February 4, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 20°F


Four Downs: Ithaca vs. Moravian College rapid reaction

Four quick thoughts on the football team’s 24-0 victory at Moravian College this afternoon.

Front Seven Dominance

The Bombers’ front seven imposed themselves today in a way they were not able to do for various reasons last season. Sophomore defensive end Joe Ricotta was impressive in his first career start with four tackles and a sack. The Blue and Gold sacked Moravian quarterback Jimmy Lahue three times in the first half and forced him out of the game at halftime. His backup, freshman Corey Clemons barely lasted a quarter. Last year’s starter, Ryan Davies, finished the game for the Greyhounds.

Pass-Effective Offense

The departures of quarterbacks Dom Scavo and Jason Hendel were enough to give many doubts about the Bombers offense, but the calm strategy of offensive coordinator Ryan Heasley and the confidence of junior starting quarterback Phil Neumann provided a promising start. This offense is not going to wow a lot of people, but it is far better than the hit-or-miss offense of last year. Two of the South Hill squad’s three touchdown drives lasted more than five minutes and Neumann’s third quarter interception served as no more than a minor blemish on a solid day.

Two-Prong Power Runners

Senior running backs Clay Ardoin and Jarrett Naiden had their way against the Moravian defense, each rushing for more than 100 yards. It is the first time since November 2007 that the South Hill squad has had two 100-yard rushers in a game. Naiden hammered the Greyhound defense throughout the first half and early second half, and Ardoin took advantage when Moravian wore down by dominating the third and fourth quarters as he ran for over 200 yards in the second half.

Fear the Newcomer

While the Bombers were cruising to a victory, the newcomers to the Empire 8, Buffalo State, defeated SUNY-Cortland 49-31. Cortland’s defense was porous to say the least, as the Casey Kacz-led Bengals offense gained more than 700 total yards. The junior quarterback set a school record for Buffalo State with 579 passing yards and five touchdowns. The Bengals face the Bombers at Butterfield Stadium on October 13.