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Homecoming game Saturday: AU Saxons vs. Ithaca Bombers
10/01/12

Alfred University vs. Ithaca College

Saturday, Oct. 6, 1 p.m.

 

Last meeting: 2011, Alfred win, 21-19, at Ithaca

 

Last week: AU: Win, 40-17, at Buff State; Ithaca, Win, 40-22, vs. Utica

 

Saxons Offense: 24.7 points per game

 

Saxon Defense: 16.0 points per game

 

Bomber Offense: 32.8 points per game

 

Bomber Defense: 16.8 points per game

 

Players to watch: Alfred University — Zach Sopak, JR, QB; Austin Dwyer, JR, TB; Chuck Beckwith, JR, FB; Adam Schutz, SR, TE; Maleke Fuentes, FR, WR; Mike Raplee, SR, NG; Chris Steeves, SR, DE; Reggie Pressley, SR, SS; Jon Jackson, SR, FS; Michael Perkins, SO, CB.

Ithaca College — Phil Neumann, JR, QB; Clay Ardoin, SR, TB; Joseph Ingrao, SR, WR; Jared Prugar, JR, TE; Will Carter, SR, LB; Brian Hardenberg, JR, LB; Zach Matuszak, SR, LB; Dan Sheldon, JR, DT.

 

Key matchup: AU offensive line vs. Ithaca defense that has 14 sacks and 42 tackles for loss in four games. Ithaca run defense that allows 98 yards rushing per game against AU rush offense that produces 238 yards on the ground per contest. AU defense that allows 305 yards per game (110 rush; 195 pass) against Ithaca offense that averages 413 yards (195 rush; 218 pass).

 

Game notes: Saturday’s game marks the 53rd meeting between AU and Ithaca, with Ithaca holding a 35-15-2 advantage in the all-time series. The Saxons won the last time these two teams played (21-19, at Ithaca, 2011) and have won the last two overall in the series. The last Ithaca win over AU came in 2009 (31-10 at Ithaca). Ithaca last beat AU at Merrill Field in 2008 (43-35).

 

Alfred is coming off a bye week. The Saxons (2-1, 1-0 Empire 8) last played on Sept. 22, when they handed a 40-17 loss to then-24th-ranked Buff State in both teams’ Empire 8 Conference openers. In that game, junior fullback Chuck Beckwith had a career day, rushing for 177 yards on just eight carries. He had touchdown runs of 31, 52 and 80 yards and was named Empire 8 Offensive Player of the Week and also to the D3football.com Team of the Week. Beckwith (194 yards rushing, four TD runs on the year) and junior tailback Austin Dwyer (234 yards, two TDs) lead a rushing attack that averages 238 yards on the ground per game. Junior quarterback Zach Sopak threw for 117 yards and two TDs in the Buff State game and on the season has completed 36 of 75 passes for 359 yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions. Senior tight end Adam Schutz has caught a team-best 10 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown and freshman wideout Meleke Fuentes has caught seven passes for a team-high 103 yards and a score. The AU defense allows 305 yards per game (110 rushing; 195 passing). Senior strong safety Reggie Pressley leads the team with 29 tackles and has one interception. Senior nose guard Mike Raplee has 26 tackles (team-best 6.5 for loss) with one sack and senior end Chris Steeves has 21 stops (three for loss) with a team-leading three sacks to go with a forced fumble. Senior free safety Jon Jackson has 23 tackles (two for loss) and an interception and sophomore cornerback Michael Perkins has a team-best two interceptions to go with 17 tackles. Junior placekicker Zach Tavolaro has made eight of 11 extra points and missed his only field goal attempt. Freshman Samuel LaCour will start his first game punting. He averaged 30.5 yards on two kicks against Buff State. Fuentes averages 2.7 yards on punt returns and 24.7 yards on kickoff returns.

 

Ithaca is 4-0 (2-0 Empire 8) and is coming off a 40-22 win at home against Empire 8 foe Utica last weekend. The Bombers offense averages 413 yards per game (195 rush; 218 pass) and is led by senior tailback Clay Ardoin (536 yards rushing, three touchdowns) and junior quarterback Phil Neumann (75-of-116 for 872 yards with nine touchdowns and one interception). Neumann’s main targets this year have been senior wide receiver Joseph Ingrao (35 catches, 488 yards, four touchdowns) and junior tight end Jared Prugar (seven catches, 112 yards, three TDs). Backup RB Jarrett Naden has 247 yards rushing with two scores. The Ithaca defense allows 272 yards of offense per game and is particularly stingy against the run (98 yards per game). Junior linebacker Brian Hardenberg has 18 tackles (six for loss, one sack) and senior linebacker Zach Matuszak has 17 (seven for loss, three sacks) for a Bomber defense that averages 10.5 tackles for loss per game. Senior linebacker Will Carter has a team-best 37 tackles (two for loss, one sack) and junior defensive end Dan Sheldon has three sacks. Sophomore placekicker Garrett Nicholson has made all 15 point after tries and four of five field goals and A.J. Vallone averages 40.2 yards per punt. Sam Carney averages 7.6 yards on punt returns and Josh Oliver 19.1 yards on kickoff returns.