ITHACA, N.Y., October 28, 2006 - The 16th-ranked Ithaca Bombers (7-1, 4-1 Empire 8) held the nation’s leading rushing offense 170 yards below its season average in a 24-7 win over the No. 12 Springfield Pride (7-1, 3-1 Empire 8). With the win, Ithaca moves into a four-way tie for first place in the Empire 8; the Bombers, Alfred, Springfield and St. John Fisher each have one league loss.
Senior tailback Jamie Donovan ran for a game-high 120 yards and two touchdowns to lead Ithaca. Donovan capped Ithaca’s first drive with a one-yard run and closed out the scoring with a 17-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
The Bombers took the lead before even running a play; Springfield’s first possession lost three yards on three plays and the Pride’s punt was blocked by Ithaca junior Ray Lake ; junior Brian Seamus Hogan recovered the block and returned it eight yards for a touchdown.
Springfield’s next drive ended in the only Pride touchdown; junior quarterback Chris Sharpe (Derry, N.H.) capped a 13-play, 85-yard drive with a nine-yard touchdown run. Sharpe entered the game as the nation’s leading scorer (21.4 ppg) and leading rusher (228.0 ypg) but was held to 74 yards on 24 carries - 101 yards below his average.
The Bomber defense was led by sophomore cornerback Matt Samela, who recorded a career-best 12 tackles. Senior defensive end Quentin Kiah added a career-best 11 tackles, including two tackles for loss. His second-quarter sack of Sharpe was just the second given up by the Pride this year. Junior linebacker Mike Nowak also collected 11 tackles with two tackles for loss.
Springfield rushed for 241 yards on 69 carries (the Pride had averaged a Division III-best 388.1 yards per game); the team’s only three second-half possessions ate up 20:34, gaining 152 yards on 46 plays but produced no points. The first drive (17 plays, 45 yards, 8:14) ended when Ithaca junior Ryan Terlecki blocked a 35-yard field goal attempt. The second ended with an incomplete pass on fourth and 13 from the Bomber 29-yard line and the final drive ended on a Manning fumble forced by Samela and recovered by Terlecki at the Ithaca seven.
Senior Brett Kitenplon kicked a 21-yard field goal and added three extra points for the Bombers.
Sharpe was Springfield’s leading rusher despite his season-low yardage total. Freshman fullback Bret Manning (Acton, Mass.) added 62 yards on 15 carries. The Pride completed just one pass, misfiring on their last eight attempts.
Senior linebacker Andrew Madigan (New Britain, Conn.) led Springfield’s defense with nine tackles. Sophomore linebacker Tom Caporale (Closter, N.J.) added eight.
Ithaca’s defensive stalwarts also included senior linebacker Tom Blumenauer, senior free safety Charlie Stephens and junior nose tackle Phil Byers; all three recorded 10 tackles (Byers’ total was a career high). Sophomore linebacker Matt Scalice and sophomore cornerback Jason Chier both collected three tackles for loss.
The Bombers play at Alfred (6-2, 3-1 Empire 8) next week; Springfield hosts Hartwick (3-5, 1-3 Empire 8).