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Ithaca-Cortland football game at MetLife Stadium on Nov. 16 to set Division III attendance record

By Eric Reinhardt


The New York City chapter of the National Football Foundation (NYC/NFF) says the annual matchup between Ithaca College and SUNY Cortland will set an attendance record for a Division III football game, per an Ithaca College news release. Sales have so far exceeded 39,000 tickets, which would break the previous attendance record of 37,355 set in 2017. NYC/NFF is hosting this season’s battle for the Cortaca Jug, which is set for 1 p.m. on Nov. 16 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo provided by Ithaca College)

ITHACA, N.Y. — This season’s battle for the Cortaca Jug at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey will set a new all-time record for a Division III football game.

That’s according to the New York City chapter of the National Football Foundation (NYC/NFF), which is hosting the annual matchup between Ithaca College (IC) and SUNY Cortland.

With just over six weeks to go, sales have exceeded 39,000 tickets for the game, which is set for 1 p.m. on Nov. 16, Ithaca College said in a news release.

The previous D3 record of 37,355 was set in 2017 for a game held at Target Field in Minneapolis.

The ticket sales for the Cortaca Jug game are “a testament to the interest level and tradition of this game as one of the great small-college football rivalries in the country. I am appreciative of the partnership and collaboration that we have enjoyed on both campuses as this historic matchup approaches,” Marc Hudak, NYC/NFF chairman, said in the Ithaca College release. Hudak is a 1990 graduate of Ithaca College.

Both Ithaca College and Cortland have sold out of their on-campus ticket allotments, and sales continue at a “brisk” pace on Ticketmaster, per the release.

This year will mark the 61st time that Ithaca and Cortland have played for the Cortaca Jug, in what Sports Illustrated once referred to as “the biggest little game in the nation.”

“The enthusiasm displayed for this game by both the students and alumni of Ithaca and Cortland has been phenomenal,” Hudak noted. “and I am confident that interest in the game will remain high, especially with both the IC Bombers and Cortland Red Dragons currently sitting undefeated at 3-0 on the year.”

School president reactions

“Locating this game at MetLife Stadium has captured the imagination of our IC family in a huge way, not only prompting record ticket sales, but also by prompting the creation of outstanding experiential learning opportunities for IC students in many fields of study — communications, the arts, and business, to name a few. This game will be the largest-ever gathering of IC alumni in one place at one time, adding an exciting chapter to an already rich Cortaca tradition, and I immensely appreciate the phenomenal amount of work that has gone into transforming this great idea into an extraordinary historic moment,” Ithaca College President Shirley Collado said in the release.

 Erik Bitterbaum, president of SUNY Cortland, added, “We are incredibly excited about this announcement, but we are not surprised. As over 39,000 fans across both colleges will tell you, the Cortaca Jug is much more than a college football game. It is part of our history. And now, it’s not just SUNY Cortland’s history, but the history of college football itself. We are grateful for the opportunity to have MetLife Stadium to showcase both our players and the amazing school spirit that connects all SUNY Cortland students, alumni and supporters.”

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