Saturday, October 29, 2011

University of Albany FCS Football Prevails 24-0 in Battle With Wagner and Snow; Andrew Smith Rushes for 149 Yards - UAlbany Sports 2011

Staten Island, N.Y. - Andrew Smith rushed for 149 yards and one touchdown and Dillon Romain ran for a pair of scores in the second half, as UAlbany posted a 24-0 victory over Wagner in Northeast Conference play on Saturday, Oct. 29 at Wagner College Stadium. A driving rain turned into three inches of snow prior to kickoff and covered the field.

UAlbany (6-2, NEC 5-0) broke open a tight game in the third quarter. Wagner (1-7, NEC 1-4) marched from near midfield to inside the Great Danes' 20-yard line. But defensive Eddie Delaney sacked quarterback Nick Doscher on third down and Kenny Howard's fourth-down reception was well short of the yard marker.

The Great Danes then marched 86 yards in nine plays for a 14-0 lead. Smith, a junior tailback, hauled in a 15-yard pass for a first down, before exploding over the right side on a 48-yard scamper. Romain ran five straight times to finish off sequence, including a two-yard blast over right guard.

The Seahawks, who have lost seven in a row since a season-opening win, mishandled a UAlbany punt midway through the fourth quarter and cornerback Duane Harper made the recovery. Herb Glass' 23-yard field goal gave his team a 17-0 cushion. UAlbany's defense set up another score when inside linebacker Jon Morgan forced a fumble following a completed pass and safety Brandon Baylor made a 38-yard return. Romain blasted over right tackle on a three-yard touchdown run with 6:50 remaining.

"We wanted the shutout," said Morgan, who made eight tackles. "We have a mature defense with a lot of starters back. It was a challenge to play in those conditions and then get some turnovers."

The blizzard forced both offenses to be conservative in the opening half. Doscher, who did not even attempt a pass before the break, had his team on the move during its second possession after scrambling for a first down to keep the drive alive. But running back Dominique Williams would later fumble and UAlbany defensive tackle Zach Gallo made the recovery. Williams, one of the nation's top rushers, finished with 145 yards on 34 attempts.

After a short punt on the first play of the second period, the Great Danes featured Smith on an eight-play, 45-yard scoring march. Smith ripped off a 16-yard run to get his team inside the five-yard line. He later dove over right guard for a one-yard touchdown, his seventh consecutive carry, for a 7-0 lead with 11:46 left before the intermission.

"We knew on Thursday that the weather was going to be an issue," offered Smith, who also caught three passes for 21 yards. "It came down to the elements and we knew we had to pound the ball. The defense collapsed in the gap on that long run and I was able to take it to the outside."

Wagner's Doscher, second on the school's career total offense chart, completed just 4 of 8 passes for 25 yards and was limited to 20 on the ground. UAlbany's Dan Di Lella connected on 6-of-11 through the air for 53 yards.

"The conditions were a great equalizer," explained UAlbany coach Bob Ford, whose team has won six straight games. "I think we are better and healthier than Wagner at this point in the season, but the game was still pretty close into the second half. We have a confident group and I am happy about our defensive performance."

Paw Prints: UAlbany recorded its first shutout since last October 9th, a 48-0 win over Saint Francis, Pa. ... the Great Danes and Wagner met for the 15th time ... UAlbany has reached the five-win mark in conference play for the ninth time in 13 seasons as a league member ... the Great Danes have won eight in a row against NEC opposition ... defensive tackle Zach Gallo made a career-high 11 tackles and defensive end Eddie Delaney matched a career-best with 1.5 sacks ... Andrew Smith accounted for 100-plus all-purpose yards for the sixth consecutive game ... Smith toppled the 100-rushing mark for the fifth time in his career.

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