October 26, 2021

Fans unfazed by frigid temps

60th Cortaca football game draws Ithaca, SUNY Cortland partisans

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

SUNY Cortland senior Hailey Sherwood talks about her layers of clothing Saturday while celebrating Cortaca while tailgating outside the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex.

Temperatures were in the low 30s and the gusting winds carried snow flurries as Bridget Coyne and her family tailgated Saturday for the Cortaca Jug football game. They threw on extra layers and huddled around a small space heater.

“We got here around 9 a.m.,” Coyne said. “We were some of the first people in the parking lot.”

The SUNY Cortland Red Dragons lost to the Ithaca College Bombers, 24-21, in the 60th annual Cortaca Jug. The Red Dragons came back from a 21-0 start to the game, but it wasn’t enough. The loss is the second in a row for Cortland. Ithaca leads the series 38-24.

Coyne, a sophomore, said she didn’t attend last year’s game in Ithaca but her dad, who’s a big football fan, wanted to come this year.

“It’s such a big football game for the school, so my dad got excited,” she said.

As for next year, Coyne said her family will probably take the trip to New Jersey to cheer on the Red Dragons as they battle the Bombers in MetLife Stadium. Ithaca and Cortland officials announced Nov. 7 the move to MetLife Stadium, the home of the NFL’s New York Jets and New York Giants.

“I would prefer to have it here because it’s easier to get to, but MetLife Stadium will be cool,” Coyne said.

Casey Stahl, a 2015 SUNY Cortland graduate, and eight friends stood around a fire pit Saturday morning drinking mimosas.

For three of the women, it was their eighth consecutive year attending the game.

“Our goal is to come back 10 years straight,” Stahl said. She’s already planned to stay with friends in New York City next year so she can attend the game.

Once Saturday’s game began, fans for both teams were energized. Many of the SUNY Cortland fans remained standing during the game yelling “Let’s go Dragons” and waving scarfs and towels.

Like Coyne, junior Jessica Gottlieb didn’t go to last year’s game, but was part of a group of about 15 people who stood Saturday cheering the Dragons. Even with the cold, Gottlieb was all smiles at the game.

“I’ve got on four layers,” she said. “I just like that it’s accessible and that everyone’s friends go to it. You like get to meet all your friends’ family and friends.”

She said she’s also thinking about going to the game at MetLife Stadium.

“I live like 10 minutes away, so I’ll probably go,” she said. However, Hailey Sherwood said this year’s game was her last hurrah.

“I’m not going to MetLife because it’s a school rivalry and it’s more fun if it’s at our school,” she said. The senior was sporting a 2018 Cortaca hoodie, along with several layers — a few T-shirts, gloves and a hat — as she tailgated and then later watched the game with her housemates and friends.

Nonetheless, Sherwood said Cortaca will always be like Christmas.

“It’s the best day of the year,” she said.