Story and photo courtesy of Ithaca Athletics
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Ithaca College football team (1-0) opened the season with a win for the 32nd time in 36 years, blanking the host Moravian Greyhounds (0-1) 24-0 Saturday. Seniors Clay Ardoin (Dolgeville/Dolgeville) and Jarrett Naiden (Easton, Pa./Easton Area) both ran for over 100 yards and the Bombers held the ball for nearly 38 minutes.
Ardoin gained a career-best 208 yards -- the highest by a Bomber in 38 games and the program's 13th-highest total ever -- scoring on a one-yard run and closing out the win with an 84-yard run (the seventh-longest run from scrimmage ever by a Bomber),
Naiden, starting just outside his hometown of Easton, Pa., ran for 116 yards on 22 carries. The 100-yard effort was the second for both backs and marked the first time two Bombers had reached 100 yards in the same game since Jamie Donovan and Alex Baez gained 112 and 109, respectively, in a 42-25 victory over Alfred on Nov. 3, 2007.
Junior quarterback Phil Neumann (Burnt Hills/Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa) threw a career-high two touchdown passes, completing a 19-yard scoring pass to junior tight end Jared Prugar (York, Maine/York) that opened the scoring and adding a 24-yard touchdown throw to senior wideout Joseph Ingrao (Nesconset/St. Anthony's) on the last play of the third quarter.
Neumann completed 13 of 22 passes. Ingrao was the game's leading receiver, catching seven passes -- one short of his career-best -- for 68 yards.
Ithaca's rushing attack (333 yards on 51 carries) and dominant defense allowed the Bombers to hold a 37:49 - 22:11 advantage in time of possession.
Senior linebacker Will Carter (Thornwood/Westlake) led the team with seven tackles, including two for loss. Junior linebackers Chris Williams (Johnson City/Binghamton) and Jake Santora (Westport, Conn./Staples) were both in on a pair of tackles for loss as well. Carter's total included one of Ithaca's five sacks.
The Bomber defense, which featured seven first-time starters, held Moravian to eight first downs (three came in the final five minutes) and three-of-15 efficency on third and fourth downs. One of those first-time starters, junior strong safety Tom Scanlon (Bethany, Conn./Amity Regional), picked off a Greyhound pass on his own three-yard line to thwart Moravian's only scoring threat.
Sophomore Garrett Nicholson (State College, Pa./State College Area) converted all three of his extra points and added the first field goal of his career -- a 35-yard kick -- to close out the scoring. Senior AJ Vallone (Haworth, N.J./Northern Valley Regional) averaged 45.0 yards per punt on four kicks; his first punt of the day was a 58-yard effort that matches the 10th-longest by a Bomber.
The Bombers have now won 15 straight season openers and recorded an opening-day shutout for the 13th time.
Ithaca is idle until hosting Union on Sept. 15.