October 4, 2010
Dragon ‘D’ Lion tamers
Unbeaten Cortland rolls 37-0
EWING, N.J. — SUNY Cortland’s menacing defense continues to stifle football opponents.
The College of New Jersey became the second consecutive shutout victim of the Red Dragons Saturday afternoon, unbeaten Cortland holding its host a mere 91 yards of total offense and a handful of first downs while cruising to a 37-0 victory.
The offense did its part, too, for this Red Dragon squad sitting atop the New Jersey Athletic Conference standings with a perfect 4-0 record.
Quarterback Dan Pitcher threw for a career-high four touchdown passes, senior wide receiver Anthony Giuliano tied a school record with three TD grabs and sophomore running back Justin Autera scored twice in the opening quarter — his ninth and 10th end zone visits already this season.
Despite Cortland’s 465 yards of offense, the defense stole the spotlight before a throng of 4,500 disappointed homecoming fans at Lions Stadium. The Red Dragons have back-to-back blankings for the first time since the 1989 squad kept four straight foes off the scoreboard during a six-shutout campaign.
The College of New Jersey (1-3 NJAC, 1-4 overall) paid only two visits into Cortland territory, turned the ball over twice and punted the football away eight times.
The Lions reached the Cortland 45-yard line briefly in the second quarter, then on their next possession had their best scoring chance with a 1st-and-10 at the Red Dragon 18-yard line. However, a false start penalty and a sack by linebacker James Lenhart led to a missed 37-yard field goal for the hosts.
Senior defensive tackle Lou Crispo had eight tackles to lead Cortland, while junior defensive end Connor Tompkins had six solo stops among his seven tackles. Two of Tompkins’ tackles resulted for losses of a combined 10 yards, while Crispo made one tackle for lost yardage.
Junior linebacker Tom Lewis intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter, too, for the victors.
Autera, who finished with 93 yards rushing on just 13 carries, broke free on a 27-yard touchdown jaunt midway through the first quarter to get the scoring underway for the Red Dragons. He followed that up with a 14-yard TD catch on Cortland’s next possession after the Red Dragons recovered a fumble at the TCNJ 15-yard line.
The Pitcher-to-Giuliano combination took care of the rest of the touchdown scoring.
Pitcher’s 18-yard TD pass to Giuliano on the second play of the second quarter extended the Cortland lead to 20-0. After a Lions interception on their own 1-yard line thwarted a Cortland scoring chance, the defense got the ball back and Giuliano latched onto his second TD grab from 10 yards out with just six seconds left in the half. That gave Cortland a 27-0 lead at the break.
Junior Marc Corrado made a 26-yard field goal with 9:49 left in the third quarter, and the Red Dragons closed the scoring on a 56-yard connection between Pitcher and Giuliano with 6:02 remaining in the third.
Pitcher completed 13-of-21 passes for 224 yards and Giuliano caught four passes for a career-high 139 yards.
TCNJ’s top rusher was quarterback Nicholas Tyson with just 15 yards on five carries. James Donaghue, the other QB in Coach Eric Hamilton’s alternating scheme, threw for a team high 30 yards on 4-of-9 completions.
Cortland, which has played three of its first four games on the road, returns home next Saturday to face Brockport in a 1 p.m. conference outing. The Golden Eagles are coming off a wild 48-41 loss to Morrisville State on Saturday.
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