Bill Ziskin

UAlbany football faces Elon in Top 25 matchup

UAlbany Sports Information   09-28-2017

ALBANY, N.Y. – The University at Albany football team faces a Top 25 opponent for the second consecutive week when it travels to face Elon on Saturday in North Carolina.

Both the Great Danes (3-1, 1-0) and Phoenix (3-1, 1-0) moved into the national polls after wins this past weekend in their Colonial Athletic Association openers.

UAlbany toppled No. 7/8 Villanova, 19-10, in overtime at Casey Stadium for the program’s first win over a Top 10 opponent. The victory moved the great Danes back into the national rankings, at No. 19 in the STATS Poll and No. 22 in the Coaches Poll, for the first time since they were No. 24 in the preseason STATS poll.

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Elon, meanwhile, has beaten nationally ranked teams in back-to-back games, taking down No. 6/8 Richmond, 36-33, on the road this past Saturday and No. 16 Charleston Southern the week before. The Phoenix entered the rankings for the first time since 2010, coming in at No. 23 in the STATS Poll and receiving votes in the Coaches Poll.

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Twitter: @UAlbanySports, @UAlbanyFootball, @UAlbanyGameDay

NEWS AND NOTES 

Mencer earns CAA honor: Eli Mencer, who returned a fumble 80 yards for a touchdown in overtime Saturday, has been named the CAA Defensive Player of the Week.

  • Mencer’s touchdown finished off the Great Danes’ 19-10 overtime victory over No. 7/8 Villanova at Casey Stadium. 
  • Mencer is tied for the national lead and leads the CAA with three forced fumbles. He forced two against Villanova — one in the first quarter, and another on his game-ending return for a touchdown.
  • Against Villanova, the redshirt sophomore from Altoona, Pa., finished with seven tackles for a defense that limited the Wildcats to just 61 rushing yards.
  • This marks the second straight week a UAlbany student-athlete won the CAA’s weekly defensive award. After the Great Danes’ 28-14 win over Monmouth in Week 3, senior linebacker Nate Hatalsky was honored for a 15-tackle performance. 

Doing it with defense: Under defensive coordinator Bernard Clark, the UAlbany defense is allowing just 13.8 points per game, second-best in the CAA behind only James Madison. Here’s a closer look at where the Great Danes’ defense ranks in the league and nationally:

  • 13.8 points allowed per game: Ranks No. 2 in the CAA, No. 8 in FCS
  • 247.5 yards allowed per game: Ranks No. 2 in the CAA, No. 8 in FCS
  • 71.5 rush yards allowed per game: Ranks No. 3 in the CAA, No. 8 in FCS
  • 185.8 pass yards allowed per game: Ranks No. 6 in the CAA, No. 27 in FCS
  • Plus-5 turnover margin: Tied for No. 2 in the CAA, ranks No. 12 nationally
  • 32.1% opponent third-down conversion rate: Ties for No. 3 in the CAA, ranks No. 27 in FCS
  • 10 total sacks: Ties for No. 3 in the CAA, ranks No. 27 nationally
  • 7 fumbles recovered: Ranks No. 1 in the CAA, ties for No. 1 nationally

Mofor's a fabulous freshman: True freshman running back Karl Mofor has enjoyed a strong start to his collegiate career, seeing significant action in three games in place of starter Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks, who’s out indefinitely with a lower-body injury.

  • The 5-foot-8, 219-pound Mofor, from Greenbelt, Md., nearly rushed for 100 yards in Weeks 1 and 2. He posted 99 yards and scored a TD at Old Dominion and ran for 98 yards and two more scores against Morgan State.
  • Mofor made his first career start against Villanova. He gained 43 yards on 19 carries while also catching five passes for 49 yards. He scored on a 4-yard touchdown run, too.

Scouting Elon

  • The Phoenix rank second in the CAA with an average of 214.2 rushing yards per game. Malcom Summers, its primary ball carrier, also is No. 2 in the league at 125.8 yards per game. 
  • On the other hand, Elon is giving up 32.0 points and 464.8 yards per game, more than any other CAA team. 
  • Elon is playing its first season under coach Curt Cignetti, who came to the Phoenix in Dec. 2016 after six seasons at Division II Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). 
  • Elon was 2-9 overall and 1-7 in the CAA in 2016.

IN THE MEDIA

UAlbany football moves back into national rankings

Eli Mencer named CAA Defensive Player of the Week

UAlbany football's Eli Mencer learning at linebacker (Times Union)

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