Quarterback A.J. Wingfield posted one of his best performances of the season to lead Ithaca to finish the regular season undefeated and bring home the Cortaca Jug with a 34-17 win over Cortland at Yankee Stadium.
Wingfield, a senior, completed 18 of 20 pass attempts for 209 yards and 3 TDs. He also added 28 yards on the ground.
Wingfield was supported on offense by versatile running back Jake Williams, who had 132 total scrimmage yards and 2 TDs. Wingfield targeted him and wide receiver Michael Anderson the most.
Despite his impressive mobility, Cortland quarterback Zac Boyes, a sophomore, struggled with a completion percentage under 50 and a 1 to 2 TD to interception ratio. Cortland was also nailed by penalties, losing a total of 65 yards on 6 penalties.
The closest the Red Dragons came to victory was within 3 points of Ithaca. With Ithaca leading 20-7 early in the third quarter, Cortland running back Jaden Alfanostjohn ran in for a TD. Cortland followed this up with a strip sack of Wingfield, giving them the chance to take the lead. However, Ithaca’s defense held them to a field goal.
Ithaca regained momentum after this, with Wingfield throwing it deep to wide receiver Julien Deumaga for a 40 yard TD to make it 27-17. When Cortland got the ball back, Boyes underthrew his receiver and was picked off. This allowed Williams to break off for a 43 yard TD of his own and truly secure the lead for Ithaca.
The Red Dragons had several missed opportunities throughout the game. They had the chance to cut Ithaca’s first half lead to 3 points, but standout defender Matt DeSimpliciis picked off Boyes in the end zone just before halftime. When they kicked it off to Ithaca to begin the second half, they let Michael Anderson run 87 yards on the return, setting up an easy scoring opportunity for the Bombers.
While Cortland had put up bigger numbers than Ithaca and gone 9-0 leading up to this game, Ithaca may have given them a reality check. Wingfield’s experience showed as he looked more comfortable than Boyes in front of the Yankee Stadium crowd.
The bracket is not finalized, but both teams have locked up playoff berths by winning their conferences. After this game, Ithaca will likely end up with the higher seed.