Personal milestones don’t mean much to veteran University at
Albany head coach Bob Ford when compared to pivotal games in the league championship hunt.
Fresh off his 250th career win, which is fourth among the FCS all-time leaders in victories, Ford’s Great Danes (2-0, 3-2) take on Northeast Conference co-leader Robert Morris (2-0, 2-3) today in a battle for undisputed possession of first place. The game, set for 1:07 p.m. on University Field, is also part of UAlbany’s Homecoming celebration.
Last week, UAlbany crushed a high-powered Duquesne unit, 38-10, behind a potent offense and defense. UAlbany free safety Justin Hassan intercepted Dukes’ QB Sean Patterson’s first pass of the game to set up the second touchdown as the Great Danes pulled out to a 21-0 lead.
UAlbany quarterback Dan Di Lella passed for a pair of touchdowns and ran for a career-best 90 yards for the Danes, who piled up 493 total yards of offense, their highest figure since Oct. 9, 2004. The Danes ran for 301 yards, including 101 from Guilderland’s Andrew Smith, who now has three straight 100-yard performances.
“We had as an amazing first quarter as we’ve ever had against Duquesne,” said Ford. “We did everything perfectly, and we executed at a very high level. Plus, our running game has gotten so much better over the last few games. I told our guys that if they want to play in December, they’ve got to run the football. Drew Smith is becoming a good college running back, and Dillon Romain is also an outstanding back. We really have three running backs that we use primarily, and they are all running well.”
Ford said the other good thing about the Duquesne game was that his defense wasn’t on the field for prolonged periods.
“We’ve had trouble getting our defense off the field, but with four interceptions last week, we got the defense off the field, plus we had great field position,” he said
Robert Morris, which captured last year’s Northeast Conference championship, is led by quarterback Jeff Sinclair, who has completed 67 of 122 passes for 791 yards and seven scores. He also has three rushing TDs.
The Colonials are coached by former New York Jets head coach Joe Walton, who has a 105-73-1 record in 18 seasons. He is the Colonials’ original coach and has directed them to six league championships. Walton also played in the NFL with the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins.
“It’s a tremendous challenge to focus week after week, but we’ve got a pretty good team this year. We have a great group of kids, and an excellent staff,” said Ford. “I know coach Walton has a couple of pro coaches on his staff, along with himself, and he’ll have his kids ready. Robert Morris is the only team in our league that we don’t have an advantage against in the all-time series.”
UNION ON THE ROAD
The Dutchmen (2-1, 2-4) look to bounce back from a tough 41-24 loss to Hobart last week when they visit St. Lawrence (1-1, 2-3) at Leckonby Stadium in Canton.
Union needed to beat the Statesmen in order to remain undefeated in Liberty League play and in charge of its own title hopes. Now, the Dutchmen will need plenty of help from other teams in the league if they have any chance for the playoffs.
Although the Dutchmen have plenty of rushing depth among T.J. Franzese (237 yards), Dylan Schuck (186) and Darnel Thomas (152 yards), it’s their passing attack that carries the load. Drew Connolly has completed 97 of 162 passes for 1,583 yards and 14 touchdowns, including 11 to ace receiver Justin Gallo, who is fourth in the nation in receiving yards per game (142). Connolly is fourth on the team’s all-time passing yards list with 6,334.
St Lawrence is paced by tailback Marcus Washington (664 yards, four TDs) and quarerback Nik Busharis (59-for-114, 658 yards, 10 TDs).
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Categories: College Sports