UAlbany Football Travels To Duquesne Saturday
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Despite falling out of first place in the
Northeast Conference standings and out of the Top-25 national ranks after last
week's loss to Wagner, the University at Albany football team is still playing
for a championship and playoff berth when they travel to take on Duquesne Saturday.
While their fate is not entirely in their hands, the Great Danes must win out
in order to have a chance at their second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
Kickoff at Rooney Field is at 12:10 p.m.
CATCH THE ACTION
from the Stands:
for Duquesne ticket information.
The game can be heard in the Capital Region on FOX Sports 980AM or anywhere
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.
Saturday's action will be video streamed live at GoDuquesne.com.
Follow @UAlbanySports on Twitter for live updates, photos and highlights.
Live stats can be found
A full recap and box score will be available at the conclusion of the game at
An in-depth look at the weekend's matchup.
The Great Danes (5-1) have two NEC games left on the schedule, facing Duquesne (3-3)
and Central Connecticut State (2-3). First-place Wagner (6-1) has just one NEC
game left on the slate and it's against the Dukes. Here are UAlbany's
--If UAlbany wins both games and Wagner loses to Duquesne, the Great Danes will
capture their sixth NEC title and make their second consecutive trip to the
--If UAlbany wins both games and Wagner beats Duquesne, the Great Danes will
share the NEC title with Wagner, but Wagner will earn the postseason berth
after winning the head-to-head battle last week.
--If UAlbany wins one-of-two and Wagner loses to Duquesne, the Great Danes will
share the NEC title with Wagner, but the Seahawks will earn the postseason bid.
--If UAlbany wins one-of-two and Wagner beats Duquesne, Wagner will be the NEC
--If UAlbany loses both games, Wagner will be the NEC champion.
THE UALBANY-DUQUESNE SERIES
UAlbany leads the all-time series 4-1. The series dates back to the ECAC
Division I-AA Football Classic in 2002, before Duquesne became an associate
member of the NEC in 2008. The Great Danes won that first meeting, 24-0, in
Albany. From there, UAlbany won the next two clashes, 33-23, in 2008 and 55-10
in 2009. Duquesne captured its lone win of the series in 2010 in Pittsburgh by
a score of 28-17. Last year, UAlbany overcame the Dukes, 38-10, at home.
UALBANY QUICK HITS
- UAlbany (7-2, 5-1) sits a half game behind Wagner (6-3,
6-1) in the NEC standings.
- The Great Danes
were ranked No. 18 in the FCS Coaches Poll and No. 20 in the Sports Network
Top-25 before falling out of both polls after last week's loss to Wagner.
- In their 14th and
last season in the NEC, the Great Danes own a 76-24 cumulative record in league
- The Great Danes are
off to their best start since the 2001 season when UAlbany began 7-1 and 5-1 in
- UAlbany was chosen
to repeat as Northeast Conference Champions, as announced by the NEC office.
- Six Great Danes
were placed on the All-NEC Preseason Team.
- Last season, the
Great Danes received their first NCAA FCS Playoff berth and advanced to the
NCAAs for the first time since 1977.
- UAlbany finished
2011 ranked 23rd in the FCS Coaches Poll and was just off the TSN's Top-25,
- Senior Ryan
Kirchner is UAlbany's all-time leading receiver with 165 career catches.
- UAlbany has won or
shared five Northeast Conference championships (2002, 2003, 2007, 2008 &
- UAlbany 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.
- In 2011, the Great Danes reached the eight-win plateau for
the fourth time as a NCAA Division I FCS program. A win against Duquesne will
make number five.
- The Great Danes have registered six consecutive winning
seasons for the first time in the program's history (2006-11) and have already
secured their seventh in 2012 with a 7-2 record with two games remaining in the
- Bob Ford is fourth among the FCS all-time leaders in
career victories and is first among active NCAA Division I FCS coaches with 262
- Ford is in his 40th varsity season as head coach at
UAlbany with a 253-159 record.
- The National Football League's New York Giants have made
the UAlbany campus its summer training camp home since 1996.
SCOUTING THE GREAT DANES
2012 Record: 7-2, 5-1 NEC (2nd)
2011 Record: 8-4, 7-1 NEC (T-1st)
NEC Preseason Poll: 1st
Head Coach: Bob Ford (40th season at UAlbany/44th overall)
(253-159-0 / 262-180-1 / 76-24 NEC)
THE COACH: 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 262 career victories and is also fourth among the FCS all-time leaders in
LAST TIME OUT: After silencing Wagner, 24-0, in Staten
Island last season, the Seahawks turned the tables Saturday, and shut out the
Great Danes, 30-0. Wagner came off a chaotic week of no power, cold showers,
and the devastation of Hurricane Sandy in their Staten Island campus community
to overcome the then No. 18/20 ranked Danes in a key NEC contest at University
Field. The loss marked UAlbany's first in the league this year and just the
second time the Great Danes have fallen to Wagner in their 16-game all-time
series. Coming into the game averaging a conference-best 34.25 points per game,
the Great Danes struggled against the Seahawks, managing just 188 yards of
offense, compared to Wagner's 413 offensive yards. Playing without the
second-leading scorer in the nation, senior tailback Drew
Smith, for a game due to a violation of team rules, sophomore Omar
Osbourne took on the starting role and led the Great Danes with 51 rushing
yards on 12 carries. Will
Fiacchi threw for 103 yards, completing 18-of-33 passes, including six each
Gay and Ryan
Kirchner. Gay's six catches and 43 receiving yards marked a career-high,
while Kirchner finished with 34 yards. Defensively, senior Dave
Plungas recorded double-digit tackles for the second straight game,
bringing down a team-high 11, including 10 solo. Senior inside linebacker Jon
Morgan tallied eight tackles, moving into ninth place all-time at UAlbany
with 255 in his career.
THE SEASON SO FAR: The Great Danes are off to their best
start since the 2001 season, entering Week 11 with a 7-2 record and 5-1 NEC
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.
Week 2: 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.
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
Week 4: 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.
Week 5: The Great Danes had 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 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. 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 interceptions and ran for over 10 yards each.
Week 6: UAlbany
captured a 31-14 win at Bryant University on Oct. 6th. Trailing 14-7 at
halftime, the Great Danes rallied to score the final 21 points of the contest.
Senior wide receiver Ryan Kirchner became the all-time receptions leader at
UAlbany, breaking Tim Bush's record of 147 as he recorded seven receptions for
103 yards in the win. Fellow senior Drew Smith finished the day with 104
rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. Smith currently ranks first in the
nation with 12 touchdowns this fall. Sophomore Will Fiacchi continued to
impress in his first year as starting quarterback, as he totaled a career-high
262 passing yards, completing 23-of-34 pass attempts to keep the Great Danes
perfect in league play. UAlbany's defense was outstanding as they held Bryant
to the lowest single-game rushing output (27 yards) in a NEC contest thus far
this season. The Bulldogs' 11 first downs also marked a NEC season low.
Defensively, Jon Morgan and Kyle Jordan led the squad with five tackles apiece,
while Tim Kologrivov added three, including two for a loss. Justinian Mason had
the key play of the game; picking off a pass and running the interception back
75 yards for a touchdown.
Week 7: In front
of 6,852 fans, marking the third-largest home crowd in program history and
largest since 1978, UAlbany overcame the visiting Saint Francis Red Flash on
Homecoming, 36-13. The Great Danes battled back from a 10-0 deficit to outscore
the Red Flash, 36-3, the rest of the way. For the third straight game, Drew
Smith blasted his way into the end zone three different times, bringing his
then nation-leading total up to 15 touchdowns this season. Ryan Kirchner made
four catches for 58 receiving yard and also returned three punts for 46 yards.
Sophomore Cole King matched his career-high of seven receptions, recording an
even 100 yards on the afternoon. Sophomore Jake Meek had a break-out game,
rushing 48 yards from the quarterback position and tallied two touchdowns,
including a 38-yard scoring scamper. Sophomore quarterback Will Fiacchi had
another sound game in the pocket, completing 21-of-31 attempts for 255 passing
yards. Defensively, senior Chris Wilk led the squad with eight tackles,
including five solo, as the defense shut out Saint Francis in the second half.
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: UAlbany recovered from a slow start to take a 23-20
victory over the hosting Sacred Heart Pioneers on Oct. 29th. With 1:13
remaining in the game, Omar Osbourne rushed 40 yards into the end zone for the
winning touchdown on a draw play. The duo of senior wide receiver Ryan Kirchner
and sophomore quarterback Will Fiacchi led the UAlbany offense, connecting for
two touchdowns in the victory. Kirchner
made six catches for 86 yards, while Fiacchi completed 14-of-32 passes for 195
yards. Senior tailback Drew Smith led the Great Danes' ground game with 103
rushing yards on 27 carries, finishing with 116 all-purpose yards. In addition
Kevin Chillis also broke the 100 all-purpose yard mark, totaling 106 after four
receptions, two rushes, and two kickoff returns. Defensively, senior Dave
Plungas had an incredible game with 16 tackles, marking a team season-high for
the Great Danes, and personal career-high, while classmate Jon Morgan had two
game-changing interceptions and five tackles. In addition, Leon Saddler brought
PROGRAM 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 DUKES
2012 Record: 5-4, 3-3 NEC (4th)
2011 Record: 9-2, 7-1 NEC (T-1st)
NEC Preseason Poll: 2nd
Head Coach: Jerry Schmitt (8th season at Duquesne/14th
overall) (47-35 / 75-56)
THE COACH: Jerry Schmitt is in his eighth season as Duquesne's
head coach. An assistant from 1985-87 and again from 1992-99 for the Dukes,
Schmitt spent five years as head coach at his alma mater, Westminster College,
in New Wilmington, Pa., before returning to put his mark on the program. He led
the Dukes to three consecutive Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Football
League championships and earned MAAC Coach of the Year two times in his first
three seasons as head coach. In 2011, Schmitt continued Duquesne's transition
as a scholarship-granting associate member of the Northeast Conference by
guiding the Dukes to a 9-2 record and NEC co-Championship (with UAlbany) with a
THE SEASON SO FAR: While Duquesne is out of the running for
the conference title with a 3-3 NEC mark so far, the Dukes will be the team
that decides the winner. Duquesne started the league season with wins over
Bryant (35-21) and Saint Francis (24-21), but then slipped to Central
Connecticut State (38-31). The Dukes rebounded with a dominating win over
Sacred Heart (35-3), but since then have lost two straight close ones to
Monmouth (28-27) and Robert Morris (17-13). With just the top two teams, Albany
and Wagner, left on the schedule, the fate of the champion lies in the hands of
the Dukes. This season Duquesne has been led by running back Larry McCoy. McCoy
became the program's all-time leading rusher (4,405 yards), netting 926 yards
and nine touchdowns this season. Quarterback Sean Patterson owns a 131.22 pass
efficiency rating (164-275-6) with 15 touchdowns, while averaging 210.8 passing
yards per game. Defensively, Dorian Bell is tied for sixth in the FCS averaging
11.5 tackles per contest.
LAYTON'S RECORD LONG PUNT
Junior Paul Layton punted seven times against Wagner, averaging 43.0 yards,
including a career-long and program record 82-yarder. He also pinned
the Seahawks inside their 20 once and had two touchbacks.
The Great Danes suffered their seventh shutout in Division I history Saturday,
falling to Wagner 30-0. It marked the first time UAlbany failed to score any
points since Oct. 16, 2010 at Robert Morris (38-0).
TOUGH DAY AT HOME
Coming into Saturday's game averaging a conference-best 34.25 points per game,
the Great Danes struggled against the Seahawks, managing just 188 yards of
offense, compared to Wagner's 413 offensive yards. The game, which marked
UAlbany's 100th in the NEC (76-24), knocked the Danes out of first place in the
Drew Smith - With 41 career touchdowns (36 rushing, 5
receiving) Smith needs to score two more touchdown to break UAlbany's all-time
career record of 42 held by Gary Jones (2002-03).
- Rushing for 36 touchdowns in his career, Smith is four
rushing touchdowns away from tying UAlbany's all-time leader Gary Jones
(2002-03) with 40.
- Drew Smith has totaled 2,978 career rushing yards, moving
him into third place all-time at UAlbany. He is 55 yards away from second (Gary
Jon Morgan - Making eight tackles vs. Wagner, Morgan moved
into ninth all-time at UAlbany with 255 now in his career. He is six away from
moving up another spot and tying with Justin Brancaccio (2006-09).
Dave Plungas - With 238 career tackles, Plungas is 15
tackles away from joining teammate Jon Morgan in UAlbany's career top-10.
PLUNGAS' BIG DAY
Senior Dave Plungas had an incredible game with 16 tackles
at Sacred Heart, marking a team season-high for the Great Danes, and personal
career-high. He was also just two tackles short of tying UAlbany's FCS record
of 18, held by Josh Bazan (2002) and Colin Disch (2005). Plungas also reached
double figures against Wagner, bringing down 11. He ranks second among active
players with 238 career tackles and has a shot at finishing in the top-10
all-time at UAlbany.
For the fourth time in the FCS era and for the second straight
year, the Great Danes went undefeated in the month of October. UAlbany won all
three contests against Bryant (31-14), Saint Francis (36-13) and Sacred Heart
(23-20). The other three times the Danes won every game in October were also
the last three times UAlbany won the NEC title - 2007, 2008, and 2011.
Last week, UAlbany jumped four slots in The Sports Network
Top-25 to No. 20 and two spots in the FCS Coaches Poll to No. 18, representing
the highest the Great Danes have ever been ranked in both polls in Division I
history. The week prior, UAlbany appeared in the pair of Top-25 lists for the
second time in program history and first time since Sept. 25, 2006. It also
marked a first for an NEC team since Robert Morris was ranked 25th in the Nov.
8, 2010 poll. However, the loss to Wagner dropped the Danes out of both
rankings, but still receiving votes.
UAlbany has reached the seven-win mark in 10 of 14 seasons
at the Division I FCS level and 20 times in program history. The Great Danes
set the program's single-season FCS record with nine wins in 2008. UAlbany owns
a 95-58 record as a NCAA FCS program in 14 years.
SMITH IS ONE OF NATION'S BEST
Entering Week 11, Drew Smith is fourth in the nation in
scoring with 11.25 points per game and totaling 15 touchdowns (14 rushing) this
fall. Smith has crossed the goal line in seven-of-eight games played. Smith
rushed for three touchdowns in three consecutive contests vs. Monmouth, Bryant,
and Saint Francis. He has totaled 783 rushing yards, averaging 97.9 yards per
game and 5.2 yards per carry, and ranks third all-time at UAlbany with 2,978
career rushing yards. He is 55 yards away from second (Gary Jones: 3,033). With
36 career rushing touchdowns, he is five away from taking sole possession of
UAlbany's career record.
RYAN KIRCHNER RECORD HOLDER
Recording seven receptions for 103 yards in the win at
Bryant, senior wide receiver Ryan Kirchner became the all-time receptions
leader at UAlbany, breaking Tim Bush's record of 147. Still with two games
remaining in the regular season, Kirchner has 165 career catches. Through nine
games, he has made 43 catches for a total of 519 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
SMITH OFF AND RUNNING
UAlbany's Career All-Purpose Yards Leaders
UAlbany tailback Drew Smith currently ranks third all-time
at UAlbany with 2,978 career rushing yards. He is 55 rushing yards from second,
and 1,309 yards off of David McCarty's record (4,287). Smith is also climbing
the all-purpose yards ladder. Totaling 996 all-purpose yards through eight
games played, Smith ranks second all-time with 4,437 yards in his career. He is
539 yards away from David McCarty's record (4,976).
UAlbany's Career Rushing Yards Leaders
1. David McCarty (2006-09), 4,287
2. Gary Jones (2002-03), 3,033
3. Drew Smith (2009-12), 2,978
4. Greg Garrett (1996-99), 2,958
5. Tom DeBlois (1973-76), 2,680
1. David McCarty (2006-09), 4,976
2. Drew Smith (2009-12), 4,437
3. Gary Jones (2002-03), 3,639
4. Greg Garrett (1996-99), 3,562
5. Dan Gmelin (1994-97), 3,185
UAlbany's Career Receptions Leaders
1. Ryan Kirchner (2009-12), 165
2. Tim Bush (2007-09), 147
3. Dan Gmelin (1994-97), 136
4. Chris Phillis (1999-01), 124
5. Irani DeAraujo (2004-07), 95
MORGAN MOVES UP WHILE BRINGING 'EM DOWN
Senior Jon Morgan leads the team with 62 tackles this season
and is in ninth place all-time with 255 in his career. The Copiague, N.Y.
native is six away from moving up another spot and tying with Justin Brancaccio
UAlbany's Career Tackles Leaders
1. Colin Disch (2004-07), 416
2. Josh Bazan (1999-02), 354
3. Mike Grever (1996-99), 351
4. Frank Sarcone (1984-87), 344
5. Chris Locci (1991-94), 298
6. Frank Villanova (1973-75), 296
7. Don Mion (1973-74), 271
8. Justin Brancaccio (2006-09), 261
9. Jon Morgan (2009-12), 255
10. Joe Pierreca (1985-88), 253
-- Dave Plungas (2009-12), 238
The Great Danes close the regular season at home versus
Central Connecticut State. Kickoff will be at 1:00 p.m. UAlbany’s 23 seniors
will be honored in a pregame ceremony.
UPCOMING UALBANY PROMOTIONS
Nov 17 vs. Central Connecticut - Pop Warner, Military
Appreciation Day, Wounded Warriors.