Springfield, Mass. -- October 15, 2011 -- Senior quarterback Josh Carter, the nation's leading Division III scorer, ran for touchdowns of 47, 19, and 56 yards in leading the Springfield College football team to a thrilling 38-33 Empire 8 victory over Ithaca College this afternoon on Homecoming Day at Amos Alonzo Stagg Field.
The win ups the Pride's record to 4-2 overall, 2-2 in the league. Ithaca falls to 3-3 overall, 1-3 in the Empire 8. It is also the 175th career victory for head coach Mike DeLong, now in his 30th year overall as a head coach (including two at Maine Maritime).
Springfield had the lead more often than not in this contest, but was never fully in control.
The Pride had leads of 12-7 after one quarter, and 25-24 at the half.
But after three quarters, it was 27-25, Ithaca.
In the last quarter, however, SC scored 13 straight points in a matter of two minutes and 31 seconds to take a 38-27 lead with 9:32 remaining in the game. Carter hooked up with junior wide receiver Phil Baier (Braintree, Mass.) on a 38-yard TD pass with 12:59 left, culminating a seven-play, 75-yard march.
Ithaca then took advantage of another good Dan Ruffrage kick-off return, and was set up with a first-and-10 at the SC 25. But that was followed by an interception by SC senior co-captain and strong safety Matt Ramos (Milford, Conn.).
And then three plays later, on a third-and-one at the Springfield 44, Carter sprung loose for a 56-yard score, giving SC a 38-27 lead with 9:32 remaining.
The game was still far from over, however. Ithaca back-up QB Pat Griffn marched his team 62 yards in eight plays, and with 5:12 left ran one in from four yards out to cut the score to 38-33.
Springfield got the ball back, and was looking to run out the clock. But an SC fumble, recovered by junior FS Josh Liemer (Chappaqua, N.Y.), gave the ball back to Ithaca with 2:47 left. The game ended when Ithaca's third-string sophomore QB, Phil Neumann (Burnt Hills, N.Y.), was unsuccessful on a fourth-and-five pass play at the Springfield 14-yard line. SC then took a knee to claim the win.
A native of Marlborough, Mass., Carter had a magnificent day, rushing for a career-high 224 yards and three TDs on 15 carries. He had a long of 61 yards, that coming in the fourth quarter. He also completed five passes in 11 attempts for 97 yards and one TD. He made it through without being sacked.
Senior HB and co-captain Mark Safer (St. Johns, Fla.) had 90 yards rushing and one TD, a 29-yarder in the first quarter to start off the scoring. Sophomore FB Brodie Quinn (Pittsfield, Mass.) rushed for 72 more yards on 19 carries.
Baier was SC's leading receiver with three receptions for 80 yards and one TD. Junior WR Brian Staub (Brick, N.J.) had two receptions for 17 yards.
For the Bombers, junior RB Sal Sulla (Stony Point, N.Y.) led with 68 yards and one TD rushing in 12 carries. Junior RB Jarrett Naiden (Easton, Pa.) had 36 yards in nine rushes.
Ithaca needed the services of three QB's during the day. Junior Pat Griffin (Clarks Summit, Pa.), who played most of the second half, passed for 82 yards on 8-of-12 attempts. He was intercepted once. Junior Jason Hendel (Riverwoods, Ill.), who started the contest, was 6-for-10 for 98 yards and one TD. He was intercepted once. And sophomore Phil Neumann, who came on at the very end, was 4-for-8 for 36 yards.
Sophomore TE Steve DelMoro (Peekskill, N.Y.) led Ithaca with five catches and 31 yards. Junior WR Joseph Ingrao (Nesconset, N.Y.) had four catches for 91 yards and one TD. And Ruffrage, a senior from Whitesboro, N.Y., had four catches for 55 yards.
Ruffrage was the Bombers' star of the day. Entering the game as the nation's third-leading returner in kickoffs, Ruffrage returned four of those for 137 yards, with a long of 61. Ruffrage also returned a punt for 91 yards and a TD.
The leading tacker on the day was produced by Ithaca senior LB Joe Gilfedder (Berkeley Heights, N.J.) with 10, including nine solos. IC senior DE Chris Collier (Richmond, Vt.) had nine tackles, including seven solos.
For SC, senior free safety James Kikel (Glendale, N.Y.) and senior cornerback Will Turner (Milford, Conn.) each had nine tackles. Kikel's were all unassisted. Kikel also had one interception for 51 yards. Sophomore LB Cory Kaiser (River Vale, N.Y.) was credited with seven tackles, including three sacks.
Next Saturday, Springfield will host St. John Fisher in Empire 8 play at 2 pm.