Sunday, November 23, 2008

Northeast Conference Champion UAlbany Football Program Announces Postseason Awards

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. -- University at Albany’s David McCarty received the most valuable player award at the football program’s awards banquet, held at the Campus Center Ballroom on Sunday, Nov. 23. He was also voted the team’s top offensive back for the second straight year.

McCarty, a junior tailback, has established the school’s single-season rushing record with 1,581 yards and leads the team in scoring with 13 touchdowns. He also became the program’s all-time leader in rushing yards (3,082) and all-purpose yards (3,693) in the final regular-season game of the season, eclipsing Gary Jones’ career standards in both categories. McCarty currently ranks third in rushing (143.7 ypg) and seventh in all-purpose yards (174.7 ypg) among the NCAA Division I FCS national leaders. He has rushed for 100 or more yards in a school-record 10 games this season.

Senior offensive tackle Jon Leible (6-5, 285) picked up a pair of awards as the team’s most improved player and top offensive lineman. Leible, who became a starter for the first time in his career at right tackle, is blocking for a unit that averages 354.7 yards per game and is ranked 24th nationally in rushing (190.5 ypg).

Tom Pandolf (defensive lineman), Justin Brancaccio (linebacker) and Troy native Dave Casale (defensive back) won awards at each defensive position. Pandolf, a senior tackle, has 63 tackles and 2.5 sacks through 11 games. Brancaccio is the team’s leading tackler with 83. Casale, a junior free safety, has set the program’s FCS single-season mark with six interceptions, plus has 73 tackles and six pass break-ups.

Tim Bush was awarded top receiver after breaking Dan Gmelin’s single-season reception record that was established in 1997. Bush caught 58 passes for 697 yards and five touchdowns. Punter Chris Lynch, who is 29th among the national leaders with a 40.6 average, was voted most valuable special teams player. Lynch has five 50-plus yard punts this season, including a 75-yarder against Wagner.

Nine players received their fourth varsity letter, including offensive guard and Nik Schultz, tight end Dan Archer, wide receiver Daniel Bocanegra, cornerback L.B. McCloskey, offensive tackle Raphael Nguti, inside linebacker Mark Peretore, safety Dave West, Pandolf, Lynch.

UAlbany (8-3, NEC 7-0) captured its second consecutive Northeast Conference championship this season. The Great Danes will meet Pioneer Football League champion Jacksonville (9-3, PFL 7-1) in the third annual Gridiron Classic at University Field on Saturday, Dec. 6. Kickoff is 1:30 p.m. Eastern.

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