ALBANY — In its last 11 road games, the University at Albany football program has registered zero wins.
Richmond? That’s a program the Great Danes have never beaten in six tries.
Both those unpleasant streaks have a solid shot to end Saturday when UAlbany visits Richmond for a 2 p.m. CAA matchup.
“And it’s time for things to change,” UAlbany redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Mazon Walker said earlier this week.
UAlbany (1-0, 3-2) has won its last two games, while Richmond (0-1, 1-3) hasn’t won since its season-opening game against Jacksonville.
“They’re smarting right now, and I’m expecting them to be wired up for this football game,” UAlbany head coach Greg Gattuso said of the Spiders.
The same goes for UAlbany, though, which needs to show it can win away from Tom & Mary Casey Stadium. The Great Danes haven’t done that since Sept. 2017 at Morgan State, and recording a road win holds more long-term importance for UAlbany than simply beating Richmond does for the Great Danes.
The Great Danes have outscored their opponents 120-41 at Casey Stadium, while UAlbany has been outdone 76-56 on the road. Gattuso said “there’s no magic trick” available to get the Great Danes’ road performances to be more similar to its home ones, but that he’s confident his program is on the verge of finding more success away from Albany.
“We believe in what we do,” Gattuso said.
While Richmond has dominated its series against UAlbany, the Great Danes are the ones coming into this year’s matchup with momentum. UAlbany has been stellar in special-teams situations, has consistently made big plays on defense and possesses an offense that ranks in the upper half of the CAA in nearly every major category.
Leading that UAlbany offense has been quarterback Jeff Undercuffler. The redshirt freshman has completed 60.8% of his passes for 1,213 yards, and leads the CAA in passing touchdowns with 15.
How solid has Undercuffler been this year for the Great Danes, a program that has long struggled to find consistent play at the quarterback position?
“It’s like a pitcher pitching a no-hitter,” Gattuso said. “You’re afraid to talk about it.”
The Great Danes this week, too, weren’t interested in focusing on their past road woes.
“Honestly, it’s just another week. Whether we’re home or away, we’ve got our game plan,” UAlbany redshirt junior tight end LJ Wesneski said. “No matter where we’re at, we’re playing on a 100-yard field, and it comes down to us executing and getting our jobs done.”
If UAlbany does that against Richmond, it will end a pair of unsavory streaks and push itself to 2-0 in conference play and 4-2 overall. While Richmond will feel the pressure to avoid a four-game losing streak, the Great Danes don’t want to fall back to .500.
“Their backs are against the wall,” Gattuso said, “and we feel that way, too.”