Football set to open 2019 at Central Michigan
ALBANY, N.Y. – The University at Albany football team begins the 2019 season against an FBS opponent when it kicks off against Central Michigan at 7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 29.
Thursday, August 29 at Central Michigan (7 p.m.)
Leading the Pack
- UAlbany is opening the season with an FBS opponent for the fifth straight season. The Great Danes have one FBS victory, having beaten Buffalo, 22-16, on the road in 2016.
- Each of the Great Danes’ first two opponents this season has a first-year head coach, with Jim McElwain having taken over at Central Michigan and Chris Merritt the new coach for Bryant.
- Redshirt freshman QB Jeff Undercuffler will open the season as UAlbany’s starter. He started the final three games of 2017 as a true freshman because of injuries to the Great Danes’ top two quarterbacks. Undercuffler led a 25-23 victory over No. 10 Stony Brook in the 2017 season finale.
- The UAlbany football program is celebrating its 50th anniversary this season after having started as a club program in 1970.
Scouting Central Michigan
- Central Michigan, of the Mid-American Conference, is coming off a 1-11 season. Its lone victory was against Maine, 17-5.
- The Chippewas have won 10 of their past 12 home openers.
- McElwain was hired by Central Michigan on Dec. 2, 2018. He had been the head coach at Florida from 2015-2017 and served as the wide receivers coach at Michigan in 2018.
UAlbany is 1-4 all-time against the FBS, with the lone victory coming against Buffalo (22-16) on the road in 2016. The Great Danes other FBS games were:
2015: at Buffalo, L, 51-14
2016: at Buffalo, W, 22-16
2017: at Old Dominion, L, 31-17
2018: at Pittsburgh, L, 33-7
Ending on a high note
In the 2018 season finale, UAlbany got a last-second field goal from senior Ethan Stark to defeat No. 10 Stony Brook, 25-23, at Casey Stadium. The kick, which skipped over the upright, went viral on social media. It also gave UAlbany its second ever victory over an FCS top 10 program.
Going deep at wideout
UAlbany’s top four receivers from last season — Dev Holmes, Juwan Green, Jerah Reeves and Donovan McDonald — all return. They combined for 13 TDs a season ago. Holmes was recognized by the CAA as a Preseason All-Conference Honorable Mention.
Eli Mencer, Levi Metheny and Dev Holmes were named Colonial Athletic Association Preseason All-Conference Honorable Mention. Mencer, a redshirt senior, and Metheny, a redshirt junior, were two-thirds of the Great Danes’ starting linebacker corps in 2018. Mencer, also a standout on special teams, was named as a specialist. Holmes, a sophomore, made the team at wide receiver.
Once again, the Great Danes will play a formidable schedule. The nonconference slate includes an FBS opponent (Central Michigan) and Monmouth, picked to finish second in the Big South Preseason Poll. CAA opponents Maine (No. 7), Towson (No. 11) and Delaware (No. 22) all were ranked in the STATS Preseason Top 25 poll, while Stony Brook, Richmond, New Hampshire and Rhode Island all are receiving votes.
- Central Michigan is 5-0 all-time against the CAA.
- UAlbany is playing in the month of August for the first time since 2014, when it defeated Holy Cross, 14-13, in the season-opener at Casey Stadium.