ITHACA, N.Y. – Ithaca College quarterback Phil Neumann found receiver Joseph Ingrao on a post route down the middle of the field for a 58-yard touchdown with 32 seconds remaining, as the Bombers shocked the No. 8 Salisbury University football team, 21-14, on Saturday at Butterfield Stadium.
Salisbury (6-2, 4-1 Empire 8), which trailed the until senior quarterback Dan Griffin hooked up with sophomore slot Isaiah Taylor on a 7-yard touchdown pass with 1:41 left in the game, saw its 12-game Empire 8 Athletic Conference winning streak come to an end.
On the winning touchdown, Ingrao, the E8's leading receiver, caught the Neumann pass and outraced safety Michael Landry to the goal line for the lead.
Salisbury took the ensuing kickoff to its 35-yard line, but Griffin's desperation heave from the SU 46 fell incomplete.
Trailing, 14-0, on a 7-yard touchdown run by Clay Ardoin with 4:26 to go in the third, Salisbury's offense got on track. Benedetti started things with a 13-yard run on second-and-five. Griffin and Benedetti followed with 11 yards on the next two plays for another first down to midfield. Another first down on a 10-yard run from Griffin, coupled with a personal-foul penalty, moved the ball to the Ithaca 22.
Two plays later, a facemask put the ball on the Bombers 8, prior to a 4-yard run by Griffin set up Benedetti's eighth TD of the season with 15 seconds left in the quarter.
The Sea Gulls got the ball back with 11:45 left in the game and drove to the Ithaca 33-yard line on the strength of three first downs, but defensive end Skylar Schlenker stopped Benedetti on fourth down.
The Gulls' defense forced a three and out and SU marched 63 yards in seven plays for the tying touchdown. The key play came when Griffin hit Taylor on a 28-yard pass completion to the Ithaca 24.
Ithaca (5-3, 3-3) opened the scoring in the first quarter as Sam Carney returned a Kyle Hamby punt 60 yards to the SU 2-yard line. The Sea Gulls looked as if they would limit the Bombers to a field-goal try, but a roughing-the-kicker call gave IC another shot and Neumann found Jared Prugar, who made a diving grab in the right side of the end zone, for 7-0 lead with 1:07 to go in the quarter.
Salisbury was held to just 185 yards rushing on 48 attempts and 263 overall, while Ithaca kept the ball for 31:32 on the day.
Benedetti finished with 132 yards and one TD on 22 carries. Griffin was 7-for-16 with 78 yards and a score passing and had 36 yards rushing on 18 carries.
Taylor caught five passes for 73 yards and a touchdown.
Neumann threw for 215 yards on 20-for-30 passing with two TDs. Ingrao had a game-high six catches for 110 yards.
Landry and Matt McMurdo each totaled a team-high nine tackles. Landry had three for loss, McMurdo two and one sack.
Skylar Griffenberg finished with a game-best 14 tackles for the Bombers, including 10 solo and half a tackle for loss.
SU returns home to host Utica College next Saturday at noon on Senior Day. A Sea Gulls' win would give them at least a share of the conference title.