Bill Ziskin

No. 25 Football Improves To 3-0 With 45-28 Win Over Holy Cross

UAlbany Sports Information   09-18-2016
ALBANY, N.Y. – Led by Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks’ four rushing touchdowns and Neven Sussman’s two long touchdown passes to Zee Roberson, the No. 25 ranked University at Albany football team overcame Holy Cross 45-28 Saturday night at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium. The home-opening win in front of 8,040 fans lifted the Great Danes to 3-0 on the season, while the Crusaders fell to 1-2.

  • Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks led the offense with four rushing touchdowns, tying the program’s Division I record. He carried the ball 28 times, totaling 183 yards. Ibitokun-Hanks has rushed for over 100 yards in each game this season, accruing 465 yards and eight touchdowns in just three contests.
  • Quarterback Neven Sussman completed 8-of-12 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Roberson totaled four receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Defensively, UAlbany forced four turnovers – three fumbles and an interception.
  • Abner Logan led the team with 13 tackles (four solo), including a sack and a fumble recovery. Michael Nicastro added 11 tackles (three solo) with a forced fumble.
  • Brian Dolce finished with a career-high eight tackles with a sack and a fumble recovery.


  • Holy Cross struck first, scoring on Peter Pujals’ nine-yard pass to Jordan Montgomery with 1:47 remaining in the first quarter.
  • However, UAlbany answered with 31 straight points, starting with Ibitokun-Hanks’ 40-yard touchdown scamper with 14:21 remaining in the second quarter.
  • In the Danes’ next drive, Sussman hit Roberson with a 41-yard touchdown pass, giving UAlbany a 14-7 advantage after Ethan Stark’s point-after.
  • On Jon Martin’s 55-yard punt, Eli Mencer ripped the ball away from Darrius Lucy on the return at the Holy Cross 24 yard line. The turnover turned into a score for UAlbany, as Ibitokun-Hanks punched his way across the goal line on a four-yard run with 4:58 left in the half.
  • After the defense made a stop, Sussman connected with Roberson again with a 49-yard touchdown pass, making the score 28-7 at halftime.
  • Stark knocked his first career field goal though the uprights with 11:48 on the clock in the third with a 42-yard kick.
  • Holy Cross got back on the board, scoring back-to-back touchdowns, cutting the margin to 10, 31-21.
  • Pujals his Jake Wieczorek with an 18-yard pass with 6:50 remaining in the third and Richie DeNicola with a three-yard pass with 13:33 left in the game.
  • Ibitokun-Hanks scored his third touchdown of the clash on an explosive seven-yard run at the 9:19 mark.
  • Holy Cross made it 38-28 on Lucas Nikolaisen’s five-yard touchdown rush with 5:48 left.
  • But, Ibitokun-Hanks put the game away for UAlbany with his record-tying 13-yard end zone dash with 4:14 to go.


Coach Gattuso on the crowd: “I can’t tell you how nice it is to get home and have a crowd like this. It was huge. Our student section was unbelievable all night and our fans, I can’t thank them enough. When we were struggling in the third quarter, it was really loud down on the field and they got us a win.”

Coach Gattuso on the offensive line: “I love our offensive line. We’ve challenged them for the last two years to become who they are and I’m fired up about them. They’re going out there and playing against whoever lines up. We don’t worry about opponents; we just keep doing what we do. You have to give them a lot of credit.”

Zee Roberson on the win: “We’re all real confident in the way we’re playing. The defense is playing lights out and we have a great running game. Our passing game is starting to get there now. We’re clicking on all cylinders.”


- Improved UAlbany’s record to 3-0 overall.
- Improved UAlbany’s series record to 2-1 against Holy Cross.
- Improved UAlbany’s all-time varsity record to 269-183.
- Improved Coach Gattuso’s career record to 110-45.
- Improved Coach Gattuso’s record at UAlbany to 13-13.

UAlbany hosts Saint Francis (Pa.) next Saturday at 7 p.m. in another non-conference clash. Click here to purchase tickets.





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