Ibitokun-Hanks Leads Football To 35-7 Win Over URI
KINGSTON, R.I. – Sophomore running back Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks ran for three touchdowns and 178 yards, leading the University at Albany football team to a 35-7 victory over Rhode Island, Saturday at Meade Stadium. With the win, the Great Danes improved to 2-0 on the season and 1-0 in CAA play.
- Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks led the offense with three rushing touchdowns and 178 rushing yards on 27 carries.
- Wide receivers Jordan Crockett and Dione Alston each had two receptions, accruing 25 yards and 23 yards, respectively.
- In the run-heavy game, starting quarterback Neven Sussman went 2-for-9 with an interception, totaling seven passing yards. In the second half, D.J. Crook went 4-for-7 with 55 passing yards.
- Defensively, cornerback Rayshan Clark and linebacker Michael Nicastro each returned an interception for a touchdown. Clark’s pick-six was a 25-yard return, while Nicastro had an 80-yard return and totaled four solo tackles in the contest.
- Abner Logan had a team-high six tackles, while Neil Morrison recorded five tackles and a fumble recovery. Sophomore Mason Gray also had five tackles and an interception.
- The Great Danes broke onto the board with 1:19 remaining in the first quarter when Ibitokun-Hanks capped a nine-play 67-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown run.
- Rhode Island answered back with 8:38 left in the second quarter on running back T.J. Anderson’s two-yard rush.
- However, from there UAlbany scored 28 unanswered points. Racking up 133 rushing yards alone in the first half, Ibitokun-Hanks gave the Danes the lead for good with a 28-yard touchdown scamper on fourth-and-two with 27 seconds remaining in the second stanza.
- With 19 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Ibitokun-Hanks broke free for a 20-yard end zone dash, giving UAlbany a 21-7 advantage.
- UAlbany’s defense accounted for the Great Danes’ final two touchdowns, starting with Clark’s 25-yard interception return with 14:50 on the clock in the fourth quarter.
- Nicastro’s 80-yard pick-six with 11:25 remaining gave UAlbany a commanding 35-7 advantage.
Coach Gattuso generally on the game: “I thought we played a hard road game. We moved the ball throughout the game. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot a little bit, made some mistakes, but ultimately we ran the ball very well today. We struggled in the pass game. I thought D.J. Crook did a great job when he went in. All in all I was happy. It was a big CAA win for us and a big road win for us.”
Coach Gattuso on Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks: “He’s a really talented running back, and we really challenge our players to just do their jobs. He just does his job. If we can get everybody doing that, we’ll be a challenge for everybody every week. He runs hard and he’s relentless.”
Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks on the offense’s run game: “It definitely gives our offense life. Not every time is your passing game going to be there, and not every time is your running game going to be there. But when you have something that’s clicking, it just keeps us alive and able to keep us going so we can figure out something that’s going to help us win the game.”
- Gave UAlbany a 4-14 all-time record vs. CAA opponents.
- Improved UAlbany’s series record to 3-1 against Rhode Island.
- Improved UAlbany’s all-time varsity record to 268-183.
- Improved Coach Gattuso’s career record to 109-45.
- Improved Coach Gattuso’s record at UAlbany to 12-13.
UAlbany opens its home schedule against Holy Cross on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. Click here to purchase tickets.