ALBANY — It was a satisfying win, but not a surprising one.
That’s how the University at Albany football processed last weekend’s 38-21 win at then-No. 9 Towson, a game that produced the type of victory the Great Danes felt like they had been working toward securing throughout this season.
“That was one of the reasons we had so much success in that game,” UAlbany senior defensive back Dante Mount said after Tuesday’s practice at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium, where the Great Danes will play Rhode Island this weekend. “We really believed we could beat them.”
Before that season-lifting win, UAlbany had suffered a disappointing loss at Richmond. While his team is confident in its ability to continue building on its 4-3 start to the season, head coach Greg Gattuso said the Great Danes also know they’re not in a spot to take anything for granted.
“Football’s like golf,” Gattuso said. “You have about three or four good holes and you think you’ve got the thing mastered — and, then, you have three 8s in a row and you lose your ball every hole. Football’s like that. I don’t believe momentum carries over, but I do think confidence does.”
That’s something UAlbany has a lot of following its first road win since early in the 2017 season.
“The confidence is definitely through the roof right now,” said redshirt freshman quarterback Jeff Undercuffler, who earned a share of the CAA co-Offensive Player of the Week award after a performance in which he was 23 of 30 passing for 380 yards and two touchdowns.
UAlbany — now 2-1 in the CAA — has outscored its opponents 234-161 this season, while next-up Rhode Island is 1-5 with three of its losses coming in one-possession games.
“They’ve had tough luck this year,” Gattuso said.
Gattuso liked the “energy” his team practiced with Tuesday. His players, he said, worked with an urgency that suggested no complacency had set in after the program recorded its third win against a top-10 program in as many years.
“We’ve got to stay focused,” Mount said. “We beat a good team, but we can’t let that get in the way of what we have to do moving forward.”
For a dozen games and more than two years, UAlbany went without a road win before breaking through at Towson.
“I’ve not had this issue before, and I hope I never have to deal with it again,” Gattuso said of the Great Danes’ road woes. “I hope we’re over it.”
This season, UAlbany lost its first three road games during a 3-3 start that saw the team outscore opponents 120-41 at home and get outscored 99-76 away from Casey Stadium.
JOINING THE CLUB
Mount became the third defensive player to score a touchdown this season for UAlbany, along with redshirt seniors Eli Mencer and Jarren Williams. Mount forced a fumble late in the fourth quarter, then returned it 26 yards for the score.
At first, Mount said, he didn’t know the ball had popped loose.
“But the ball was sitting right in front of me,” Mount said. “It was one of those things where you’re like, ‘Is it really right there?’ So I just picked it up and ran.”
Gattuso said redshirt senior offensive lineman Griffin Clancy will likely miss Saturday’s game.
“He’s going to probably be out another week or so here,” Gattuso said of Clancy, who hurt his ankle several weeks ago.
Clancy briefly played against Towson before he was replaced with redshirt junior offensive lineman Ryan Lape