Big plays from Green, Mencer not enough in Football opener
Score: Central Michigan 38, UAlbany 21
Location: Kelly/Shorts Stadium in Mount Pleasant, Mich.
Records: UAlbany 0-1 | Central Michigan 1-0
Short story: Eli Mencer scored on a spectacular fumble return for touchdown and Juwan Green caught a pair of TD passes, but the University at Albany football team fell to Central Michigan, 38-21, in the season opener Saturday.
- Quarterback Jeff Undercuffler completed 15-of-28 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns, both of which went to Juwan Green.
- Green finished with five catches for 94 yards.
- Safety AJ Mistler led the UAlbany defense with 11 tackles (nine solo).
- Eli Mencer’s forced fumble was the eight of his career. In addition to the fumble returned for a touchdown, he had a sack and two tackles for a loss.
Coach Gattuso: “It’s a disappointing loss, but there are some good things in there. I thought Juwan Green was really good and tough to cover. Karl (Mofor) ran hard. The O-line had their battles today, but they hung in there. And I thought the quarterback took to a step forward today and made some plays.”
The University at Albany football team got a highlight-reel defensive touchdown from Eli Mencer and two TD passes from Jeff Undercuffler to Juwan Green, but Central Michigan held on for a 38-21 victory Saturday at Kelly/Shorts Stadium in Mount Pleasant, Mich.
Facing an FBS opponent to start the season for the fifth consecutive year, the Great Danes fought back from a 17-0 hole and pulled within 10 points in the fourth quarter when Mencer stripped the CMU quarterback, scooped up the ball and dashed 52 yards for a touchdown.
It was Mencer’s eighth career forced fumble and second fumble recovered for a touchdown.
Green had scored the Great Danes’ first two touchdowns, catching TD passes of 36 and nine yards from Undercuffler.
But against Central Michigan, of the Mid-American Conference, UAlbany played from behind almost throughout. The Great Danes fell behind 7-0 with 4:43 left in the first quarter and 17-0 with 8:35 left before halftime.
UAlbany got on the board with 5:27 left in the second quarter, when Undercuffler finished an 88-yard touchdown drive with his first TD pass to Green, who caught a slant over the middle and ran untouched to the end zone.
The TD was set up by Karl Mofor’s 36-yard catch one play earlier. On the play, Undercuffler stood tall under pressure and found Mofor over the middle. The junior running back then motored down the sideline into CMU territory, setting up the touchdown on the next play.
But Central Michigan answered before halftime, scoring on a 4-yard TD pass with two seconds left to go ahead 24-7 at the intermission.
UAlbany got within 10 points twice in the second half. Green’s second TD catch cut the lead to 10 at 24-14, and Mencer made it 31-21 before Central Michigan closed out the scoring on a 12-yard run with 6:17 to play.
Up next: UAlbany plays to host to Bryant at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, in its home opener at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets.