Loretto, Pa. - Senior tailback David McCarty rushed for a season-high 170 yards and two touchdowns in leading UAlbany to a 27-6 Northeast Conference victory over Saint Francis, Pa. on Saturday, Oct. 3 at DeGol Field. The Great Danes extended their conference win streak to 15 in a row, the nation's longest at the Division I FCS level.
UAlbany (3-2, NEC 2-0) played a dominating style of defense for the third consecutive game by holding Saint Francis (1-4, NEC 0-2) to 255 total yards, including 79 on the ground, and forcing three turnovers. The Great Danes have held their opponents without a touchdown for 10 straight quarters.
"I thought we came into the game focused," said UAlbany coach Bob Ford, whose defense has limited NEC opposition to less than 100 rushing yards in six of its last seven outings. "The defense played superb and ran aggressively to the football. I thought this was the first time (this season) that the offensive line was dominant at the line of scrimmage."
The Great Danes scored on their opening three possessions and stopped Saint Francis inside their own 5-yard line en route to a 17-6 halftime advantage. UAlbany marched 74 yards in 11 plays with the opening kickoff. Quarterback Vinny Esposito completed a three-down pass to wide receiver Tim Bush to set up a first-and-goal situation. McCarty then blasted through the middle on a 5-yard touchdown run.
After the teams traded field goals, the Red Flash drove from their own 28 deep into UAlbany territory. Freshman quarterback John Kelly, a Penn State transfer, hooked up with Omar Winston on a third-down, 23-yard completion to keep the series alive. But on fourth-and-one at the five-yard line, Kelly's quarterback sneak was stopped short by outside linebacker Rich Duff and defensive end Tony Sparano.
"We saw on flim that they liked to sneak in that situation," explained Duff, who had a team-high nine tackles. "I read it and dove for him. The goal-line stand against Maine has motivated our defense. We are always trying to slow down the run game and not give up big plays."
The Great Danes then put together a 14-play, 95-yard scoring drive that featured McCarty's running and Esposito's passing. The senior quarterback finished off the sequence when he tossed a 9-yard scoring pass to Bush, who was wide open in the left flat, for a 17-3 lead midway through the second quarter. Saint Francis' Josh Thiel added his second field goal of the game when he connected on a 18-yarder with 3:30 to play before the intermission.
UAlbany's defense helped extend its team's margin late in the third quarter when outside linebacker Dave Nicomini forced a fumble after a complete pass and defensive end Marc Wargo fell on the ball at the Saint Francis' 22. The Great Danes staying on the ground to push out to a 24-6 lead. On third-and-two, McCarty bounced around left end and sprinted to the end zone untouched on a 14-yard score. Herb Glass added his second field goal, a 27-yarder, with 10:50 to play in the final period.
"We were a little worried about Saint Francis coming into the game," offered McCarty, who reached the 100-yard rushing mark for the third straight contest and 22nd time as a collegian. "Their defense and team are certainly better than they have been. Everyone was focused and didn't take them lightly."
UAlbany's Justin Gannon, a senior tailback, added a career-high 72 rushing yards on 11 attempts. Esposito completed 13 of 25 passes for 132 yards, while free safety Dave Casale recorded his 11th career interception. Saint Francis' Kelly threw for 176 yards, but had two passes picked off.. The Red Flash, who has respectable showings against nationally-ranked opponents in non-league play, was coming off a triple-overtime loss last week.
UAlbany 27, St. Francis 6 (10/03/2009 at Loretto, Pa.)
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
----------------- -- -- -- -- -----
Albany.............. 10 7 7 3 - 27 Record: (3-2,2-0)
St. Francis......... 3 3 0 0 - 6 Record: (1-4,0-2)
1st 11:43 ALBANY - David McCarty 5 yd run (Herb Glass kick), 11-74 3:17, ALBANY 7 - SFU 0
07:31 SFU - THIEL, Josh 30 yd field goal, 8-31 4:12, ALBANY 7 - SFU 3
05:11 ALBANY - Herb Glass 38 yd field goal, 8-59 2:20, ALBANY 10 - SFU 3
2nd 09:16 ALBANY - Tim Bush 9 yd pass from Vinny Esposito (Herb Glass kick), 14-95 6:08, ALBANY 17 - SFU 3
03:30 SFU - THIEL, Josh 18 yd field goal, 6-19 2:48, ALBANY 17 - SFU 6
3rd 01:04 ALBANY - David McCarty 14 yd run (Herb Glass kick), 3-22 1:20, ALBANY 24 - SFU 6
4th 10:50 ALBANY - Herb Glass 27 yd field goal, 10-41 3:57, ALBANY 27 - SFU 6
Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information