard touchdown run; the drive started when Union held the Bombers scoreless following a first-and-goal from the Union four (the Dutchmen also stopped Ithaca four times on a first-and-goal from the seven) and featured four third-down conversions and a 16-yard pass on fourth-and-15.
Neumann responded by driving the Bombers 71 yards in 3:34. He completed seven of eight passes on the nine-play drive, including a four-yard touchdown throw to senior fullback Michael Moon. The touchdown was the first of Moon's career.
The Bomber defense forced a three-and-out from Union with senior free safety Josh Liemer recording tackles on first and second down and sophomore end Joe Ricotta stopping junior running back T.J. Franzese a yard short of the marker on third and three. Union's punt attempt failed disastrously as the snap went over punter Daniel Estien's head and 20 yards behind him; he fell on the ball at his own four-yard line with 1:45 to go. On Ithaca's first play, Neumann found junior tight end Steve DelMoro in the end zone for a touchdown and sophomore Garrett Nicholson kicked his third extra point of the day to tie the score.
Ithaca's comeback matched the program's biggest ever; in the seven previous games the Bombers had trailed by 14 points and come back to win, they'd never faced a 14-point deficit at any point in the fourth quarter.
Eck, who threw for 177 yards, opened the scoring with a 20-yard touchdown to senior tight end Eric Zavadsky early in the second quarter. Late in the period, Franzese burst through the line on a fourth-and-one play for a 35-yard score. He led all rushers with 82 yards.
The Bomber defense contributed the team's first points; senior strong safety Tom Scanlon scooped up a fumble forced by senior linebacker Will Carter and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown. The play was the longest fumble recovery ever by a Bomber.
Carter led Ithaca with a career-best 13 tackles. Liemer and senior linebacker Zach Matuszak added nine tackles apiece; Matuszak made five tackles for loss and Liemer was in on two. Santora and junior defensive tackle Dan Sheldon both had a pair of stops behind the line of scrimmage.
Neumann completed 20 of 35 passes for 190 yards. Ingrao caught seven passes (one short of his career high) for the second game in a row. DelMoro matched his career best with five receptions and senior wideout JJ Crandall had four catches. Ardoin ran for 73 yards.
For Union, senior linebacker Noah Joseph had 10 solo tackles among his team-best 11 stops. Senior cornerback Gafar Johnson recorded seven tackles and three pass break-ups. Senior linebacker Jeff DeVico made six tackles and recovered a Bomber fumble to set up Eck's touchdown pass.
The Bombers are now 6-4 all-time in overtime and snapped a four-game losing streak in overtime games. Ithaca's first overtime game ever was also against Union; the Bombers topped the host Dutchmen 24-17 in the opening round of the 1986 NCAA playoffs.
Ithaca opens Empire 8 play next week with a Saturday game at Frostburg State. The Dutchmen travel to St. Lawrence for their Liberty League opener.
Box Score (Final)
Union vs. Ithaca (09/15/2012 at Ithaca, N.Y.)
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 OT Score
----------------- -- -- -- -- -- -----
Union............... 0 14 0 7 3 - 24
Ithaca.............. 0 7 0 14 6 - 27
2nd 13:35 UN - Eric Zavadsky 20 yd pass from Connor Eck (Tosin Kazeem kick), 3-26 0:30, UN 7 - IC 0
10:00 IC - Tom SCANLON 56 yd fumble recovery (Garrett NICHOLSON kick), , UN 7 - IC 7
01:00 UN - T.J. Franzese 35 yd run (Tosin Kazeem kick), 7-62 1:10, UN 14 - IC 7
4th 06:30 UN - Darnell Thomas 2 yd run (Tosin Kazeem kick), 18-99 9:01, UN 21 - IC 7
02:49 IC - Michael MOON 6 yd pass from Phil NEUMANN (Garrett NICHOLSON kick), 9-71 3:34, UN 21 - IC 14
01:39 IC - Steve DelMORO 4 yd pass from Phil NEUMANN (Garrett NICHOLSON kick), 1-4 0:06, UN 21 - IC 21
OT 00:00 UN - Tosin Kazeem 30 yd field goal, 9-13 0:00, UN 24 - IC 21
00:00 IC - Joseph INGRAO 4 yd pass from Phil NEUMANN, 5-25 0:00, UN 24 - IC 27
FIRST DOWNS................... 16 18
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 52-83 32-110
PASSING YDS (NET)............. 177 190
Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 20-12-0 35-20-0
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 72-260 67-300
Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 1-56
Punt Returns-Yards............ 1-12 2-6
Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 3-43 4-96
Interception Returns-Yards.... 0-0 0-0
Punts (Number-Avg)............ 6-40.3 4-38.8
Fumbles-Lost.................. 4-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards............... 5-26 3-30
Possession Time............... 32:56 27:04
Third-Down Conversions........ 7 of 18 5 of 13
Fourth-Down Conversions....... 2 of 3 1 of 4
Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 2-2 2-5
Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 0-0 5-45
RUSHING: Union-T.J. Franzese 26-82; Darnell Thomas 6-18; Connor Eck 17-9; Tim Hersey 2-4; TEAM 1-minus 30.
Ithaca-Clay ARDOIN 15-73; Jarrett NAIDEN 16-36; TEAM 1-1.
PASSING: Union-Connor Eck 12-20-0-177. Ithaca-Phil NEUMANN 20-35-0-190.
RECEIVING: Union-Darnell Thomas 2-39; Eric Zavadsky 2-32; Ben McQuaide 2-22; Tosin Kazeem 1-36; Kenny Schunck 1-17;
Brian Havlicek 1-13; Kyle Reynolds 1-7; Tim Hersey 1-7; T.J. Franzese 1-4.
Ithaca-Joseph INGRAO 7-85; Steve DelMORO 5-42; JJ CRANDALL 4-34; Jared PRUGAR 2-18; Michael MOON 1-6;
Jarrett NAIDEN 1-5.
INTERCEPTIONS: Union-None. Ithaca-None.
FUMBLES: Union-Darnell Thomas 1-1; TEAM 1-0; Connor Eck 1-0; T.J. Franzese 1-0.
Ithaca-Clay ARDOIN 1-1.
SACKS (UA-A): Union-None. Ithaca-Jake SANTORA 1-0; Zach MATUSZAK 0-1; Brian HARDENBERG 1-0; Skyler SCHLENKER 1-0;
Dan SHELDON 0-1; Josh LIEMER 0-1; Skylar GRIFFENBERG 0-1.
TACKLES (UA-A): Union-Noah Joseph 10-1; Gafar Johnson 6-1; Jeff DeVico 2-4; Adrian Nowak 4-1; Con. Beerworth 3-1;
Brian Daley 2-2; Kevin Calello 2-2; Bill Meile 3-0; Julian Gendels 0-3; Cam Johnson 2-0; Casey Muse 0-2;
Brian Havlicek 1-0; Chris Green 1-0; Tyler Murphy 1-0; Brian Riegle 1-0; J. Fairbrothers 1-0; Pat Sullivan 1-0;
Kenny Schunck 1-0; Kevin Heaney 0-1.
Ithaca-Will CARTER 8-5; Brian HARDENBERG 6-6; Josh LIEMER 5-4; Zach MATUSZAK 1-8; Jake SANTORA 2-4; Joe
RICOTTA 3-1; Dan SHELDON 2-2; Tom SCANLON 3-0; Chris WILLIAMS 1-2; Sam CARNEY 0-3; Skyler SCHLENKER 2-0; Brian
GARVEY 1-1; Matt COSTELLO 0-2; Josh DUGGAN 0-2; Ben SMITH 0-2; Skylar GRIFFENBERG 0-2; Joe ARMELI 1-0;
Johnny GORTON-PARKER 1-0; Mike VULCANO 0-1.