Cortaca Rivalry Heads to Metlife for Record-Breaking Clash
ITHACA, NY (WENY) - It's been dubbed the biggest little game in the nation; Cortland and Ithaca College football, otherwise known as "Cortaca". This year, there's nothing little about this game as the two rivals will head to MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Jets and Giants.
Ithaca College Athletic Director Susan Bassett announced on Wednesday the game has sold 45,000 tickets, set to top the previous Division-III football attendance record. The previous record of 37,355 was set by St. Thomas and St. John's at Target Field in 2017. Cortland Head Coach Dan MacNeill talked about the added juice provided by taking the game to a national stage. He says, "Yeah, It's interesting you say juice because we're all about Dragon juice. And juice is intoxicating, you know? And I don't think there's anything as too much juice. I don't think there is, right? You gotta make sure you handle it right. You gotta make sure you're not so intoxicated you can't walk, right? Can't think, can't act. So it's different, but I don't think there's anything as too much juice. I don't think there's too big a rivalry, you know what I mean?"
Ithaca Head Coach Dan Swanstrom discussed what a game of this magnitude means for his program. He tells WENY, "College football is the gateway to most colleges and people really, really like college football. They love the pageantry, they love the tribalness of their schools and a lot of schools get to talk and pretend like they have that type of culture. I have a tangible event that proves that Ithaca College is just a little different than anywhere else."
The Cortaca rivalry runs deep. For some, it's a family affair. Ithaca Senior Captain Nick Garone says, "I've been coming to Cortaca games since 2011. My brother played here, graduated in '14. Like I said before, my old man went here, he graduated in '86. My Uncle Jason went here, graduated in '94. My sister's a graduate of 2015 and I'm the last one to come through.It's very special, especially in my family. All I hear is war stories, My bro there never got the chance to beat Cortland, that's when they went on that 7 year streak but I think it's one of, if not the best rivalry in college football."
Not only will the game be special for the coaches and players, but also for students past and present. Cortland Senior Captain Angelo Foster says, "I think it means a lot, not only to both schools but the alumni and the people in the past who have played in this game. It's a great honor for everyone to be a part of it and just be in that stadium and have that feeling collectively as one. I take great pride in it from both schools, and I think we're going to put on an amazing show."