UAlbany falls at home to Rhode Island, 31-14
Score: Rhode Island 31, UAlbany 14
Records: UAlbany (3-5, 1-4 Colonial Athletic Association); Rhode Island (2-6, 1-4 CAA)
Location: Tom & Mary Casey Stadium in Albany, N.Y.
Short story: Eli Mencer scored on a 69-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the second half, and Nate Hatalsky set a school Division I record with 21 tackles. But UAlbany couldn’t sustain a comeback in a 31-14 loss to Rhode Island.
- Nate Hatalsky’s 21 tackles (6 solo, 15 assists) are a UAlbany Division I record. The previous high was 18, accomplished four times, most recently by Rayshan Clark on Oct. 10, 2015, against Maine.
Head coach Greg Gattuso: “I think our kids have a lot of pride. We have a family situation here. Our kids really care about what we do, and they care about each other. I had Jamal Robinson talk to the team last night in the pregame meal, and he did a great job talking about what football means. It’s not always just winning championships. It’s the camaraderie and the teams. I’d like to see us rise up from that. And I think we will.
Eli Mencer scored on a 69-yard fumble return in the fourth quarter, but the University at Albany football team couldn’t complete a second-half comeback in a 31-14 loss to Rhode Island on Saturday at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium.
The redshirt sophomore linebacker scored his second touchdown of the season, and the Great Danes (3-5, 1-4 CAA) got a defensive touchdown for the second straight week.
Freshman tailback Karl Mofor also scored his team-leading fifth touchdown for UAlbany on a 1-yard run, and senior linebacker Nate Hatalsky totaled 21 tackles (six solo), a school Division I Football Championship Subdivision record.
But on a blustery afternoon, Rhode Island (2-6, 1-4 CAA) had built a 21-0 halftime lead on the strength of Tyler Burke’s two touchdown catches and a 1-yard run from Harold Cooper, who also scored 5-yard run late in the fourth.
The Rams led 24-0 in the third quarter when quarterback Neven Sussman led a 10-play, 71-yard drive that culminated with Mofor’s run.
Mencer then got the Great Danes back in the game with 11:11 left. He scooped up an errant direct snap to the fullback and bolted down the left sideline, escaping one attempted tackle along the way, to cut the Rams' lead to 24-14.
Mencer, a former running back at Altoona (Pa.) High School, also had scored on an 80-yard return to finish off the Great Danes’ 19-10 overtime win over then-No. 7/8 Villanova in Week 4.
The Great Danes are on the road next week, facing Stony Brook at 1 p.m. Saturday.