For the third year running, Ithaca College defeated SUNY Cortland in the 61st annual Cortaca Jug, winning the game 32-20.
This year’s game set a Division III attendance record with more than 45,000 tickets sold. That was more than half of the 82,500-person seating capacity of the MetLife Stadium in Rutherford, New Jersey, where this year’s game was held, breaking the previous record of 37,355 attendees set in Minneapolis in 2017.
SUNY Cortland sent about 500 students in 11 buses to the game, but many more stayed in Cortland to celebrate — in parties on and off campus, in local bars and in the Corey Student Union.
Sophomore Andrew Koehler tried to stay optimistic despite Cortland’s defeat.
“It’s certainly disappointing, but there’s always next year,” Koehler said. Brian Williams, a SUNY Cortland senior who lives at 23 Clayton Ave., was hanging out on his front porch with his friends early Saturday afternoon.
It was still the first quarter, and Williams admitted things were looking bad.
The score at that point was 7-0, and the odds were against Cortland.
“I’m a big underdog guy,” he said. “So I’m going for Cortland.”
Williams was drinking an energy drink in between Zippy’s Coolers — rum-based cocktails popular on Long Island, where he’s from.
While he was explaining this, a loud crash came from across the street. A large tube television had been thrown out of window onto the lawn — possibly in commentary on the game.
“Yeah, a TV came out of that window,” Williams observed. “Must not have been HDTV.”
On campus, 27 people had shown up by the second quarter for the official non-alcoholic campus viewing party — a number that included six catering workers and a campus police officer.
“It’s not very popular,” admitted Caitlyn Clark, a catering company employee. Party planners, she said, were hoping for about 200 students to show up.
But a sparsely-attended, quiet event was just what SUNY sophomore Wallace Haverlock and his friends were looking for.
“I like the quiet route,” freshman Drew Manfredi said.
“The quiet route’s good,” Haverlock said.
Haverlock is also a native Ithacan — a fact his friends told him to stop admitting out loud.
“I’m the enemy,” he said.
Outside during half time, a group of about a dozen students were crossing campus in search of an off-campus party.
“I’m just kind of keeping an eye on them,” said Liam Brush, a junior, who followed at the back of the pack. When the group took a 90-degree right hand turn onto West Court Street, one party-goer lost his balance and went down on the pavement. Liam and two other guys hoisted him up and got him back on his feet.
Brush said he could have gone to New Jersey, “but it was just easier to stay here,” he said.
Freshman Sofia Albi and Ava Francilli also preferred to stay in Cortland. They also were in search of a viewing party for the second half. A lot of their friends went to New Jersey, but they preferred to watch the game here.
“If it was in Ithaca, we would have gone. If it was here, we would have gone,” Albi said.
Senior Asha Goldberg dropped by Corey Union for a snack before heading to her dorm to watch the game with her friends. At half time, she was hopeful about Cortland’s chances this year.
“Maybe this will be a comeback,” she said.
That comeback, however, will have to wait another year.