Football game preview: Cortland takes on Morrisville State

D’monte Woody returned a blocked field goal 83 yards for a TD on the final play of the third quarter in Cortland’s win over Morrisville last season (Darl Zehr Photography)

SUNY CORTLAND FOOTBALL NOTES
Cortland Red Dragons (3-1, 1-1 Empire 8) vs. Morrisville St. College Mustangs (2-2, 0-1 Empire 8)
Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018; Noon; SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex; Cortland, N.Y.

TICKETS: $6 adults, $5 students with ID
SUNY Cortland students/faculty/staff Free with ID; Children 12 and under Free

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THE MATCHUP: Cortland plays at home for the first time in nearly a month as the Red Dragons host Morrisville State in an Empire 8 contest on Homecoming and C-Club Hall of Fame Weekend. Cortland is coming off a 45-38 win at Utica last Saturday, while Morrisville was edged by Alfred at home, 27-22, in its league opener.

THE SERIES: Cortland leads the series versus Morrisville, 11-2. The Red Dragons won the first nine meetings before two straight wins by the Mustangs, but Cortland regained the upper hand with wins each of the last two seasons.

The series actually began in 1930, with Cortland winning, 12-0, and the teams did not meet again until the Red Dragons won 52-14 at Morrisville in 2006. Cortland and Morrisville both joined the Empire 8 in 2015 after being members of the New Jersey Athletic Conference from 2008-14.

Last year in Morrisville, Johnnie Akins ran for two touchdowns and D’monte Woody returned a blocked field goal 83 yards for a score late in the third quarter in Cortland’s 34-20 victory. Akins ran 17 times for 86 yards, including a 44-yard TD run, and Nick Anderson caught five passes for 71 yards and a score. Mark DeLuise recorded 13 tackles, while Isaac Hicks III and Kyle Richard each made nine stops. Hicks also intercepted a pass. Morrisville’s Nick Edmond ran 23 times for 106 yards and Brandon Gwinner completed 24-of-42 passes for 258 yards and rushed for 55 yards and a TD.

Notable games in the series include a Cortland 71-7 win in 2007 in the Red Dragons’ first-ever home night game that didn’t end until 12:46 a.m. due to two lightning delays, and the Red Dragons’ 51-37 win at Morrisville in 2008 in which Andrew Giuliano ran for a school-record 281 yards, including four TDs.

CORTLAND CAPSULE:  Cortland evened its Empire 8 record at 1-1 and improved to 3-1 overall with a 45-38 win at Utica last weekend. Brett Segala completed 19-of-36 passes for a career-best 438 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Nick Anderson caught eight passes for 171 yards and two scores, including the game-winning 3-yard TD grab with 1:02 remaining. Jake Smith’s eight receptions included a 97-yard TD for the longest pass play in school history. Alex Wasserman added a 74-yard TD reception on his lone catch of the game.

Denarii Beard forced two fumbles, one of which stopped Utica two yards from the goal line, and he returned an interception 58 yards for a TD in the second quarter. Max Jean led the Red Dragons with 11 tackles and two pass breakups and Brandon Lewis registered an interception and a pass breakup. Nick Mongelli made a 39-yard field goal and all six of his PAT kicks.

Through four games this fall, Segala has completed 68-of-117 passes (58.1 percent) for 1,196 yards and 14 touchdowns with only four interceptions. Smith leads the club with 24 catches for 444 yards and has scored four times, while Anderson has 19 receptions for 330 yards and a team-high five TDs. Kyle Richard leads the defense with 34 tackles, 22 solo, followed by Isaac Hicks III with 30 tackles. Mongelli has connected on all four of his field goal attempts and is 22-of-23 on PAT kicks.

Head coach Dan MacNeill is in his 22nd season with the Red Dragons. His overall record of 143-80 (.641) ranks him first at Cortland in career victories and winning percentage. He was the 2015 HERO Sports National Coach of the Year and the D3football.com East Region Coach of the Year, and he and his assistants were chosen as the Empire 8 Coaching Staff of the Year. In addition, he’s been the New Jersey Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in both 2008 and 2012, and also was a finalist for Liberty Mutual National Division III Coach of the Year honors in 2008 after leading the Red Dragons to the league title and the NCAA quarterfinals.

MacNeill has guided Cortland to six NCAA playoff appearances (1997, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2015), eight ECAC bowl games (most recently in 2016), and a win in the inaugural New York Bowl in 2017. His 2008 squad was honored with the Lambert Meadowlands Trophy and the ECAC Div. III Team of the Year awards. MacNeill is a 1979 Cortland alumnus and played linebacker and defensive tackle from 1975-78. Previously an assistant coach at Division I-AA Villanova University for 13 years, MacNeill is Cortland’s 11th head coach since the school’s modern era of football began in 1924. He joined the Villanova staff in 1984, and he served as linebackers coach and was the team’s defensive coordinator from 1988-96.

A LOOK AT…MORRISVILLE ST. COLLEGE: Morrisville opened the season 2-1 in non-league play after wins over Norwich and St. Lawrence and a loss to Hobart. The Mustangs led 16-6 after one quarter last Saturday at home versus Alfred in their Empire 8 opener before falling to the Saxons, 27-22.

Brandon Gwinner completed 20-of-38 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns and ran 16 times for 84 yards and a score. He was stopped one yard short of a first down after a 9-yard run just past midfield on fourth down to end Morrisville’s final drive with less than a minute remaining. Raffaele Bradshaw had 10 receptions for 86 yards and Petrit Boga and Darrel West each caught TD passes. Mike Bodnar finished with a game-high 17 tackles, 10 solo.

For the season, Gwinner is connecting on 58.3 percent of his passes (67-of-115) for 784 yards and seven touchdowns with four interceptions. Nick Edmond is the team’s leading rusher at 82.5 yards per game, followed by Gwinner at 32.5 yards per contest, and Bradshaw has 23 receptions for 215 yards. Three of Boga’s eight catches this fall have resulted in scores.

Bodnar leads the Mustangs with 36 tackles, 3.5 for loss, and also has three pass breakups. Jose Garcia has 24 tackles and four pass breakups and Deondrade Wells has an interception and a team-high five breakups. Zan Stewart is 13-of-14 on PAT kicks and 3-of-7 on field goal attempts, with a long kick of 39 yards, and also averages 37.1 yards per punt.

Curt Fitzpatrick is in his sixth season as Morrisville’s head coach. His combined record of 25-30 (.455) includes a 9-2 record and a share of the New Jersey Athletic Conference title in 2014 and a 6-4 mark in 2015. Fitzpatrick served as Utica College’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2008-12, preceded by two seasons as quarterbacks coach at St. John Fisher College. Fitzpatrick graduated in 2004 from St. John Fisher, where he was a four-year letterwinning quarterback. In his final season, he earned Empire 8 all-league honors and set Fisher single-season passing records with 30 touchdowns and 2,366 yards. The Cardinals advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 that season.

NOTEBOOK:

* The eight newest members of the SUNY Cortland C-Club Hall of Fame will be recognized at halftime of Saturday’s game and will be officially inducted Saturday evening during the 50th C-Club Hall of Fame ceremony. The 2018 honorees are: Robert Brown ’49 (posthumous), Murray Banks ’70 M ’75, Peter Graham ’74, Jud Smith ’76, Dan Revai ’79 and Sue Behme ’83, along with honorary inductees Chuck Winters and Cynthia Wetmore. The C-Club Hall of Fame was established in 1969, and this year’s induction class brings the Hall of Fame roster to 263 alumni and 30 honorary members.

Denarii Beard was named the Empire 8 Defensive Player of the Week after his performance in Cortland’s 45-38 win at Utica. Beard recorded seven tackles, five solo, forced two fumbles, broke up a pass and returned an interception 58 yards for a touchdown.

Brett Segala has 1,196 passing yards through four games, putting him on a pace for 2,990 yards through 10 regular-season contests. The school record for regular-season passing yards is 2,448 by Steven Ferreira in 2015 in nine games (missed one game due to injury), followed by 2,442 by Dan Pitcher in 2011. Counting postseason games, Ferreira threw for 3,127 yards in 2015.

* The 97-yard TD pass from Brett Segala to Jake Smith last week at Utica is the longest reception in school history. The previous longest were 90 yards from John Grassi to Jack Delahunty at home versus Southern Virginia in 2014 and 85 yards from Ray Miles to Keith Greene at Kean in 2007.

* Cortland has scored 186 points this season – its best four-game point total to start a year since 1991. That year, the Red Dragons scored 204 points through four games, including 71 in a win over St. John Fisher and 67 in a victory at Wilkes. At 46.5 points per game, Cortland is on pace to set the school record for single-season scoring average. The 1990 squad averaged 38 points per game.

Brett Segala currently has a passing efficiency rating of 176.6. The rating is determined by a formula that factors completion percentage, yards per pass attempt, TD passes per attempt, and interceptions per attempt. The school single-season record (minimum 100 attempts) is 169.1 by Steven Ferreira in 2015. The NCAA first started calculating passing efficiency rating in 1979.

* Senior wide receiver Jake Smith leads Cortland with 24 catches this season, including eight each of the last two weekends at Alfred and Utica. Smith has 125 career receptions, ninth best in school history. Next on the list is Brian Babst (1999-2001) with 126 receptions, Matt Shell (1988-91) with 130 catches, and Mike Humphrey (2009-12) with 139 receptions. In addition, Smith is now ranked second at Cortland with 24 career TD catches, including four this season. The school record is 30 TD catches by John Babin (2010-11, 13-14).

* Cortland is its fourth season in the Empire 8 this fall. The Red Dragons joined the league in 2015 after 15 seasons in the New Jersey Athletic Conference. Cortland finished in at least a tie for first in the NJAC six times (2005-08, 2010, 2012) and shared the Empire 8 crown in 2015. Four current Empire 8 members – Cortland, Brockport, Buffalo State and Morrisville State – at one point played in the NJAC and are affiliate members of the E8 in football only. The other league teams – Alfred, Hartwick, St. John Fisher and Utica – are full conference members. Ithaca left the Empire 8 after last year to become a full member of the Liberty League, and Buffalo State is set to join the Liberty League in 2019.

* Cortland and Morrisville rank in the top 40 nationally in Division III in the following team and individual categories:

CORTLAND:

Nick Mongelli, 1st, Field Goal Percentage, 100.0 pct.
Cole Burgess, 4th, Kickoff Return Touchdowns, 1
Brett Segala, 7th, Passing Yards per Completion, 17.6 yds./completion
Brett Segala, 8th, Points Responsible For, 24.5 pts./game
Brett Segala, 9th, Passing Touchdowns, 14
Brett Segala, 10th, Yards per Pass Attempt, 10.2 yds./attempt
Brett Segala, 14th, Passing Efficiency, 176.6 rating
Brett Segala, 17th, Passing Yards, 299.0 yds./game
Cole Burgess, 17th, Kickoff Returns, 30.4 yds./return
Cole Burgess, 19th, Combined Kick Returns, 334 yds.
Brett Segala, 20th, Total Offense, 311.8 yds./game
Alex Wasserman, 21st, Yards per Reception, 23.1 yds./catch
Jake Smith, 25th, Receiving Yards, 111.0 yds./game
Nick Mongelli, 27th, Field Goals, 1.0 made/game
Brandon Lewis, 28th, Punt Returns, 14.2 yds./return
Nick Anderson, 31st, Receiving Touchdowns, 5

9th, Scoring Offense, 46.5 pts./game
10th, Passing Offense, 340.3 yds./game
10th, Interceptions by Defense, 9
10th, Defensive Touchdowns, 2
12th, Passing Yards per Completion, 17.2 yds./catch
17th, Team Passing Efficiency, 170.9 rating
22nd, Turnovers Gained, 12
22nd, Blocked Punts, 1
23rd, Punt Returns, 15.6 yds./return
31st, Third Down Conversion Percentage, 48.3 pct.
33rd, Kickoff Returns, 23.5 yds./return
37th, Total Offense, 455.5 yds./game
39th, Blocked Kicks, 2

MORRISVILLE:

Toure Hall, 34th, Combined Kick Returns, 302 yds.

16th, Tackles for Loss Allowed, 4.0/game
18th, Third Down Conversion Percentage, 50.0 pct.
22nd, Blocked Punts, 1
25th, Fumbles Recovered, 6

2018 Cortland Weekly Award Winners (game date/opponent in parentheses)

Denarii Beard, Linebacker
Empire 8 Defensive Player of the Week (Sept. 29 at Utica)

Cole Burgess, Kick Returner
D3football.com National Team of the Week (Sept. 8 vs. Framingham St.)
Empire 8 Special Teams Player of the Week (Sept. 8 vs. Framingham St.)

Mark DeLuise, Linebacker
D3football.com National Team of the Week (Sept. 8 vs. Framingham St.)

Nick Mongelli, Kicker
Empire 8 Special Teams Player of the Week (Sept. 1 at Fitchburg St.)

Brett Segala, Quarterback
Empire 8 Offensive Player of the Week (Sept. 1 at Fitchburg St.)

SCHEDULES/RESULTS:


CORTLAND (3-1, -1 Empire 8)

Sept. 1            at Fitchburg St. (MA)…………………….. W 51-14
Sept. 8           FRAMINGHAM ST. (MA)………………… W 57-19
Sept. 22         * at Alfred……………………………………… L 33-38
Sept. 29         * at Utica………………………………………. W 45-38
Oct. 6            * MORRISVILLE ST. ……………………… 12:00
Oct. 13           * BUFFALO ST. ……………………………. 12:00
Oct. 20          * at Hartwick………………………………….. 1:00
Oct. 27          * ST. JOHN FISHER……………………….. 2:00
Nov. 3            * at Brockport………………………………… 2:00
Nov. 10          ITHACA……………………………………….. 12:00

* Empire 8 game      HOME GAMES IN CAPS

MORRISVILLE ST. (2-2, 0-1 Empire 8)

Sept. 1            at Norwich…………………………………… W 34-13
Sept. 8           at Hobart………………………………………. L 24-62
Sept. 21          ST. LAWRENCE…………………………… W 34-26
Sept. 29         * ALFRED…………………………………….. L 22-27
Oct. 6            * at Cortland………………………………….. 12:00
Oct. 13           * UTICA……………………………………….. 12:00
Oct. 20          * at St. John Fisher………………………….. 2:00
Oct. 27          * at Buffalo St. ……………………………….. 12:00
Nov. 3            * HARTWICK…………………………………. 1:00
Nov. 10          * BROCKPORT………………………………. 1:00

* Empire 8 game      HOME GAMES IN CAPS

CORTLAND vs. MORRISVILLE ST. – SERIES RECORD
(Cortland leads 11-2)

Year            Winner                   Score            Site
1930            Cortland                  12-0               ???

2006            Cortland                  52-14             Morrisville
2007            Cortland                  71-7               Cortland
2008            Cortland                  51-37             Morrisville
2009            Cortland                  26-17             Cortland

2010            Cortland                  42-6               Morrisville
2011            Cortland                  55-14             Cortland
2012            Cortland                  56-14             Morrisville
2013            Cortland                  62-49             Cortland
2014            Morrisville St.          38-31             Morrisville
2015            Morrisville St.          42-28             Morrisville
2016            Cortland                   45-20            Cortland
2017            Cortland                   34-20            Morrisville

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