Bombers in the Bronx

By IC News staff, November 12, 2022
Ithaca College wins 63rd Cortaca Jug 34-17.

Yankee Stadium roared as thousands of Ithaca College and SUNY Cortland fans gathered in the iconic sports venue for the 2022 Cortaca Jug on Saturday, Nov. 12, as the Ithaca Bombers beat the Cortland Red Dragons 34-17. With 40,232 on hand to watch the storied rivalry in person, the Cortaca Jug now holds the top two spots in Division-III history for single-game attendance— the 2019 Cortaca Jug at MefLife Stadium holds the record at 45,161. 

The game was also broadcast by the YES Network, with Bruce Beck ’78 serving as the play-by-play announcer and bringing the game to Bomber fans across the country. 

"This is just a tremendous day for Ithaca College, for our football team, for everybody here, for the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance students who participated in the event…. I can’t think of a better way to script this whole thing," said Susan Bassett, associate vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics. "I mean it’s just amazing. There’s six more minutes to play out this game, and I just think this is a dream come true."

Before the kickoff, “America the Beautiful” was sung by Ithacappella and “The Star-Spangled Banner” by voice performance major and offensive lineman for the Bombers Nick Capodilupo ’24. 

Watch Nick Capodilupo's rendition of ’the national anthem.

Cortaca Giving Challenge

There’s still time to give during the Cortaca Giving Challenge, until midnight on Sunday Nov. 13. As of the game’s third quarter, IC led the Giving Challenge 709 gifts to Cortland’s 688. 

Ithaca College got the pep band back together to support the fan experience. The band sat in the first-base side of the stands during the game, and played upbeat snippets of songs in between plays. 

At halftime, the band performed three full songs on the field: Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love,” Little Nas X’s “Industry Baby” and “Forget You” by CeeLo Green. 

The game itself saw Ithaca’s stingy defense keep Cortland’s potent offense bottled up for much of the afternoon. The Red Dragons average over 50 points per game on the season but were only able to put up 17 on the Bombers. Thanks to a grind-it-out offense coupled with some long scoring passes and runs — including a SportsCenter Top 10 catch from Julien Deumaga, captured by Ithaca College athletics' manager of creative media Peter Raider '23 — IC doubled up on Cortland to take the Jug. 

“It’s really hard to put into words, I’m really proud of these guys,” said Michael Toerper, head coach of Ithaca College Football after the game. “I’m so proud of them and their resilience and their grit, they just keep going forward no matter what's thrown at them. They deserve this, it's got nothing to do with me, it's got everything to do with them.” 

Alumni from near and far came out for the game and celebrated with Ithaca College President La Jerne Terry Cornish. 

During the third quarter there was a tribute to the co-founders of the Cortaca Jug: IC’s Richard “Dick” N. Carmean ’60 and Cortland’s Tom Decker, friends and captains for their respective  football program. This past year the Ithaca College community mourned Carmean as he passed away on May 23 at the age of 89. Prior to the start of the fourth quarter, musical theatre major Shina Mitchell ’25 sang “God Bless America.” 

Pre-game festivities for Ithaca College fans took place at Stan’s Sports Bar, where over 2,000 people came through the door to celebrate a hoped-for victory. 

Back on South Hill, the Student Governance Council (SGC) partnered with Student Activities Board, IC After Dark, and the Residence Hall Association to host a Cortaca Viewing Party in Emerson Suites. There was food, inflatables, and prizes while the game was streamed.  

“A big part of why we wanted to do this is to give an opportunity for the campus community to celebrate Cortaca here,” said Nikki Sutera ’26, senator for SGC. “I couldn’t make it to NYC, but this is a way to celebrate the game here.” 

“Someone in one of my classes was telling me about the viewing party, and I wanted to check it out,” said Lin Chen ’24. “It’s always fun to watch a rivalry game like Cortaca Jug.” 

“I couldn’t go to the Bronx, and I decided this was the next best thing to come here and be with people in a community and support Ithaca college,” said Elizabeth Kharababze ’24. “I love the food, and I love the inflatables. I feel like as an IC student, it’s blasphemous not to experience Cortaca in some way.” 

Photos Contributed by Robert Wagner, Kerry Regan, Claire Marziotti, and Nathalie Molina.