ALBANY — So is this going to become an every-week thing?
University at Albany football freshman Dev Holmes, who scored a game-winning touchdown Saturday for the second consecutive week, won’t tell.
“You’re going to have to wait and see,” a smiling Holmes said after UAlbany’s 35-28 win against Saint Francis. “You’re going to have to come to the games.”
Against Saint Francis, Holmes and the UAlbany offense delivered plenty of reasons for people to do just that. With Holmes leading the way, the Great Danes compiled 503 yards of total offense and scored four touchdowns — three through the air, one on the ground — as they evened their record heading into their bye week.
“You saw tonight what we can do on offense when we’re clicking,” UAlbany head coach Greg Gattuso said.
In the win, redshirt senior Vincent Testaverde was 21 of 28 passing for 331 yards, using Holmes (seven receptions for 128 yards) and junior Jerah Reeves (six receptions for 104 yards) as his main targets. Meanwhile, redshirt junior Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks used 19 carries to gain 92 yards and score a touchdown, and sophomore Karl Mofor collected 92 rushing yards on six carries.
“It’s the kind of offense we want to be,” Gattuso said after his team’s win in front of a crowd of 3,840 at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium. “Hopefully, we can continue to play like this. We’re tough to defend right now, and that’s what we want.”
Tied at 28 in the fourth quarter, Testaverde — who was questionable to play with an injured non-throwing hand — connected with Holmes for a 24-yard touchdown with 7:50 to go. From there, the UAlbany defense took over, making Holmes’ touchdown stand as the game-winning score a week after his late-game 88-yard touchdown did the same for the Great Danes.
On his second touchdown Saturday, Holmes said the Saint Francis defense fell for a play-action fake to Ibitokun-Hanks.
“I ran a slant and was 1-on-1 with a linebacker,” Holmes said, “and I know I’m faster than him.”
UAlbany got into halftime with a 20-14 lead after a quick offensive burst netted the Great Danes three extra points before intermission. Already up 17-14, UAlbany took possession at its 17-yard line with 39 seconds to halftime, and Mofor took a handoff on the drive’s first play and gained 74 yards. A few plays later, redshirt senior Ethan Stark made a 21-yard field goal as the second quarter ended.
Also in the first half, UAlbany scored on an 11-yard pass from Testaverde to Holmes and on a 31-yard rush from Ibitokun-Hanks. In the opening two quarters, Testaverde was 13 of 18 passing for 190 yards and Holmes had four receptions for 102 yards.
Reeves scored his touchdown in the third quarter, which ended with UAlbany (2-2) and Saint Francis (1-3) tied at 28.
All-time, UAlbany improved to 16-0 against Saint Francis. More importantly, the Great Danes made it back to .500 on the 2018 season after their 0-2 start.
“Nothing, certainly, is easy for us right now, but we fought through turnovers and penalties again, and were able to get a win,” Gattuso said. “We just kept being resilient.”
Testaverde said his left hand hurt “a little bit” after Saturday’s game. He wore a glove on his injured hand, and its middle and ring fingers were taped together over the glove.
The win, he said, made the pain worth it. Heading into an off week, Testaverde said the Great Danes are feeling good about themselves after their tough start.
“Absolutely. It’s never good losing. It’s never good having a losing record,” Testaverde said. “Bouncing back and getting two straight wins, it’s definitely going to give us good energy.”
St. Francis 7 7 14 0 — 28
Albany 7 13 8 7 — 35
A — Ibitokun-Hanks 31 run (Stark kick)
S — Jordan-Toney 4 run (Bofenkamp kick)
A — Holmes 11 pass from Testaverde (Stark kick)
S — Denley 8 pass from Fenimore (Bofenkamp kick)
A — Stark 31 kick
A — Stark 21 kick
S — Holder 57 pass from Fenimore (Bofenkamp kick)
A — Reeves 65 pass from Testaverde (Ibitokun-Hanks run)
S — Johnson 1 pass from Fenimore (Bofenkamp kick)
A — Holmes 21 pass from Testaverde (Stark kick)