Albany

After finally getting a win, UAlbany football goes after another against Morgan State

UAlbany running back Karl Mofor (21) carries the ball Oct. 16 against Villanova.
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UAlbany running back Karl Mofor (21) carries the ball Oct. 16 against Villanova.

Last Saturday, the weight of that ominous “0” in the win column was finally lifted from the UAlbany football team’s collective shoulders.

After eight straight losses to start this season — and 11 defeats in a row dating back to the spring — the 20-7 victory over New Hampshire was a sigh of relief for a Great Danes team that’s lost five games by seven or fewer points this season.

The win was validation, UAlbany head coach Greg Gattuso said, for the team’s refusal to throw in the towel despite its rough season, something that the head coach said running back Karl Mofor pointed out in the post-game press conference.

“We’ve lost heartbreakers and tight games every week. Winnable games,” Gattuso said Monday during the CAA’s weekly coaches’ teleconference. “They believe in themselves. Karl said it best after the game to the media, he said, ‘Sometimes, you start doubting what you’re practicing for when things aren’t going your way.’ But, they never gave up. The key is sticking to your message and sticking together.”

Now, the Great Danes have the chance to wrap up their home schedule on a high note as Morgan State visits Tom & Mary Casey Stadium on Saturday at 1 p.m. for a non-conference clash of two teams both coming off their first victories of the season.

“We’ve played Morgan State twice in the past, and they’ve been really tight, tough games for us,” Gattuso said. “Right now, we’re just worried about us. We don’t focus on the other team so much. If we can take the brand of football we played Saturday and that we’ve been developing really since our off week . . . we’ve got a great chance of winning Saturday.”

It was on Mofor’s shoulders that UAlbany (1-6 CAA, 1-8 overall) was delivered its first win of the year. The reliable running back normally gets a high volume of carries, but the New Hampshire game took that to an extreme.

The Great Danes handed the ball to Mofor again and again, resulting in a school-record 45 carries that resulted in 222 yards and both UAlbany touchdowns.

Why so many carries? Because in a season filled with so many near-misses and crucial mistakes, there’s simply nobody on the UAlbany roster that Gattuso trusts with the ball as much as Mofor when the chips are down.

“Normally, we’d never go in with the plan of giving someone the ball 45 times,” Gattuso said. “I’ve done it before, but it’s not something that you plan on. We always feel Karl needs 25 touches a game, whether it’s in the pass game or the run game, but we really needed to hold on and win. We’ve been in these nail-biters every week, mistakes in critical moments have hurt us, and I just really trust him with the football in his hands.”

Categories: College Sports, Sports

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