Football To Battle Blue Hens Saturday At Delaware



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ALBANY, N.Y. -- Scoring 21 unanswered points in the second half of last week’s clash at No. 6 Richmond, the University at Albany football team looks to build off that growth when the Great Danes take on the University of Delaware on Saturday. Kickoff at Delaware Stadium is set for 12 p.m.

UALBANY, DELAWARE SERIES
This weekend’s meeting marks the fifth in program history between UAlbany and Delaware with the Blue Hens owning a 3-1 series advantage. Delaware has won the last three meetings, including back-to-back three-point steals. Last season, the Blue Hens edged the Danes 31-28 on Nov. 8, and in 2013, Delaware captured a 33-30 triumph on a last second field goal. The then-No.17 Blue Hens also topped the Great Danes, 38-7, on Sept. 27, 2008. However, UAlbany’s 17-10 upset victory over the then-No. 11 Blue Hens on Sept. 16, 2006 is still 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 DELAWARE
Delaware enters the weekend with a 3-5 overall record and 2-3 mark in the CAA, and comes off a 19-0 loss at Towson. The Blue Hens have been shut out twice in the last three games, including a 20-0 setback to Rhode Island on Oct. 10. However, Delaware has come up with big wins over nationally ranked William & Mary (24-23) and CAA perennial power New Hampshire (31-14). On the season, a pair of redshirt freshmen lead the offense with quarterback Joe Walker throwing for 454 yards and a touchdown (51-120-6), while classmate Thomas Jefferson pilots the running game with 658 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 123 carries. Diante Cherry has been Walker’s top target down field with 19 receptions for 188 yards. Defensively, sophomore linebacker Charles Bell has a team-high 68 tackles (26 solo).

A UALBANY WIN WOULD…
- Improve UAlbany’s record to 3-6 overall.
- Give UAlbany a 2-3 all-time record vs. Delaware.
- Give UAlbany a 1-4 road record this season.
- Improve UAlbany’s all-time varsity record to 267-181.
- Improve Coach Gattuso’s career record to 107-43.
- Improve Coach Gattuso’s record at UAlbany to 10-11.

A UALBANY LOSS WOULD…
- Make UAlbany’s record 2-7 overall.
- Give UAlbany an 1-4 all-time record vs. Delaware.
- Give UAlbany a 0-5 road record this season.
- Drop UAlbany’s all-time varsity record to 266-182.
- Drop Coach Gattuso’s career record to 106-44.
- Drop Coach Gattuso’s record at UAlbany to 9-12.

UALBANY’S LAST TIME OUT
Trailing by 28 points in the third quarter Saturday night at Robins Stadium, UAlbany rallied for three straight touchdowns to make it a one-score game in the waning minutes. However, No. 6/8 Richmond held off the tenacious Great Danes, 38-31, to improve to 7-1 on the season and 5-0 in the CAA, while UAlbany fell to 2-6 overall and 1-4 in conference play. True freshman running back Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks broke away for a career-high 202 rushing yards on 25 carries, including two 40+ yard runs. The performance marked the most yards by a UAlbany player since 2013. Making his debut in the starting role, freshman quarterback Neven Sussman totaled 170 passing yards (14-34-4) and threw his first two career touchdown passes finding tight end Anthony Manzo-Lewis both times in the end zone. Freshman Zee Roberson caught a team-high four passes for 29 yards, followed by Brad Harris’ three receptions for 64 yards. Defensively, the Great Danes were led by redshirt freshman Julian Cox’s 14 tackles (11 solo), while DaSharnte Thompson (4 solo) and Samuel Gray (3 solo) each brought down eight. Forcing four turnovers, Jamal Robinson, Jamal Merritt, and Jojo McClary each logged an interception and Jack Forster picked up a fumble recovery.

IBITOKUN-HANKS EARNS SECOND CAA ROOKIE OF THE WEEK HONOR
For the second time this season, freshman running back Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks was been named the CAA Rookie of the Week, announced Monday by the conference office.

NAME: Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks
POSITION
: RB

CLASS: Fr.
HOMETOWN: Newark, N.J.

STATS VS. RICHMOND
Rushes: 25

Net Yards: 202
Long: 47 yards
Average: 8.1 yards/carry
IBITOKUN-HANKS NOTES:  Broke away for a career-high 202 rushing yards on 25 carries vs. No. 6/8 Richmond ... Had two 40+ yard runs, including a 47-yarder on 4th-and-1 that set up UAlbany's first touchdown of the game ... Also had a 40-yard run that set up a field goal in the final seconds of the first half ... The performance marked the most rushing yards in a game by a UAlbany player since 2013, and the most rushing yards by a freshman in program history ... Also, just the fourth CAA player to record a 200-yard rushing game this season.

TOOLE CLOSES IN ON 100th POINT
Senior placekicker Patrick Toole is just two points shy of the 100-point milestone. In his two-season career with the Great Danes, Toole has made 56-of-57 PAT attempts and 14-of-22 field goals with a career-long of 52-yards – a UAlbany FCS record. Toole would become the seventh kicker in program history to score 100 points.

ROBERSON CLIMBS SINGLE-SEASON RECEPTIONS LADDER
With 41 catches this season, freshman wide receiver Zee Roberson ranks 15th all-time in program history for single-season receptions. To break the top-10, Roberson needs eight more receptions to tie Chris Phillis’ 49 (2000). The single-season record is 67 held by Tim Bush (2008).

PARKER MAKES NFL DEBUT IN LONDON
Former UAlbany tight end Brian Parker made his NFL debut with Kansas City on Sunday, helping the Chiefs to a 45-10 trouncing of Detroit. The game was played at Wembley Stadium in London. Parker made a key block on De’Anthony Thomas’ 10-yard touchdown run that gave the Chiefs the lead for good in the first quarter.

ALSTON’S BIG RETURN
Freshman Dione Alston sparked UAlbany’s second half rally at No. 6/8 Richmond with a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown – the first of three straight touchdowns for the Great Danes. Alston’s 96-yarder was the second-longest return in program history, and first kickoff return for a TD since 2012. Alston totaled 179 yards on kickoff, returning every kickoff for at least 20 yards.

UALBANY MEETS 31st RANKED TEAM
The Halloween meeting with No. 6/8 Richmond marked the 31st time UAlbany has played against an FCS ranked opponent. The Great Danes have played at least one ranked opponent every season since 2002. UAlbany’s last win over a ranked opponent was on Sept. 22, 2012. The Danes beat Maine, who ranked #23 in the Sports Network Top-25 Poll and #22 in the FCS Coaches Poll. UAlbany owns a 5-23 record against ranked foes.

TURNOVERS GALORE
In back-to-back weeks, the Danes forced six turnovers, which both tie a single-game program record -- At James Madison (9/19), UAlbany logged a program-record five interceptions and a fumble recovery; In the win over Rhode Island (9/12), the Great Danes recovered four fumbles and intercepted the ball twice. Prior to this season, the last time UAlbany forced the opposition to turn the ball over six times was against Towson on Sept. 1, 2001. UAlbany currently ranks fifth in the CAA for turnover margin (+0).

ATHLETICS RECEIVES $10 MILLION GIFT
UAlbany President Robert J. Jones, Foundation President George R. Hearst III and Athletic Director Mark Benson announced Oct. 8th that the University received a $10 million gift to support the football stadium and other facilities, expand scholarships for student-athletes, and address additional priorities in athletics. The gift was made by The Bernard and Millie Children’s Foundation, which was established by the son of Bernard and Millie Duker, William Duker ’75, of Westerlo and New York City, his wife Sharon (Casey) Duker, and their son William “West” Duker. The stadium is now named Tom & Mary Casey Stadium, in honor of Sharon (Casey) Duker’s parents.

NOMINATE A VETERAN OR ACTIVE SERVICE MEMBER TO BE HONORED AT NOV. 14TH GAME
On November 14th, the University at Albany will be honoring the nation’s veterans and active service members at the third annual Todd J. Clark Memorial Game in partnership with Wounded Warrior Project with personalized recognition on the game-worn uniforms. In addition, the Great Danes will honor servicemen and servicewomen, active and retired, at halftime of the UAlbany-New Hampshire football game on Bob Ford Field. Each honored service member will receive two tickets to the game and a commemorative item. Fans are encouraged to nominate friends or family members to be honored.

UALBANY FOOTBALL WEEKLY ON MY4
For the second straight year, a UAlbany football coaches show will air on MY4 (WNYA) this season. NBC13 (WNYT) sports director Rodger Wyland hosts the 30-minute show with Great Danes football coach Greg Gattuso every Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

UP NEXT
UAlbany returns to Tom & Mary Casey Stadium for the final home game of the season on Nov. 14. As a part of Military Appreciation Day, all service members, active or retired, will receive free admission to the game with a military ID. UAlbany will also honor the team's seniors prior to the game. A postgame fireworks display will follow. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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