Football To Battle Blue Hens Saturday



ALBANY, N.Y. – For the third straight week, the University at Albany football team will travel to a hostile game environment, taking on the University of Delaware Saturday at 12:00 p.m. on the Blue Hens’ Homecoming Weekend. The Great Danes hope to snap a four-game skid in the contest while Delaware will be looking to rebound from their first conference loss. The game will be televised live as part of the CAA Television Network on Comcast SportsNet Regional, and will also be carried by Time Warner Cable Sports in the Capital Region.

CATCH THE ACTION

TV: Saturday's action will be aired live on Comcast SportsNet as well as Time Warner Sports in the Capital Region.

AUDIO: The game can be heard in the Capital Region on FOX Sports 980AM or anywhere online here. To listen on your mobile device, download the iHeartRadio app and search for FOX Sports 980. Rodger Wyland and Zach Bye will have the call.

TWITTER: Follow @UAlbanySports on Twitter for live updates, photos and highlights. 

LIVE STATS: Live stats can be found here. A full recap and box score will be available at the conclusion of the game at UAlbanySports.com.

GAME NOTES: An in-depth look at the weekend's matchup.

THE SERIES WITH DELAWARE

Playing the Blue Hens twice before in Newark, UAlbany and Delaware each have one win in the all-time series. Delaware owns the most recent victory, topping the Great Danes, 38-7, on Sept. 27, 2008. On the other hand, UAlbany’s 17-10 upset victory over the Blue Hens on Sept. 16, 2006 is considered one of the best wins in program history. UAlbany’s Rashad Barksdale intercepted Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco’s pass in the end zone with 39 seconds left to save the victory in front of Delaware’s crowd of 22,016.


SCOUTING THE GREAT DANES
2013 Record: 1-5, 0-2 CAA
2012 Record: 9-2, 7-1 NEC (T-1st)
2013 CAA Preseason Poll: 10th/11
Head Coach: Bob Ford (41st varsity season at UAlbany/44th overall at UAlbany/45th overall as head coach) (256-163-0 / 265-185-1)
 
THE COACH: Bob Ford ranks first among active NCAA Division I FCS coaches with 265 career victories and is also fourth on the all-time FCS chart. Ford, the architect of the UAlbany program, has led the Great Danes to a 256-163 record in his 41st varsity season. Under his direction, the Great Danes have moved from the club level in 1970 to its present NCAA Division I FCS status. At the team’s media day on Aug. 13th, Ford announced that his 44th season at the helm in 2013 will be his last. More than 100 of Bob Ford’s assistant coaches are currently working in the professional, college and high school ranks.

UALBANY OVERVIEW: After winning back-to-back championships in the Northeast Conference, the Great Danes are in their first season competing in the CAA. Through six weeks of competition, UAlbany owns a 1-5 record, overcoming Colgate 37-34 in week two for the lone victory of the season. Offensively, the Great Danes are led by junior quarterback Will Fiacchi (110-195-4) who has thrown five touchdowns with an average of 213.7 passing yards per game. Senior Kevin Chillis has served as Fiacchi’s top receiver, making 30 catches for 329 yards and four touchdowns. On the ground, junior Omar Osbourne ranks third in the CAA and leads the squad with 137 carries and 658 rushing yards (109.7/game), while crossing the goal line six times this fall. Defensively, TJ Idowu and Christian Dorsey lead the team with 42 and 35 tackles, respectively.

LAST TIME OUT: In front of a sell-out crowd of 25,201 at Bridgeforth Stadium in Harrisonburg, Va., UAlbany fell 40-13 to the hosting James Madison University Dukes Saturday afternoon in CAA play. JMU improved to 4-2 overall and 1-1 in conference play, while the Great Danes dropped to 1-5 on the season and 0-2 in the CAA. On target all afternoon, junior quarterback Will Fiacchi completed 26-of-43 passes for a total of 214 passing yards and one touchdown. Tight end Brian Parker had a career day as Fiacchi’s top receiver, recording eight receptions for 71-yards. Senior wide receiver Kevin Chillis was also a go-to option with six receptions, 22-receiving-yards and a touchdown catch. On the ground, Omar Osbourne carried the ball 17 times, netting 59 rushing yards. Defensively, the Great Danes were led by Christian Dorsey’s eight tackles, while Alex Helmer and Michael Nicastro logged seven apiece.

SCOUTING THE BLUE HENS
2013 Record: 4-2, 1-1 CAA
2012 Record: 5-6, 2-6 CAA (8th/11)
Head Coach: Dave Brock (1st season at Delaware) (4-2/Same)
 
THE COACH: Dave Brock, a native of Moorestown, N.J. and a veteran of 22 collegiate seasons as an assistant coach, became just the fifth head coach of the Blue Hens since 1940 when he was hired in January 2013. Brock replaced K.C. Keeler, who led the Blue Hens for the last 11 seasons. Brock, 46, came to Delaware after serving one season as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under coach Kyle Flood at Rutgers University. In 2012, Rutgers posted a 9-4 record, won a share of the Big East title, and advanced to the Russell Athletic Bowl. Prior to Rutgers, Brock coached at Boston College, Kansas State, North Carolina, Temple, Hofstra, Salisbury State, and Western Connecticut State.

DELAWARE OVERVIEW: The Delaware football program has produced six national championships, five national runner-up finishes, 20 NCAA Tournament appearances, 20 Lambert Cup trophies, three College Football Hall of Fame head coaches, and numerous All-Americans and National Football League players. This season, the Blue Hens own a 4-2 overall record and 1-1 mark in CAA play with wins over Jacksonville (51-35), Delaware State (42-21), Wagner (49-9), and CAA-foe James Madison (29-22), who ranked #14 at the time.  Delaware’s losses came to Navy (51-7) and their most recent opponent #23 Maine (62-28). Offensively, the Blue Hens are led by senior running back Andrew Pierce who has carried the ball 92 times and has totaled 404 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Junior quarterback Trent Hurley has been the most efficient starting quarterback in the CAA, completing 101-of-151 passes with 14 touchdown tosses. His top target, junior Michael Johnson has made 26 receptions for 519 yards and five touchdowns. Defensively, Patrick Callaway leads the team with 57 tackles, two interceptions, and one fumble recovery.

DELAWARE’S LAST TIME OUT: The Blue Hens will look to rebound from last week’s 62-28 loss at No. 23 Maine. The Black Bears jumped out to a 27-8 lead after one quarter, tacked on 28 straight points to start the second half, and cruised to the victory as Delaware had its two-game win streak snapped. Leading Delaware, freshman Jalen Randolph ran for a career-high 137 yards and one touchdown and true freshman Wes Hills picked up 27 yards and scored on a three-yard burst late in the final stanza. In addition, All-American Andrew Pierce ran for 62 yards and became just the third player in UD history to reach 4,000 career yards. Quarterback Trent Hurley completed 11 of 23 passes for 120 yards with Rob Jones catching five passes for 67 yards and Michael Johnson catching three passes for 48 yards, including a 22-yard scoring pass from Hurley in the first quarter. Defensively for Delaware, linebacker Patrick Callaway posted a game-high 14 tackles and cornerback Jordan Thomas returned a blocked extra point attempt for a defensive two-point conversion in the first quarter -- the first in Delaware history.

TOP CROWDS
Until now, never before had the Great Danes played in front of 20,000+ fans multiple times in a single season, let alone in back-to-back weeks. In week six, UAlbany played in front of the largest audience in program history with a capacity crowd of 25,201 at James Madison (10/5/13). The week prior, Old Dominion’s sold out venue of 20,118 marked the fifth-largest crowd in program history. UAlbany has a 1-4 record in games played with 20,000+ in attendance. The lone win came over Delaware on Sept. 16, 2006 (17-10).
 
UALBANY’S TOP FOOTBALL ATTENDANCE MARKS
1. 25,201 vs. James Madison, 10-5-13 – L (40-13)
2. 23,097 vs. Montana, 9-22-07 – L (35-14)
3. 22,196 vs. Delaware, 9-27-08 – L (38-7)
4. 22,016 vs. Delaware, 9-16-06 – W (17-10)
5. 20,118 vs. Old Dominion, 9-28-13 – L (66-10)
6. 19,511 vs. Montana, 9-7-02 – L (45-7)
7. 18,118 vs. Georgia Southern, 9-5-09 – L (29-26)
8. 15,840 vs. Youngstown State, 9-15-12 – L (31-23)
9. 15,112 vs. Massachusetts, 8-30-08 – L (28-16)
10. 14,022 vs. Central Florida, 11-8-80 – W (28-27)

THIRD QUARTER DOMINANCE
UAlbany’s third quarter at James Madison served as a highlight for both the game as well as the season, as the Great Danes outscored the Dukes 10-0.  In the quarter, UAlbany totaled 107 yards of offense, while holding the Dukes to 55. Using trickery, the Great Danes avoided a quick three-and-out in their first possession of the second half.  With 4th-and-2, the Great Danes faked a punt and Kevin Chillis rushed seven yards for a first down. A pass interference call on third down gave UAlbany another first down on the JMU-30 before driving all the way to the two-yard line with five rushes by Omar Osbourne. Facing 4th-and-goal, the Danes went for it, but unfortunately Will Fiacchi’s pass to Cole King was dropped in the back of the end zone with under 6:00 minutes remaining in the third. While the Danes didn’t score on the play, the defense made quick work of JMU, forcing a three-and-out punt. UAlbany took over on the JMU-46 with 4:47 remaining in the third. Completing two 10+ yard passes to Brian Parker and a 16-yard pass to Jameel Gay, Fiacchi led the Great Danes to the seven-yard line. Two short rushes by Ryan Spelman led to Fiacchi’s five-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Chillis. Chillis caught the ball at the one and stretched across the corner of the goal line. Going for two, Fiacchi found Chillis in the same location, making the score 26-11 with 2:05 left in the third. Momentum continued to stay on the side of the visitors. With JMU’s drive starting on the 10, UAlbany’s defense stepped up again, pushing the Dukes backward to the six-yard line on Tim Kologrivov and Michael Nicastro’s shared tackle. On the next play, Kologrivov pressured Michael Birdsong in the end zone, and an intentional grounding penalty awarded UAlbany two points for the safety (26-13).

PARKER HAS CAREER OUTING

Junior tight end Brian Parker had the best performance of his career in last week’s outing at James Madison. Parker made a career-high eight receptions for a total of 71 yards. The week prior, Parker also turned heads with a 55-yard touchdown reception at Old Dominion. Amidst a breakout year, Parker has totaled 14 receptions and 177 yards in five games after missing the clash at Duquesne. Entering this season, Parker had totaled just five catches for 151 yards in 19 games played from 2011-12.


FIACCHI NEARS 300 COMPLETIONS
Against Central Connecticut (9/21), Will Fiacchi became the sixth quarterback in program history to pass for over 3,000 career yards. Fiacchi (298-505-9, 15 TD) has currently thrown for 3,438 yards in just his second season as a starter, and ranks fourth all-time – just 126 yards away from third-place (Ryan Roeder – 3,564). He has also completed the third-most passes in program history with 298.

OSBOURNE COVERS GROUND
Junior running back Omar Osbourne has recorded four 100+ rushing yard performances in his career, including back-to-back games in 2013. Against Colgate, Osbourne totaled 256 yards on 35 carries, while totaling 119 yards with two touchdowns against CCSU. Averaging 109.7 rushing yards per game, Osbourne ranks third in the CAA.

OSBOURNE AMONG TOP SCORERS
With 98 points scored in his career, Omar Osbourne is now tied with Jaan Laap (1990-93) for 22nd all-time in the program’s archives. This season, the Syracuse, N.Y. native has scored six rushing touchdowns.

MARTIN KICKS OFF A SOLID ROOKIE CAMPAIGN
Averaging 41.2 yards per punt in his rookie season, redshirt freshman Jonathan Martin ranks fifth in the CAA. Through six games, Martin has punted 29 times for a total of 1,196 yards, dropping seven inside the 20-yard line and one for a touchback. Martin has also booted three for over 50 yards, including a 73-yarder vs. CCSU that was downed at the 15. The booming kick ties for the sixth-longest punt in program history.
 
KING CLIMBS INTO TOP-10
With 86-career reception (1,392 yards), senior Cole King is tied for 9th all-time in UAlbany’s archives. At Old Dominion, King had his best performance of the season with five receptions for a total of 73 yards. He is six receptions away from moving into eighth place.
 
CHILLIS BREAKS 1,000 RECEIVING YARDS
Senior wide receiver Kevin Chillis recorded his first career 100-yard receiving game against Duquesne in week one (8/31), making a career-high nine receptions, totaling 135 yards (T-15th all-time) and two touchdowns. He then repeated the feat against Colgate (9/7), recording 115 receiving yards and a touchdown with five catches. With six receptions for 22 yards and a touchdown at James Madison (10/5), Chillis reached the 1,000-yard milestone, and became the 13th player in program history to do so. Ranking eighth in the CAA, Chillis is averaging 54.8 yards and 5.0 receptions per game.

LAPORTA VIES FOR CAMPBELL TROPHY
Eric LaPorta, a senior center for UAlbany, has been named a semifinalist for the prestigious William V. Campbell Trophy, announced by the National Football Foundation. LaPorta is one of 170 candidates vying for the award honoring the nation’s top scholar-athlete. LaPorta, a native of Yorktown Heights, N.Y., is a three-year starter for the Great Danes and 2013 team captain. After beginning his career as a walk-on, LaPorta was named to the 2012 Capital One Academic All-District Football Team and helped UAlbany win back-to-back Northeast Conference titles. As a dual major in criminal justice and history, LaPorta graduated magna cum laude with a 3.57 cumulative grade point average and is currently enrolled in UAlbany’s Master of Science In Secondary Education program for social studies with a 3.65 GPA. LaPorta is one of three athletes from the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) in the semifinalist stage.

UP NEXT
After three weeks on the road, UAlbany returns home on Oct. 19th to host Towson for Homecoming.