November game at MetLife Stadium will set Div. III attendance record

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The month of October isn’t even over with yet, but a lower level of football has already set an all-time record that will officially be realized next month.

A pair of Division III programs, Ithaca College and SUNY Cortland, will square off Nov. 16 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, in the annual battle for the Cortaca Jug.  The National Football Foundation announced in a press release this week that, a little more than six weeks ahead of kickoff, more than 39,000 tickets have been sold thus far for the 61st playing of the rivalry game.

“It has been thrilling to see the exceptional involvement and tremendous energy that this year’s Cortaca game has inspired among Ithaca College’s alumni, students, faculty, staff and leadership,” said Ithaca College President Shirley M. Collado. “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 contributing deeply to our connection to one another. 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.”

“We are incredibly excited about this announcement, but we are not surprised,” SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum said. “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. At Cortland, we don’t believe in half measures. We go all in. And that spirit is reflected by the amazing support given to this record-breaking event.”

The 39,000-plus (and counting) tickets break the previous record for a Div. III game, surpassing the 37,355 sold for the 2017 St. John’s-St. Thomas matchup at Target Field in Minneapolis that was the first-ever college football game played at the baseball stadium.

The record that game broke?  The 17,327 that were in attendance for the 2015 St. Thomas-St. John’s game.