Previewing Week 4 of the area college football season

Union's Andre Ross, Jr. avoids a tackle by Worcester State's Nathan Baptista at Frank Bailey Field Saturday, September 10, 2022.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Union's Andre Ross, Jr. avoids a tackle by Worcester State's Nathan Baptista at Frank Bailey Field Saturday, September 10, 2022.

Week 4 action in the local college football season will take place Saturday.

Before kickoff, here’s a look at the matchups facing Union, UAlbany and RPI this week.

UTICA AT UNION, 1 P.M.

A brilliant start to the season that’s seen Union (3-0 overall) outscore its three opponents 139-40 has the Dutchmen back in the NCAA Division III national rankings, checking in at No. 25 in this week’s poll. 

Union is coming off a 21-6 win last week at Springfield that combined a dominant defensive effort with a 124-yard rushing performance from Ike Irabor, who earned Liberty League Offensive Player of the Week honors. Quarterback Donovan Pacatte has accounted for 10 touchdowns this season — seven rushing, three passing — and the Cobleskill native is completing 65% of his passes while averaging better than 18 yards per completion.

Saturday’s game will be Union’s non-conference finale, and the first game at Frank Bailey Field since the team’s historic 76-7 win over Worcester State two weeks ago.

Utica (3-0 overall) also enters with an undefeated mark, but has played significantly closer games than the Dutchmen, with the Pioneers winning their last two games by a combined eight points. The Pioneers’ starting quarterback is Braeden Zenelovic, who transferred to Utica prior to this season after starting his career at UAlbany.

CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE AT UALBANY, 3:30 P.M.

The last time the Blue Devils visited Tom & Mary Casey Stadium, it was in the first round of the 2019 NCAA FCS tournament, with UAlbany picking up its first-ever win in the national playoffs.

A little less than three years later, and when the two teams meet on Saturday, they’re both looking for their first win of the season.

UAlbany (0-1 CAA, 0-3 overall) has come close in back-to-back weeks against New Hampshire and Fordham, but hasn’t been able to get key defensive stops to turn the tide. The UAlbany offense did have a banner day in last Saturday’s 48-45 loss to Fordham, with quarterback Reese Poffenbarger throwing for a school-record 412 yards — the first 400-yard passing game in program history — while running back Todd Sibley Jr. ran for 123 yards and three touchdowns while adding 46 yards and a score on a pair of receptions.

Central Connecticut State (0-1 NEC, 0-3 overall), coached by former UAlbany assistant Ryan McCarthy, is coming off a 70-6 loss to Southeastern Louisiana last week and has scored just 19 points in three games.

RPI AT ST. JOHN FISHER, 4 P.M.

RPI’s offense struggled through the first two weeks of the season, but the Engineers (2-1 overall) got things back on track in last week’s 37-0 win over WPI that saw Dylan Burnett run for 130 yards and a touchdown while Matt Petercuskie tossed a pair of touchdown passes.

The RPI defense has been fierce through three games, allowing just 17 total points. Connor Noyes was the Liberty League Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against WPI that included nine tackles, a sack and an interception, and the Engineers sacked WPI’s quarterbacks eight times.

Now, after three straight home games, the Engineers embark on a three-game road trip, starting with their final non-conference matchup of the season. They’ll be in Rochester to face a St. John Fisher (1-2 overall) team that started its season with a 62-21 win over Buffalo State, but has since lost back-to-back games to Framingham State and Hobart.

Categories: College Sports, Sports, Sports, UAlbany, Union College

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