Nearly 20,000 tickets were sold in the first week for the 2019 Cortaca Jug game in MetLife Stadium, assuring the largest attendance ever for the Cortland-Ithaca rivalry, the second-largest Division III football game ever played, and possibly a record-setter.
SUNY Cortland and Ithaca College announced Nov. 7 a one-time move to the Rutherford, N.J., stadium, home of the New York Jets and the New York Giants, in order to appeal to the nearly 35,000 alumni the two colleges have in metropolitan New York — and maybe set a record for attendance at a Division III football game.
Tickets for the Nov. 16, 2019 Cortaca Jug game at MetLife Stadium in Rutherford, N.J., are available through CortacaJug.com. Prices are $15, $25 and $35.
Tickets went on sale Nov. 27 and 20,000 were sold by Monday, reports the New York City Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame.
With 5,000 more set aside for each school, that promises attendance of 30,000 or more.
The SUNY Cortland football players are focusing on the game. The Red Dragons want to take back the jug from the Ithaca Bombers, who won the Nov. 10 game, 24-21.
“Whether we play in front of 50 people or 82,500 capacity of the MetLife Stadium, it’s about putting the ball down and doing what we’ve got to do,” said Angelo Foster, a junior wide receiver. “We know to win the game and be where we want to be next season, it’s about the little things we do every day, every practice and what we do on the field and off the field.”
But the ticket sales don’t lie. The game appears to be on track to reach the goal for the event, SUNY Cortland officials said in a release, which is to break the all-time Division III attendance record of 37,355 — set in 2017 between St. John’s University and University of St. Thomas.
The record attendance for the Cortaca Jug is 12,620, set in 2001 in Ithaca. One former Red Dragons football player, Bill McDermott, said he may attend the game, or maybe not.
McDermott isn’t impressed by the change of venue — he’s always cherished the fact that the game is a rivalry between two small teams.
“To me, what was really special about that game as a player and a member of the community was that it was here in the community or over in Ithaca,” Mc- Dermott said. “That’s what I valued and really cared about. It was and is the greatest little game in the country and I’d like to see it kept that way.”