Football Looks To Stay NEC Perfect At Bryant Saturday
ALBANY, N.Y. - The
University at Albany football team looks continue its dominating level of play
this weekend and remain atop the Northeast Conference standings when the Great
Danes travel to Smithfield, R.I. to take on the Bryant University Bulldogs.
While Bryant (0-5, 0-3 NEC) has yet to win a game this season, UAlbany cannot
overlook the host team, as Bryant was the squad that gave the Danes their lone
NEC loss a year ago. Kickoff at Bulldog Stadium is set for 12:00 p.m. Saturday.
The contest will be broadcast on the national scale as the NEC Game of the Week
and can be seen live on Fox
College Sports, ESPN3, Cox (RI) and Time Warner Cable (Albany).
CATCH THE ACTION
Cheer from the Stands: Give the
Great Danes a hometown feel on the road. Click here for Bryant
Watch at Home: Saturday's
action will be televised LIVE on Fox College Sports, ESPN3,
Cox (RI) and Time Warner Cable (Albany TW-3).
can be heard in Albany on WCDB-FM (90.9 FM) or anywhere online at wcdbfm.com. To listen
on your mobile device, download the TuneIn app and search for WCDB. Rodger
Wyland and Zach Bye will have the call.
@UAlbanySports on Twitter for live updates, photos and highlights.
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.
NEC Football Digest: A video preview of all the Week 6 NEC contests.
THE UALBANY-BRYANT ALL-TIME SERIES
UAlbany and Bryant meet for just the fourth time in history Saturday with the
Bulldogs leading the all-time series 2-1. Bryant handed the Great Danes their
only Northeast Conference loss of the season last year, as the Bulldogs won
31-17 at University Field on Nov. 5th. Bryant also won the last
meeting in Rhode Island, 24-7, on Oct. 30, 2010. With the series dating back to
2009, when Bryant took the leap from DII to DI, UAlbany won the first clash at
home, 20-17, on Oct. 17, 2009.
kicked off its 40th season of varsity football vs. Colgate on Sept 1. The 40-23
win, improved the Great Danes' record to 5-9 in season-openers in the Division
I FCS era.
(4-1, 2-0) is one of two teams with an unblemished conference record this
season, along with Duquesne (4-1, 2-0).
has won its last two contests, coming off a 30-20 win at No. 23 Maine and 55-24
victory over Monmouth.
their 14th and last season in the NEC, the Great Danes own a 73-23 record in
Great Danes are off to their best start since the 2006 season when UAlbany
began 5-0. The only other time UAlbany has had four wins heading into Week 6 in
the FCS era was in 1999 (4-1).
was chosen to repeat as Northeast Conference Champions, as announced by the NEC
Great Danes were placed on the All-NEC Preseason Team.
season, the Great Danes received their first NCAA FCS Playoff berth and
advanced to the NCAAs for the first time since 1977.
finished 2011 ranked 23rd in the FCS Coaches Poll and was just off the TSN's
Top-25, receiving votes.
Great Danes received votes in both The Sports Network Top-25 and 2012 FCS
Coaches Poll for preseason and Weeks 1-5.
has won or shared five Northeast Conference championships (2002, 2003, 2007,
2008 & 2011).
2011, the Great Danes reached the eight-win plateau for the fourth time as a
NCAA Division I FCS program.
Great Danes have registered six consecutive winning seasons for the first time
in the program's history (2006-11) and look for their seventh in 2012.
Ford is fourth among the FCS all-time leaders in career victories and is
first among active NCAA Division I FCS coaches with 259 career victories.
Ford recorded his 250th win as a college head coach on Oct. 8, 2011 and his
250th win as UAlbany's head varsity coach Sept. 29, 2012.
is in his 40th varsity season as head coach at UAlbany with a 250-158 record.
National Football League's New York Giants have made the UAlbany campus its
summer training camp home since 1996.
THE GREAT DANES
2012 Record: 4-1, 2-0 NEC
2011 Record: 8-4, 7-1 NEC (T-1st)
NEC Preseason Poll: 1st
Head Coach: Bob Ford (40th
season at UAlbany/43rd overall) (250-158-0 / 259-179-1 / 73-23 NEC)
Bob Ford is in his
40th season at the helm, coming off his fifth Northeast Conference title in
2011 and fourth NEC Coach of the Year Award. He ranks first among all active
NCAA Division I FCS coaches with 259 career victories and is also fourth among
the FCS all-time leaders in career victories.
TIME OUT: The Great Danes come off a dominating performance against NEC foe
Monmouth, overcoming the Hawks, 55-24, at University Field. After trailing 7-0
to start the game, a fake punt reverse resulting in Kevin Chillis' 77-yard TD
dash turned the tides and UAlbany never looked back. Combining for 263 rushing
yards, senior Drew Smith piloted the
ground game with 109 rushing yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns in the
victory. Chillis added two touchdowns and 196 all-purpose yards. Three Great
Dane players (Smith, Chillis, Beauvais) single-handedly out-rushed the Monmouth
team as a whole, as the Hawks managed just 53 rushing yards against the UAlbany
defense. Quarterback Will Fiacchi recorded
his third 200-plus yard passing game this season, as he completed 16-of-30
attempts for 248 yards and two touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Ryan Kirchner was the
go-to man of the afternoon, hauling in five passes for 121 yards and a score.
Defensively, not only did UAlbany halt the Hawks 'ground game, but also
disrupted the passing game with three interceptions. Senior Jon Morgan led the
team with seven tackles, including six solo, while also breaking up two passes.
Chris Wilk brought
down five, as Dean Mercuris, Jake Dwyer, and Tramaine Wilson recorded picks
and ran for over 10 yards each.
SEASON SO FAR: The Great Danes are off to their best start since the
2006 season, entering Week 6 with a 4-1 record. In Week 1, UAlbany overcame
Colgate handily, 40-23, as Drew Smith (174) and Omar Osbourne (113) both
rushed for over 100 yards, and the Ocieka Bakou blocked two
punts that resulted in a safety and a touchdown. After opening the season at
home for the first time since 2005, UAlbany hit the road for three consecutive
away games, traveling over 400 miles for each of them. First, the Great Danes
overcame Robert Morris, 35-10, capturing their first Northeast Conference
victory of the season. Sophomore quarterback Will Fiacchi had a
breakout game along with wide receiver Cole King. Fiacchi finished 17-for-21,
throwing 208 yards, rushing 35, and tallied four touchdowns (three passing, one
rushing) in the win. All three passing touchdowns were to King who totaled 124
receiving yards on five catches. In Week 3, the Great Danes headed west again
to Youngstown, Ohio, taking on the No. 5 Penguins. Despite a hard fought
battle, the hosts held off UAlbany, 31-24, handing the Great Danes their only
loss of the season. The Great Danes were neck-and-neck with Youngstown State
until the Guins opened up a two-score lead with 2:48 remaining in the fourth
quarter. UAlbany held an early 7-0 lead over Youngstown in a game that was tied
on three separate occasions, but a YSU field goal with 2:15 left in the third quarter
gave the Penguins the lead for good. Fiacchi and King both had spectacular
games again, as Fiacchi accumulated 228 passing yards (23-35-0), and King
hauled in a touchdown and seven catches for 115 receiving yards. On the road
for the third consecutive weekend, UAlbany overcame No. 23 Maine, 30-20,
marking the Great Danes' first victory over a ranked opponent since Sept. 19,
2009 when they also beat Maine (ranked 20th), 20-16. Kicker Sean Kenny made a name
for himself, tying the program record with three made field goals in the
contest, representing the first nine points of the game. Senior tailback Drew Smith led the
offense with 114 rushing yards on 18 carries, 144 all-purpose yards, and two
touchdowns, while Kevin Chillis rushed
twice for 88 yards total and accumulated 158 all-purpose yards.
HISTORY: UAlbany football started at the club level in 1970, before moving to
Division III and varsity status three years later. The Great Danes competed at
the Division II level from 1995-98, and won two Eastern Football Conference
titles in that period. Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) play
arrived in 1999 with membership in the Northeast Conference. UAlbany has won
five NEC titles.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
2012 Record: 0-5, 0-3 NEC
2011 Record: 7-4 overall, 5-3 NEC (3rd)
NEC Preseason Poll: 3rd
Head Coach: Marty Fine (9th season at Monmouth, 53-37 / 13-11 NEC)
COACH: The winningest
coach in school history, Coach Marty Fine has transitioned the Bulldogs from
the Division II to Division I level in his tenure. Entering his ninth season at
the helm, Fine has led Bryant to 53-37 record, and to an improvement in the
final standings every year since joining the Northeast Conference in 2009. An
assistant coach at Iowa State for two seasons before becoming a Bulldog, Fine
has more than 20 years of coaching experience under his belt and has
coached at every level of organized football, including two successful head
coaching positions at Sonoma State and U.S. Naval Academy Prep School. During
his coaching career, Fine has served as coordinator for all three phases of
coaching: offense, defense and special teams. He also had stints at Indiana
University, Colgate, and Indiana State.
TIME OUT: Entering Week 6, Bryant is still in search of its first win of the 2012
season. The Bulldogs come off a 31-21 loss at Wagner College. Tied 7-7 at the half, the Seahawks
outscored the Bulldogs 24-14 in the second half. Trailing 14-10, Wagner turned
an interception into seven points to take the lead and after forcing a
three-and-out, made it a 10-point game with a 70-yard touchdown reception.
Bryant rallied to within three on its very next drive, going 69 yards in nine plays.
The Bulldogs then had a chance to retake the lead thanks to a great play from
their special teams unit. The Black and Gold defense held on Wagner's next
possession, forcing a 52-yard field goal attempt with just over six minutes to
play. Rushing in from the outside, junior cornerback Jeremy
and blocked the attempt to give Bryant the ball at its own 39. Wagner, however,
held the Bulldogs to a three-and-out, sacking Mike
a third-and-two. The Seahawks scored five plays later to put the game away,
31-21. Junior wide receiver Jordan
Harris led the Bulldogs with nine catches for 201 yards and two touchdowns.
The nine catches are tied for the third-most in a single-game in program
history and the 201 receiving yards are the second-most in a single game.
Harris now holds the top three receiving games in school history, posting a
school-record 224 yards last season against Albany.
NAMED NEC SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Chillis, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., contributed to
UAlbany's 55-24 victory over Monmouth in a number of ways, including two huge
plays with the Great Danes' special teams unit that earned him the NEC Special
Teams Player of the Week honor for Week 5. After Monmouth jumped out to a
7-0 lead by taking the opening kickoff 82 yards on 12 plays, Chillis
electrified the home crowd less than one minute later. Facing a 4th-and-10 from
its own 23-yard line, UAlbany faked a punt and Chillis took a reverse 77 yards
for a touchdown. In addition, the 5-foot-9 receiver ran the second-half
kickoff back 58 yards all the way to Monmouth's 42-yard line. The Danes did not
score on the ensuing possession, but were able to take control of the field
position battle and pin Monmouth deep inside its own 10-yard line. Chillis also
received a 44-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter and
finished with a career-high 196 all-purpose yards in the victory.
Senior linebacker Jon Morgan led UAlbany with seven tackles against Monmouth. Morgan
and the UAlbany defense held the Hawks to just 53 yards on the ground, while
also disrupting the passing game with three interceptions as a team. Chris Wilk brought
down five, as Dean Mercuris, Jake Dwyer, and Tramaine Wilson recorded
picks and ran for over 10 yards each.
Kenny made 2-of-3 field goals in UAlbany's 55-24 win over Monmouth, including a
49-yarder that tied for the second longest made field goal in program history.
Kenny also made one from 18-yards, and converted on all seven point-after
kicks. Through five games, the Ghent, N.Y. native is 23-for-23 for PAT's. Kenny
also averaged 63.0 yards on his 10 kickoffs. The senior recorded four
touchbacks, putting the Great Danes defense in excellent position throughout
PRESLEY ON THE BOARD
just under a minute and a half to go in the game, Presley Beauvais, a redshirt
freshman, recorded his first career touchdown, breaking away with a 67-yard
scamper to give UAlbany their last points of the day and put an exclamation
point on the 55-24 conference win over Monmouth. Beauvais, who carried the ball
three times in the contest, has had flashes of brilliance in his first year on
SMITHFIELD NEXT STOP FOR NEC-TV
After spending back-to-back weeks in the state of Connecticut,
NEC-TV will head north to Smithfield, Rhode Island to air a live telecast from
Bryant's Bulldog Stadium for the first time ever. Bryant, which began its move
to the FCS ranks in 2008, will host the NEC-TV Featured Game of the Week for
the first time since joining the conference. The Bulldogs will host defending
champion UAlbany in a game that will kick off at 12:00 pm on October 6 and air
live on Fox College Sports and ESPN3. In 2011, Bryant was the lone NEC team to
defeat UAlbany by posting a 31-17 win in New York's capital. The game will
feature two of the top-five rushers on the NEC season leader board. UAlbany's
Drew Smith stands second, having ran 82 times for 501 yards in five games.
Meanwhile, Preseason All-American Jordan Brown has gained 455 yards on 115
carries for Bryant.
OFF AND RUNNING
UAlbany tailback Drew Smith
accounted for 100-plus all-purpose yards for 22nd time in his career against
Monmouth; marking the second-most for an individual in program history (David
McCarty is first with 24). Smith led the offense with 109 rushing yards on 18
carries, 129 all-purpose yards, and three touchdowns. The senior currently
ranks fourth all-time at UAlbany for rushing yards (2,696 yards), moving up two
spots in the game vs. the Hawks. He now needs 262 yards to move into third.
SMITH CLIMBS ALL-PURPOSE LADDER
In addition to ranking
fourth all-time for rushing yards, Smith is climbing the all-purpose yards
ladder. Totaling 620 all-purpose yards through the first five games, Smith
ranks second all-time with 4,061 all-purpose yards in his career. He is 915
yards away from David McCarty's record (4,976).
UAlbany's Career All-Purpose Yards Leaders
1. David McCarty (2006-09), 4,976
2. Drew Smith (2008- ), 4,061
3. Gary Jones (2002-03), 3,639
4. Greg Garrett (1996-99), 3,562
5. Dan Gmelin (1994-97), 3,185
GOES FOR RECEPTION RECORD
Senior wide receiver Ryan Kirchner
made five catches vs. Monmouth and is now five off Tim Bush's record of 147
career receptions. Through five games, he has made 20 catches for a total of
233 yards. In his junior year, Kirchner became the fourth player in school
history to surpass 100 career receptions on Nov. 12, 2011. He set the program's
FCS single-game record with three touchdown catches vs. Sacred Heart on Nov.
19, and also caught 12 passes against Stony Brook (11/26) to set UAlbany's
Division I single-game record. With 56 receptions, he had the fourth-highest
single-season total in program history.
1. Tim Bush (2007-09), 147
2. Ryan Kirchner (2009- ), 142
3. Dan Gmelin (1994-97), 136
4. Chris Phillis (1999-01), 124
5. Irani DeAraujo (2004-07), 95
MORGAN MOVES INTO 16th
With seven tackles against Monmouth, senior Jon Morgan
leads the team with 38 tackles this season is tied for 16th place
all-time with 231 in his career. Averaging 7.6 per game, the Copiague, N.Y.
native is on pace to finish his career in the top-10. Morgan is currently 20
tackles away from tying Brian Becker (2002-05) in 10th place.
The Great Danes' top-ranked offense in the NEC has scored 24 or more points in
18 of the last 20 games, owning a 15-5 record in that span. UAlbany has also
won 12 of their last 15 games and 12 of their last 14 regular season contests.
The Great Danes' 55 points vs. Monmouth marked the most in a game since UAlbany
posted 63 at Central Connecticut last year.
With third-down this fall, the Great Danes have converted in 37-of-73
(51%) tries, while their opponents have been stopped 64% of the time by the
UAlbany defense (25-for-70). Against Monmouth, the Great Danes were 11-for-18
on third-down conversions.
The UAlbany defense has recorded seven interceptions
this season for 102 yards with Tramaine Wilson and Justinian Mason each
snagging two. In NEC play this fall, the Great Danes have logged multiple
interceptions in both contests, including two at Robert Morris and three
against Monmouth. Recording at least one interception in 4-of-5 games this
fall, the only contest UAlbany didn't was in the lone loss of the season at
Albany marched to a share of the 2011 Northeast
Conference crown thanks to a record season by fifth-year senior quarterback Dan
Di Lella. Now that the first team all-NEC passer has exhausted his eligibility,
the starting quarterback responsibilities have been given to sophomore Will
Fiacchi. So far, so good for the 6-foot-3 Fiacchi. The first-year starter has
had an impressive start to the season, leading the Great Danes to a 4-1 mark. Against
Monmouth, Fiacchi passed for a career-high 248 yards, completing 16-of-30
attempts. He also threw for two touchdowns, including an 81-yard dart to Ryan
Kirchner, which tied for the fourth longest passing play in UAlbany history.
With a 131.90 pass efficiency, Fiacchi
ranks second in the NEC. The Marcellus, N.Y. native also owns a 7-to-2
touchdown to interception ratio, completing 85-of-140 passes.
PREVIEW OF 2013 CAA
The University at Albany's Vice President Athletic
Administration and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Lee McElroy and
the commissioner of the Colonial Athletic Association Tom Yeager formally
announced that the Great Dane football program will be joining the CAA for the
2013 season on Wednesday, August 8. UAlbany and New York state rival Stony
Brook will join current CAA members Maine, New Hampshire, James Madison,
Delaware, Richmond, William & Mary, Villanova, Rhode Island and Towson
beginning next season. September 22nd's meeting against the Black
Bears gave fans a taste of UAlbany's future. The Great Danes have had success
over CAA members, having tallied a 7-5 all-time record. The Danes have
previously faced Delaware (1-1 record), Maine (4-2), Towson (2-1) and New
Hampshire (0-1). UAlbany will look to expand on its rivalry against Stony
Brook, having played the Seawolves 15 times and tallying a record of 10-5
Forty was not only the number of points that Albany
scored in its Week 1 win over Colgate, but it is also the number of seasons
head coach Bob Ford has been at the helm.
Ford, who has long been deemed "The Architect of Albany Football," was
appointed the head coach when Albany reinstated its football program in 1970
following a 46-year absence.
NEC NO. 1
With six first-place votes, UAlbany was chosen to repeat
as Northeast Conference Champions, as announced by the NEC office during the
2012 Preseason Teleconference on Aug. 2nd. The Great Danes, who made their
first-ever appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs last season, earned their first
preseason number one ranking since 2009. In addition to the preseason team
rankings, UAlbany placed six players on the All-NEC Preseason Team, led by wide
receiver Ryan Kirchner and punter Paul Layton.
The Great Danes have won four or more conference games
in all 13 seasons as a Northeast Conference member.
UAlbany's Bob Ford is fourth among the winningest
Football Championship Subdivision head coaches in career victories (259). Grambling's
Eddie Robinson leads the list with 408.
Winningest FCS Coaches All-Time By Victories
408, Eddie Robinson, Grambling (408-165-15, 55 years)
314, Roy Kidd, Eastern Kentucky (314-124-8, 39 years)
300, Tubby Raymond, Delaware (300-119-3, 36 years)
259, Bob Ford, St. Lawrence, Albany (259-179-1, 44th
246, Mike Kelly, Dayton (246-54-1, 27 years)
245, Billy Joe, Cheyney, Central State, Florida A&M,
Miles (245-127-4, 34 years)
241, Jim Tressel, Youngstown State, Ohio State
(241-79-2, 25 years)
UP NEXT: The Great Danes return home to face Saint
Francis (Pa.) for Homecoming Weekend Oct. 13. UAlbany owns a perfect 13-0
record against the Red Flash. Kickoff is at 1:00 p.m.
UPCOMING UALBANY PROMOTIONS
Oct 13 vs. Saint Francis - Homecoming
Nov. 3 vs. Wagner - CDPHP T-Shirt Day
Nov 17 vs. Central Connecticut - Pop Warner, Military
Appreciation Day, Wounded Warriors