ITHACA, N.Y. – For just the fourth time, the Ithaca College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute football teams will meet up on the gridiron, as Ithaca heads to Troy, N.Y. this Saturday for a 1 p.m. kickoff at East Campus Stadium. The Bombers will look to claim their fourth consecutive victory and run their Liberty League record to a perfect 4-0 mark. RPI is 3-2 on the season and 0-1 in the Liberty League.
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ALL-TIME SERIES: Saturday's matchup is the fourth all-time meeting between Ithaca and Rensselaer, with IC owning a 2-1 advantage. The first meeting between the schools took place in 1946 as Ithaca prevailed, 16-7. IC and RPI would not play each other again for 55 years until an NCAA Quarterfinal contest in 2001 at RPI. The Bombers came out victorious once again, 27-10. Two years later, Ithaca traveled back to Troy, N.Y. for another NCAA showdown and fell to the Engineers, 21-16.
LAST TIME OUT: Last Saturday at the University of Rochester, Ithaca put up 46 points to secure a 40-point win over the Yellowjackets. The margin of victory is the highest since IC defeated St. Lawrence, 45-0, in 2009. Ithaca racked up 455 yards of total offense and scored six offensive touchdowns (five rushing) and one on special teams (a blocked punt).
BLOCK PARTY: Ithaca blocked two punts last week in Rochester. The last time the team blocked two kicks (kick, punt, point after) in one game was in 2015 against Morrisville State. In addition, junior Ryan Bronson's recovery in the end zone was the first time the Bombers scored on a blocked punt since 2014, when Ryan Michaels had a scoop-and-score of 19 yards against Utica.
BIG WEEK FOR BRONSON: Junior linebacker Ryan Bronson had a career game last weekend against Rochester. The Port Crane, N.Y. native recovered a punt in the end zone for a touchdown, had an interception and three tackles. Bronson was named the Liberty League Defensive Performer and ECAC Defensive Player of the Week following his performance.
A RUSH OF EXCITEMENT: For the first time since 2008 (Hartwick), the Bombers had five rushing touchdowns last week against Rochester. Four different Bombers (Isaiah D'Haiti-two, Nick Cervone, Anthony Capozzi, Tristan Brown) rushed for a touchdown for the first time since 2003 (St. Lawrence). In addition, Ithaca ran for a 221 yards, which is the highest team-total since 2015 (Alfred – 251 yards).
NABI TURNING HEADS: For the third consecutive week, freshman quarterback Wahid Nabi was named the Liberty League Rookie of the Week. The last player to win the award three weeks in a row was Tyre Coleman for Hobart in 2011. In the last three games, Nabi has passed for a total of 906 yards and five touchdowns. He has also been named ECAC North Rookie of the Week the past two weeks.
D'HAITI'S CAREER DAY: Sophomore running back D'Haiti scored his first two career touchdowns against Rochester. D'Haiti rushed for 102 yards, eclipsing his total rushing yards from scrimmage last season by 68 yards. D'Haiti punched in a touchdown run of three yards and later broke free for an 80-yard touchdown run, which is the longest run-play for Ithaca since 2012.
GLADNEY ATOP THE CONFERENCE: Sophomore wide receiver Will Gladney leads the Liberty League in the following categories: receiving yards (614), receiving touchdowns (five), receiving yards per game (122.8) and receptions per games (8.0). In the first five games this season, Gladney has surpassed his total receiving yards from last season by 95 yards putting his career total at 1,133 yards. Among the NCAA Division III ranks, Gladney is ninth in receiving yards per game, 14th in receptions per game and 16th in receiving yards.
SCOUTING THE ENGINEERS: RPI enters Saturday's contest with an overall mark of 3-2 and 0-1 in Liberty League play. The Engineers got off to a 3-0 start, but have since dropped their last two games. They possess four different players who have rushed the ball 30 times or more (Ed Trimpert, Ethan Wells, Mike Tivinis and Nick Cella). Three of those backs – Cella, Tivinis and Wells – have all amassed more than 200 yards on the ground. Trimpert has thrown for 10 touchdowns and 752 yards.
RPI averages 26.6 points per game and allows 18.2 points per outing. Yardage wise, the Engineers average 353.2 (193.4 rushing, 159.8 passing) a contest and surrender 301 (191.8 passing, 109.2 rushing). The Engineers also perform exceptionally well inside the red zone, scoring 13 touchdowns on 18 trips inside the opponents' 20-yard line.
UP NEXT: The Bombers return to Butterfield Stadium next Saturday for a 1 p.m. kickoff against former Empire 8 foe St. John Fisher. It will be the 20th all-time meeting between Ithaca and Fisher, with the Cardinals holding a 10-9 edge in the win column.
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