An All-Around Performance Pushes UAlbany To 2-0 On The Season
Photo: Cole King (87) led UAlbany with three receiving touchdowns at RMU.
MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. - Sophomore wide receiver Cole King’s five catches for 124 yards and three touchdowns led the University at Albany football team to a 35-10 victory over Robert Morris Saturday afternoon at Joe Walton Stadium. With the win, the Great Danes improved to 2-0 on the year, as well as 11-3 in Northeast Conference openers and 7-1 in those on the road.
"The chemistry between myself and Will (Fiacchi) has been going on for the last four years,” said King on the duo’s history in Section III high school football. "The second touchdown pass was a perfect throw by Fiacchi, placed only where I could have caught it between the two defenders."
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Will Fiacchi stood out in just his second career start, completing 17-of-21 passes, throwing for 208 yards, rushing for 35 yards, and tallying four total touchdowns (3 passing; 1 rushing) in the victory.
"A total team effort and at times a dominating performance today," said head coach Bob Ford on the win. "I like this group a lot, and have bought into them from day one this season on how good we can be. At times, I saw that we really were dominating both sides of the ball.”
On the offensive side, UAlbany recorded 66 plays for 385 yards with 177 yards coming from the ground game, while 208 were in the air.
Defensively, the Great Danes recorded five sacks for a loss of 43 yards and two interceptions for 29 yards. Robert Morris totaled 208 yards on offense -- 87 rushing and 121 passing. Senior defensive end Dean Mercuris led the Great Danes with five tackles.
It was a dominant performance by the Great Danes on both sides of the ball in the first half. After a 49-yard field goal by Robert Morris’ Greg Langer, UAlbany would score on three consecutive possessions to go up 21-3 at the break.
UAlbany drove 81 yards on five plays, concluding with a 40-yard touchdown pass from Fiacchi to King to go up 7-3 with 9:43 remaining in the first quarter. After a quick three-and-out by the Colonial offense, the Great Danes moved down the field and scored their second consecutive touchdown, using nine plays for 58 yards. Fiacchi’s 6-yard QB-option rush for a touchdown capped the drive and put the Danes up 14-3 with 4:18 remaining in the first quarter.
The UAlbany defense came up big again, forcing Robert Morris to stall out for its second three-and-out, and the Danes’ offense came storming back. Using almost nine minutes on the clock (8:54) with 19 plays for 79 yards, UAlbany scored its third consecutive touchdown as King grabbed a 6-yard TD pass from Fiacchi -- a dime between two defenders -- expanding the lead to 21-3 with 8:38 left in the half.
After the break,UAlbany continued its dominance on offense, scoring with just a minute off the clock to begin the second stanza. King caught his third touchdown of the game on a 41-yard pass, capping a three-play 51-yard drive. The score gave the Great Danes their largest lead of the game, 28-3, with 13:59 remaining in the third quarter.
Looking to stop the bleeding, Robert Morris scored its first touchdown of the game,cutting the deficit to 18, 28-10, with 6:56 remaining in the third. Sophomore quarterback Matt Layman connected with junior wide receiver Donte Jeter for a 20-yard touchdown after an eight-play, 70-yard drive.
With 3:31 remaining in the third quarter, senior running back Drew Smith capped the games’ scoring with a 2-yard rush after a 24-yard interception return by senior free safety Justinian Mason. The touchdown put the final score, 35-10, on the board for the final 18:31 minutes of the game.
UAlbany, who moves to 2-0 on the season and 1-0 in conference play, travels for the second of three straight road games to Youngstown State next Saturday, September 15. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.