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Morrisville State football falls to Cortland

Release written by Fran Elia, Cortland State SID

CORTLAND, N.Y. – Junior tailback Andrew Giuliano (Thornwood/Westlake) rushed for 247 yards, the second highest single-game total in school history, and scored three touchdowns on only 16 carries as Cortland opened its season with a 71-7 victory over Morrisville State. The game - Cortland’s first home night contest - was delayed twice due to lightning for a combined three hours and 13 minutes and did not end until 12:46 a.m. Sunday morning.

Giuliano’s three touchdown runs of 73, 58 and 14 yards all came during a 35-point third quarter for the Red Dragons (1-0). He also blocked a punt that was returned 23 yards by junior Michael Zielinski (Corning/Corning East) for a touchdown late in the first half. Giuliano is Cortland’s first 200-yard rusher since Gareth Grayson accomplished the feat four times during the 1988 season (including twice in the NCAA playoffs). Cortland’s single-game rushing record is 276 yards by Dave Cook in 1983.

Senior fullback Brian Bert (Massapequa Park/Massapequa) caught two touchdown passes and freshman tailback Cory Russell (LaFayette) ran for 10 and 8-yard fourth-quarter touchdowns. Cortland’s other scores came on a 62-yard interception return by senior Ricky Case (Rochester/Gates-Chili), a 4-yard touchdown pass from junior Ray Miles (Port Byron) to sophomore Zacc Guaragno (Lansing) and a 40-yard field goal by senior Matthew Mintz (Lawrence). Mintz was also successful on all eight of his point-after kicks and has made 52 straight attempts dating back to 2005.

The game’s first lightning delay came just prior to the opening kickoff and lasted for more than an hour. Cortland took a 7-0 lead on a 2-yard pass from senior Alex Smith (Niagara Falls/Niagara Wheatfield) to Bert with 10:53 left in the first quarter on the Red Dragons’ opening drive. Smith, however, left the game on Cortland’s next possession after suffering an injury after an 11-yard scramble. Morrisville (0-2) tied the game at 7-7 with 11:59 left in the second quarter. Sophomore Keith Oquendo (Staten Island/Tottenville) blocked a punt, sending the ball into the air. Freshman Mike Kingston (Rocky Point) caught the ball at the 10-yard line and ran in for the tying touchdown.

Cortland lost starting tailback Dustin Bowser (Jamestown/Smithtown) to injury on its next possession after the senior had gained 47 yards on eight carries. On their next possession, the Red Dragons drove to the Mustangs’ 2-yard line before another lightning sighting delayed the game for more than two hours. The game resumed at 11:15 p.m. and, following a 1-yard loss, Miles connected on a 3-yard scoring pass to Bert to give Cortland a 14-7 lead.

Zielinski’s blocked punt return and Mintz’s field goal, which came on the final play of the half, put Cortland up 24-7. The teams bypassed a halftime break and Cortland quickly struck when Giuliano broke free for a 73-yard touchdown run just 1:02 into the third quarter. He ran 58 yards for a score off an option pitch on the next possession to extend the lead to 38-7.

A wild snap by Morrisville on a punt formation gave Cortland the ball at the Mustangs’ 14-yard line and Giuliano surpassed the 200-yard mark with a 14-yard touchdown rush on the next play. A 43-yard Giuliano run set up Cortland’s next score, the 4-yard pass from Miles to Guaragno on the final play of the third quarter. Cortland’s next two possessions both started inside the Morrisville 30-yard line due to fumbles and both resulted in Russell touchdown runs. Russell ran for 42 yards on six carries.

Cortland outgained Morrisville 458-135 in total yardage, with the Red Dragons’ 362 net rushing yards the fourth-best total in school history. Morrisville freshman running back Ahmad Burks (Syracuse/Corcoran) rushed for 42 yards on 10 carries. Junior quarterback Billy Poling (Waretown, NJ/Southern Regional) ran for 33 yards and completed 6-of-23 passes for 67 yards. Junior Eddie Hull (Brewerton/Central Square) made four catches for 56 yards.

Junior linebacker Jim Smith (Nanuet) led Cortland’s defense with 10 tackles and a pass breakup. Sophomore Bryan Wiley (Cape Vincent/Thousand Islands) made 2.5 tackles for losses, including one sack, and finished with six tackles. For Morrisville, freshman defensive back Nick Hildreth (Glens Falls), junior cornerback Ryan Campbell (Long Beach) and freshman linebacker Bryant Parker (Windsor) each recorded seven tackles.