Offense Tops Defense, 45-41, In Spring Football Game
ALBANY, N.Y. – With blue skies and sunshine overhead, the University at Albany football program played its annual Spring Game Saturday afternoon at University Field. The friendly ended in thrilling fashion, as sophomore quarterback Ryan Smith rolled to his left and found tight end Nic Ketter in the back of the end zone for the game-winning touchdown, giving the offense a 45-41 victory over the defense.
Ketter finished with 97 receiving yards, while Smith passed for 287, two touchdowns, and also rushed for 12 yards, piloting the purple squad to the win. Counterpart Will Fiacchi logged 50 passing yards and rushed for six.
“It was a very enthusiastic scrimmage,” said Head Coach Bob Ford, who will lead the Great Danes into both his and UAlbany’s 41st varsity season in the fall. “It went back-and-forth, back-and-forth.”
The offense totaled 337 passing yards and had a balanced running attack with 100 total rushing yards. Kevin Chillis led the team with 40 rushing yards as well as added 31 receiving yards. Running back Omar Osbourne rushed for 16 yards and a touchdown, while Beauvais had 14 yards rushing and 23 receiving yards.
“On offense we’ve got an awful lot of explosive people and we had a chance to see a couple of them,” added Ford. “Kevin Chillis did some exciting things, Presley Beauvais and Omar Osbourne had a couple good runs. Overall we protected the passer better than we have.”
Malachi Lawrence was also a highlight on offense with a team-high 59 yards receiving.
On the defensive side of the ball, the white squad accrued 33 tackles, three sacks, and one interception. Michael Nicastro, Olatunji Idowu, and Dorian Polk led the team with three tackles apiece. Nicastro, Jon McGriff, and Michael Smith each logged a sack, while Clay Harris tallied the lone pick of the game.
The format of the clash was four 10 minute quarters with a five minute halftime. The offense was awarded six points for a touchdown, three points for a field goal, one point for a PAT, and one point for a first down. The defense gained points by forcing turnovers (6), forcing missed field goals (3), stopping the offense before the 50-yardline (3), stopping the offense after the 50 (2), or forcing a safety (2).
In addition to be being a fun and festive event, the game also had a sentimental aspect to it, as the Great Danes said goodbye to their home of 43 seasons. With the construction of Bob Ford Field, Saturday’s Spring Game marked the last competition for the team on University Field. The gridiron has been the home of the Great Danes since Bob Ford started a club football team in 1970. UAlbany accrued a 135-67-1 record on the field.
UAlbany will now look ahead to a new era in Great Dane Football. After wrapping up a 14-year tenure in the Northeast Conference with six championships, including a share of the title in 2012, the Great Danes will play their first season in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) next fall. While the finishing touches are put on UAlbany’s new stadium, the Great Danes will play the first two weeks of the season on the road at Duquesne and Colgate. UAlbany’s home-opener will be Sept. 14th versus Rhode Island.
New Year ▪ New Conference ▪ New Stadium
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