Football Sets For Ford Finale At Stony Brook Saturday
ALBANY, N.Y. -- A 44-season era comes nearly full circle Saturday when the University at Albany football program travels to take on fellow CAA-newcomer Stony Brook in the final game of the 2013 season and the final game of Head Coach Bob Ford’s tenure. Ford, who started a club team at the University in 1970, recorded the program’s first varsity win in the 1973 season-opener against none other than Stony Brook with a 69-6 trouncing. Since that day, Ford has lead the Great Danes to 256 wins and will look to cap his career with one more against the Seawolves at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. The “Empire Clash” kicks off at 1:00 p.m.
CATCH THE ACTION
TICKETS: A fan bus will depart from the SEFCU Arena bus turnaround at 7:30 a.m. Tickets cost $45, which includes transportation to and from the game, as well as admission into the game.
AUDIO: The game can be heard in the Capital Region on Fox Sports 980 or anywhere online here. Rodger Wyland will have the call.
VIDEO STREAM: Watch a live stream online on SeawolvesTV.
TWITTER: Follow @UAlbanySports on Twitter for live updates, photos and highlights.
LIVE STATS: 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.
THE UALBANY-STONY BROOK ALL-TIME SERIES
Saturday’s meeting will mark the 16th in program history between Stony Brook and UAlbany. The squads first met on Sept. 22, 1973 when Coach Ford made a statement in the inaugural varsity game with a 69-6 victory at University Field. The teams did not meet again until 1995 when SBU walked away with a 40-21 win in Albany. Playing each other for 13 consecutive years between 1995 and 2007, the Great Danes won six straight in the span (1996-2001). The last time the rivals met was in the 2011 NCAA Division I FCS Playoffs after Stony Brook captured the Big South Conference title and UAlbany won the Northeast Conference automatic bid. Stony Brook stole a 31-28 win in the nail-biter, intercepting a tipped pass in the back of the end zone with 47.4 seconds remaining (for a full recap, see page 11 of game notes).
SCOUTING THE GREAT DANES
2013 Record: 1-10, 0-7 CAA
2012 Record: 9-2, 7-1 NEC (T-1st)
2013 CAA Preseason Poll: 10th/11
Head Coach: Bob Ford (41st varsity season at UAlbany/44th overall at UAlbany/45th overall as head coach) (256-169-0 / 265-190-1)
THE COACH: Bob Ford ranks first among active NCAA Division I FCS coaches with 265 career victories and is also fourth on the all-time FCS chart. Ford, the architect of the UAlbany program, has led the Great Danes to a 256-169 record in his 41st varsity season. Under his direction, the Great Danes have moved from the club level in 1970 to its present NCAA Division I FCS status. At the team’s media day on Aug. 13th, Ford announced that his 44th season at the helm in 2013 will be his last. More than 100 of Bob Ford’s assistant coaches are currently working in the professional, college and high school ranks.
UALBANY OVERVIEW: After winning back-to-back championships in the Northeast Conference, the Great Danes are in their first season competing in the CAA. Through 10 games, UAlbany owns a 1-10 record, overcoming Colgate 37-34 in week two for the lone victory of the season, while falling in three heartbreaking losses, decided by three or less points at the end of regulation. Offensively, the Great Danes are led by junior quarterback Will Fiacchi (191-337-8) who has thrown nine touchdowns with an average of 202.0 passing yards per game. Senior Kevin Chillis has served as Fiacchi’s top receiver, making 52 catches for 619 yards and five touchdowns. On the ground, junior Omar Osbourne ranks third in the CAA and leads the squad with 262 carries and 1,149 rushing yards (104.5/game), while crossing the goal line 12 times this fall. Defensively, TJ Idowu (80 tackles), Randall Exantus (78 tackles), and Christian Dorsey (75 tackles) lead the team.
LAST TIME OUT: While it wasn’t the storybook ending the UAlbany football community was hoping for, there were many silver linings to Saturday evening’s 37-20 loss to No. 23 New Hampshire. Emotions filled Bob Ford Field from the moment the gates opened to the time fireworks capped the night, as UAlbany honored veterans with a moving Military Appreciation Day ceremony, as well as a recognition of the squad’s 16 seniors prior to kickoff. A dogfight on the gridiron, the Great Danes trailed by just three points, 20-17, at the start of the fourth quarter, but the visiting Wildcats pulled away in the end. The night concluded with a ceremony honoring Head Coach Bob Ford’s legendary 44-season career at UAlbany, including a presentation of the game ball from the squad’s captains, a video tribute, and the retiring of the number 40 in his honor. Leading the Great Danes’ offense, junior quarterback Will Fiacchi completed 21-of-34 passes and with 251 yards on the night, he became the only quarterback in UAlbany history to eclipse the 2,000-yard milestone in multiple seasons. Through 11 games, Fiacchi has totaled 2,222 passing yards and is just six completions away from breaking the all-time single season record (196). Junior running back Omar Osbourne led the team with 109 rushing yards, carrying the ball 28 times, including a one-yard touchdown push. Senior wide receiver Kevin Chillis totaled nine receptions, accumulating 86 yards, while junior tight end Brian Parker accrued 71-receiving yards with four catches. Defensively, junior safety TJ Idowu led the team with a career-high 13 tackles, as well as forced a fumble.
SCOUTING THE SEAWOLVES
2013 Record: 4-6, 2-5 CAA
2012 Record: 10-3, 5-1 Big South (T-1st)
2013 CAA Preseason Poll: 7th/11
Head Coach: Chuck Priore (8th season at Stony Brook) (51-40/90-49 overall)
THE COACH: A branch off of Bob Ford’s coaching tree, Chuck Priore is in his eighth season as the head coach of the Stony Brook football program. Priore played for Coach Ford from 1979-1981, and currently ranks 12th in UAlbany’s archives for rushing yards (1,881). He started his coaching career as an assistant for Ford from 1983-1985. From there, he had stints at Union, Penn, and Trinity, before landing at Stony Brook. Last year, for a second straight season, the Seawolves hosted and won a playoff game and advanced to the second round of the Division I Football Championship. The 2012 season featured a number of milestones - Stony Brook beat Army, 23-3, for its first win over an FBS program; Miguel Maysonet finished as the runner-up for the Walter Payton Award, given to the nation's most outstanding player, was named to a program-record seven All-America Teams and became the first SBU football player to be invited to the NFL Combine. For his efforts, Priore was named AFCA Regional Co-Coach of the year, and earned a contract extension through the 2017 season.
STONY BROOK OVERVIEW: Like UAlbany, Stony Brook is in its first season in the Colonial Athletic Association. With a 2-5 league mark, the Seawolves won their first conference game of the season, shutting out Rhode Island, 24-0, on Sept. 7th. They also won their most recent CAA clash, overcoming No. 25 James Madison, 41-38, on the road Nov. 16th. Offensively, Stony Brook is piloted by senior quarterback Lyle Negron (152-262-9) who has totaled 2,105 passing yards and 12 touchdowns this season. Eugene Malcolm leads the wide receiving corp. with 50 receptions for 744 yards and four touchdowns. On the ground, James Kenner has carried the ball 156 times, covering 678 yards, and has crossed the goal line five times. Defensively, Christian Ricard leads the squad with 80 tackles.
STONY BROOK’S LAST TIME OUT: Senior quarterback Lyle Negron recorded a day for the ages, passing for career-highs of 395 yards and three touchdowns, as the Stony Brook football team (4-6, 2-5 CAA) topped No. 25 James Madison (6-5, 3-4), 41-38, Saturday at Bridgeforth Stadium. Negron, who also accounted for two touchdown runs (2, 1), passed for scores of 75, 35 and 22 yards. Negron fell just five yards shy of recording the fourth 400-yard passing game for Stony Brook in its 15 years at the Division I level. Senior Adrian Coxson joined Negron with a career game, catching nine passes for 183 yards, both career-highs, and a touchdown. Junior Will Tye had two touchdown receptions and finished the day with six catches for 95 yards.
BACK-TO-BACK 2,000 SEASONS
Redshirt junior quarterback Will Fiacchi has thrown for 2,222 passing yards this season, becoming the only quarterback in program history to total 2,000+ passing yards in multiple seasons. With 4,378 career-passing yards, Fiacchi currently ranks third in the program archives.
OSBOURNE BREAKS 1,000
With 134 rushing yards against Maine (11/9), redshirt junior running back Omar Osbourne became the 12th UAlbany player in program history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season. Osbourne enters Saturday’s game against Stony Brook with 1,149 rushing yards on the season – good for fifth among single-season program leaders.
OSBOURNE PASSES PRIORE
Rushing for 109 yards against UNH (11/16), which marked his seventh 100+ rushing game of his career and fifth this fall, Omar Osbourne moved into 11th place all-time in UAlbany’s career rushing records with 1,960 yards. Osbourne bumped Stony Brook head coach Chuck Priore (1979-81) into 12th place, who finished his career with 1,881 rushing yards. Osbourne needs just 14 more rushing yards to move into UAlbany’s top-10.
CHILLIS, KING CATCH THE CENTURY MARK
Senior Kevin Chillis and junior Cole King are currently tied for fifth all-time with exactly 100 career receptions. Last week, Chillis matched his career-best with nine receptions against UNH, while totaling 86 receiving yards. At Old Dominion (9/28), King had his best performance of the season with five receptions for a total of 73 yards.
UAlbany will begin a new era of Great Dane football with the hiring of the second head coach in program history.