ITHACA, N.Y. – The Liberty League will crown a regular season champion on Saturday afternoon at Butterfield Stadium as the No. 8/7 Ithaca College football team hosts No. 25/24 Union at 1 p.m. in a battle of unbeatens, as both teams are 7-0 on the season and 4-0 in league play. The winner of Saturday's contest will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. Ithaca will also honor its senior class during halftime.
WATCH (ICTV) | LISTEN (WICB) | LIVE STATS | GAME NOTES
ITHACA | UNION | LIBERTY LEAGUE
ALL-TIME SERIES: Ithaca and Union have met 15 times (12-3 Ithaca) over the course of the two teams' history, which dates back to 1985. The Bombers have won the previous nine, dating back to the 2010 season. Ithaca has outscored Union 226-116 in the past nine matchups. In their most recent meeting in 2018, the Bombers shutout the Dutchmen, 24-0. Union last defeated Ithaca, 24-21, in 2009.
LAST TIME OUT: The Bombers cruised to yet another victory as they blanked the University of Rochester, 59-0, on October 26. Ithaca has now shutout its opponents in two straight games for the first time since 1984. Ithaca had 557 yards of total offense while limiting the Yellowjackets to only 207 yards.
Ithaca led, 35-0 at halftime as Andrew Vito, Will Gladney, Michael Anderson and Jacob Cooney each hauled in touchdown receptions from Joe Germinerio. David Nieto notched two interceptions in the half, including a 17-yard pick-six. Germinerio tossed another touchdown in the second half, while Wahid Nabi and Dominick Pfisterer scored on rushing touchdowns. Nicholas Bahamonde booted a 30-yard field goal to account for the other offensive score for IC.
LIBERTY LEAGUE HONORS: On Monday Afternoon, the Liberty League announced its weekly honors as Nieto was crowned as Defensive Performer of the Week. Meanwhile, Bahamonde earned his fifth Rookie of the Week award as he converted all eight extra points and made a 30-yard field goal. Bahamonde also recorded six touchbacks in 10 kickoffs.
Germinerio made the weekly honor roll as he threw for 332 yards and five touchdowns in the Bombers 59-0 shutout win over Rochester.
139 MINUTES: The Bombers defense is red hot as they have shutout their previous two opponents (Hobart 34-0, University of Rochester 59-0). It has been 139 minutes since the Bombers have given up a point, which occurred with four minutes left in the third quarter against Buffalo State on October 12. During this time, the Bombers defense has forced five turnovers, including one defensive touchdown, two fumbles, three sacks and held their opponents to 1-for-5 on fourth down conversions.
NATIONAL RANKINGS: With the 59-0 shutout win over the Rochester last week, Ithaca held steady at No. 8 in the D3football.com Top 25 Poll and seventh in the AFCA poll.
NCAA STATISTICAL RANKINGS: The Bombers are ranked throughout several categories in the NCAA. As a team, Ithaca is ranked third in third down conversion percentage (54.7%), fifth in passing and first down offense, seventh in completion percentage (69.5%), eighth in scoring offense, 12th in kickoff returns, 14th in fourth down conversions (66.7%), 17th in total offense (472.1 yards per game) and 19th in red zone offense (88.4%). On the defensive side of the ball, the Bombers are ranked 12th in passes intercepted and 18th in turnover margin. IC's punt return defense ranks 21st nationally at just 2.25 yards per return.
Offensively, Germinerio is ranked in several categories including: second in completion percentage (72%), fourth in passing touchdowns and points responsible for, sixth in total offense, and 12th in passing yards. Vito is ranked eighth in receptions per game, while Gladney is ranked fifth in receiving touchdowns and 27th in receiving yards per game.
On special teams, Bahamonde is ranked first in field goal percentage and fourth in field goals per game. Kyle Smith is ranked sixth in punt return touchdowns and 15th in blocked kicks.
SENIOR CLASS: At halftime, Ithaca will honor the parents of the 23 seniors on the Ithaca Bombers football team. This group of seniors have a combined to win 28 games and claimed two co-championships in the Liberty League. IC has also defeated Cortland each of the past two seasons and won an ECAC Bowl Game in 2017.
STAKES OF THE GAME: It's plain and simple, the winner of Saturday's game will secure the Liberty League's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. Ithaca has not reached the NCAA Tournament since 2014, while Union has not made an appearance since 2006.
SCOUTING UNION: Union is ranked No. 25 by D3football.com and 24th by the AFCA. Union is also undefeated on the season with a 7-0 record. The Dutchmen average 37 points per game, while their defense only allows 12.6 points per outing. Furthermore, the Union offense averages 414.6 yards per game while their defense only allows 253.1. Union leads the Liberty League defensively in points allowed, yards allowed, passing defense, sacks, opponent first downs and opponent third down conversion. The Dutchmen offense is tops in rushing and passing efficiency.
Ike Irabor is the leading rusher in the league, as he averages 122.7 yards per game, which is 15th in DIII. William Bellamy is a tremendous quarterback for the Dutchmen, as he has thrown 15 touchdowns to just two interceptions, to go along with a 67.6% completion percentage. Andre Ross Jr. is Union's big play threat on the outside, as he averages 25.3 yards per catch (19 receptions, 455 yards and seven touchdowns).
Defensively, nine different players have logged more than 2.0 tackles for loss. Out of those nine, seven have at least one sack. Leading the way is Vincenzo DiCaterino with 11.5 tackles for loss, while Daniel Gioioso has 5.0 sacks.
UP NEXT: The Bombers will travel to Troy, N.Y. to take on RPI for the Liberty League finale next Saturday, November 9, at 12 p.m.