Bill Ziskin

Football rallies, but falls just short vs. No. 13 Delaware

UAlbany Sports Information   11-03-2018

Football score: No. 13 Delaware 21, UAlbany 16

Location: Tom & Mary Casey Stadium in Albany, N.Y.

Records: UAlbany 2-7, 0-6 CAA | Delaware 7-2, 5-1 CAA

Short story: The University at Albany football team rallied from 12 points down to take a fourth-quarter lead, but No. 13 Delaware’s touchdown with 18 seconds to play was the decisive score in the Blue Hens’ 21-16 victory Saturday in a CAA game at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium. UAlbany players wore decals with the names of military members on the backs of their helmets as part of the program's annual "Military Appreciation Day."

Key stats

- Making his first career start, freshman quarterback Jeff Undercuffler competed 15-of-28 passes for 171 yards. He led a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that spanned the third and fourth quarters to allow UAlbany to take a 16-15 lead.

- UAlbany’s defense limited one of the CAA’s top offenses to 268 yards. The defensive effort was highlighted by a first-half goal-line stand during which the Great Danes stopped the Blue Hens on four straight plays from the 1-yard line. Danny Damico led UAlbany with 10 tackles (five solo).

- Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks (78 yards) and Karl Mofor (54) helped UAlbany gain 128 yards on the ground. Each ran for a touchdown.

Quote

Head Coach Greg Gattuso: “I thought we played really, really hard against a good football team. It’s just disappointing to lose a heartbreaker. This is the third one we’ve lost with less than 30 seconds on the clock. It takes a toll, but our kids keep fighting. I know we’re going to come back next week and play a great one.”

Recap

Facing the No. 13-ranked team in the country, the University at Albany football team rallied from a 12-point deficit behind a stout defense and a freshman quarterback making his first career start.

But Delaware’s Kani Kane scored with 18 seconds left on a 14-yard touchdown run to ultimately lift the first-place Blue Hens to a 21-16 victory in a Colonial Athletic Association game at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium.

Jeff Undercuffler, making just his second collegiate appearance and first start at quarterback, completed 15-of-28 passes for 171 yards, and both Karl Mofor and Elijah Ibitokun Hanks ran for touchdowns for UAlbany on a blustery afternoon with sustained winds of 25 miles per hour.

The Great Danes fell for the fifth straight game while playing one of the most challenging schedules in the country down the stretch. They were facing a ranked opponent for the third consecutive week and still have games left against New Hampshire, which defeated No. 3-ranked James Madison on Saturday, and No. 16 Stony Brook.

Against Delaware, UAlbany took its first lead of the game, 16-15, on Mofor’s 4-yard touchdown run with 11:44 to go.

The Great Danes defense stopped Delaware’s next two drives three-and-out, but the Blue Hens got one more chance from their own 17-yard line with 2:35 to play. They ended up going 83 yards on 11 plays in 2 minutes, 17 seconds for what proved to be the winning score.

Delaware had led for most of the game after opening the scoring on a second-quarter safety. On the ensuing possession, Kane ran for his first touchdown from just 1 yard out, stretching the lead to 9-0.

After a Blue Hens’ field goal, UAlbany got on the board before halftime with Ethan Starks 21-yard kick. That score, which made it 12-3 Delaware at halftime, was set up by a drive that covered 70 yards on six plays in just 48 seconds. It included a key pass from Undercuffler to Jerah Reeves for 32 yards that moved UAlbany into Delaware territory.

Ibitokun-Hanks opened the second-half scoring with a 7-yard TD run that pulled UAlbany within 12-10 less than four minutes into the third quarter.

Delaware answered with a field goal with 3:01 left in the third to go ahead 15-10.

Looking ahead

UAlbany travels to Durham, N.H., to face New Hampshire at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10. The Wildcats will be coming off a 35-24 win over No. 3 James Madison.

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