Albany, N.Y. - University at Albany head coach Bob Ford and his Great Dane football program will make their first NCAA appearance in 34 years when UAlbany travels to Stony Brook for a first-round matchup on Saturday, Nov. 26. Kickoff will be announced at a later time. The NCAA Division I FCS bracket, a field of 20 teams comprised of 10 conference champions and 10 at-large squads, was announced today on ESPNU.
UAlbany (8-3) captured its fifth Northeast Conference championship following a 31-21 victory over Sacred Heart on Nov. 19. The Great Danes shared the conference crown with Duquesne, but were awarded the league's automatic berth after winning the head-to-head matchup in October. UAlbany upgraded to the NCAA FCS level at the beginning of the 1999 season. The Great Danes last appeared in the NCAAs as a Division III program in 1977.
Stony Brook (8-3) won the Big South Conference title after defeating Liberty, 41-31, in its final regular-season game. The Seawolves, who have won eight in a row, are coached by former UAlbany captain Chuck Priore. Stony Brook, ranked No. 22 nationally in the Sports Network poll, features the top scoring offense in the nation at 39.6 points per game. Miguel Maysonet and Brock Jackolski have each gained more than 1,000 yards for a ground attack that is third nationally. Maysonet, who scored the go-ahead touchdown against Liberty, has 1,485 yards and 15 TDs. Jackolski has run for 1,229 yards and 13 scores.
The Great Danes, who have reached the win column in eight of their last nine contests, have been balanced on offense throughout the season. Dan Di Lella, a senior quarterback, has thrown for 2,325 yards and 24 touchdowns. Andrew Smith is the ninth UAlbany running back to topple the 1,000-yard rushing mark in a season with 1,052 and nine TDs. Jon Morgan, an inside linebacker, is the leading tackler with 97, while defensive end Eddie Delaney has set the program's FCS record with 8.5 sacks.
Quotes Following Sunday's NCAA Division I Football Selection Show
UAlbany coach Bob Ford - (on place in bracket) "We are probably where we should be, we are an outside group coming in. I think we are fortunate playing a team we are somewhat familiar with. Head coach Chuck Priore was one of our captains and coached for a period of time here. I have got a lot of respect for him and we are ready for the challenge."
(on whether UAlbany can win) "Yes, I think anytime you go into any football game, unless you are completely depleted with injuries, you have a fighting chance. Now we are going to have to do a lot of things very, very well, which we have done this year and we will see what happens."
Defensive end Eddie Delaney (on NCAA berth) "It means a lot because we helped lead us to this position and all this hard work has finally paid off. When you are one of the main guys who is making a big impact and it results in the NCAA tournament, it means a lot."
Tailback Andrew Smith (on NCAA appearance) "Words can't describe it. All this blood, sweat, tears, we have been through so much tragedy with people losing family members and the hard work that has gone through all encompasses this. This is what we wanted, it was attainable, and the reason why I came here, overall not a better feeling."
Defensive tackle Zach Gallo (on winning game) "With this team I feel that we are on a roll and we will try to keep going with it. Stony Brook was our rival before and we will try to renew this rivalry. We will go in there and give it all we got to get that ‘W'.
(role of defensive line) "With Stony Brook's great running backs, our defensive line, led with senior leadership, will have a big role in this game to contain them as best we can to give our team a chance to win. Our goal is to shut down the run game, and if we can do that we can win."
Paw Prints: ESPN3 will televise the UAlbany-Stony Brook first-round NCAA game nationally ... UAlbany is making its seventh postseason appearance, but first since a 2008 Gridiron Classic win over Pioneer Football Conference champion Jacksonville ... since the Great Danes moved to the Division I FCS level, the program has played in two other postseason contests ... UAlbany defeated Duquesne in the 2002 ECAC Classic and lost to Dayton in the 2007 Gridiron Classic.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
University of Albany FCS Football Travels to Stony Brook for NCAA FCS First-Round Matchup on Saturday, Nov. 26 - UAlbany Sports 2011
Posted by BRE at 1:13 PM