Saturday, October 18, 2014

Defense Shines in University of Albany Football’s 20-7 Win at Maine - UAlbany Sports 2014

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports

ORONO, MAINE - University at Albany football (5-2, 2-2 CAA) spoiled Maine’s homecoming on Saturday afternoon, coming away with a 20-7 win in Orono. Greg Gattuso’s Danes are now 2-2 in conference entering a league bye week next Saturday.

“To come to Maine and get a win is really good for our program,” said Gattuso. “We made some plays when we needed to make them, and that’s what you have to do to win games. “

The defense proved to be the offensive story for UAlbany in the first half, as a pair of fumble recoveries led to 10 points on the board and lead after Maine went up 7-0. Michael Nicastro topped the defense with 13 tackles, including six solo shots. Linebacker Christian Dorsey picked up a fumble for his first-ever touchdown return to conclude the first quarter, and forced a fumble in the second half.

Omar Osbourne recorded his fifth game with 100 or more rushing yards this season, capping off with 108. The senior running back his reached or surpassed the 100-yard mark 12 times in his career.

Will Fiacchi threw for 120 yards on 12-for-30 passing with one TD pass. The senior is nearing 6,000 passing yards for his career, with 5,903 to date.

UAlbany elected to receive after winning the toss, but the Great Danes took a delay of game penalty on the opening play to start with a 1st-and-15.

Three yards picked up on a run by Omar Osbourne on second down was lost on third down, in an attempt to hit Josh Gontarek on a screen play. The Great Danes ended the possession punting out of their own end zone.

The Purple & Gold hoped to make an immediate impact on special teams, as Maine fumbled on the kick return. The Black Bears managed to recover at their own 47 yard-line. UAlbany’s defensive line forced Maine into a three-and-out.

UAlbany found itself pinned deep in its own territory, starting on the 12 yard-line. After a five-yard run from Osbourne, miscommunication led to Gattuso burning his first timeout of the half.

On 2nd-and-5, Osbourne picked up four yards to give UAlbany a 3rd-and-one. Fiacchi’s pass to Jake Meek fell incomplete on the third down attempt, but a tripping penalty on the Great Danes put punter Jon Martin deep in his own end zone once again.

Maine picked up at its own 42 yard-line. Five plays and 2:32 later the Black Bears had a 7-0 lead with 8:20 left in the first quarter.

After two three-and-outs for the Gattuso’s squad, Josh Gontarek picked up UAlbany’s first third down conversion on a five-yard pass from Fiacchi to get the Purple & Gold to its own 30 yard-line.

Two incomplete passes brought Martin back on for a punt with 6:24 remaining in the first quarter.

With just one first down in four possessions, Neil Morrison provided some necessary spark with a big sack on 3rd-and-3. The play forced Maine to punt with time winding down in the first quarter.

UAlbany got the ball back with 58 seconds on the clock. Osbourne picked up seven yards on second down, but Fiacchi was sacked to bring on the punting unit. On the third-down play, flags flew for penalties on both sides, but Maine retained possession.

With the quarter needing to end on a play, not a penalty, Maine quarterback Drew Belcher fumbled. The ensuing recovery by Christian Dorsey went 60 yards downfield for a UAlbany touchdown. Before Dorsey’s run, the Great Danes had 16 total yards to their credit.

“They had an untimed down, and we knew we couldn’t let that slip away,” said Dorsey. “We ran the defense, and as I was dropping back I saw the quarterback lose the ball. I picked it up and ran as fast as I could. Coach told us, sometimes offense is going to win the game for us, and sometimes the defense is going to win the game. We needed our defense to step up today and that’s what we did.”

Despite having the ball back to open the second quarter, Maine suffered three personal foul penalties to end up in a 3rd-and-40 situation. The Black Bears punted away to put UAlbany on its own 36 yard-line.

Three Osbourne runs set up a 4th-and-1 on its own 46. Gattuso called timeout and went for it, with Osbourne making the one-yard run for the first down.

Fiacchi hit Cole King for 15 yards to pick up another first down, but a false start penalty and sack on 3rd down sent the ball back in the other direction.

Both teams came up empty-handed on their ensuing possessions, and Jojo McClary nearly pinned Maine inside its own five, but the touch-back prevailed.

On its first play of the possession, Maine coughed up a fumble forced by Dorsey. After another holding penalty and three incomplete passes, Patrick Toole nailed a 52-yard field goal to give the Great Danes their first lead. The field goal was Toole’s longest this season, and the second-longest field goal made in UAlbany’s program history.

The scoring drives for the Purple & Gold in the first half totaled 39 seconds of game time, and UAlbany took a 13-7 lead into the half.

Maine earned just three first downs in the third quarter, with the UAlbany defense limiting the Black Bears to 44 yards total and no passing yards.

With 6:53 left in the third quarter, UAlbany took over with its best field position of the day on the punt at its own 38 yard-line. Fiacchi ran for the first down to the 48 yard-line on 3rd-and-6 to keep the drive going. On 3rd & 5 at the Maine 43, the senior quarterback found Gontarek for a 15-yard completion.

Toole kicked a 46-yard field goal to give the Great Danes a 13-7 lead. The scoring drive killed 4:23 of clock, but the contest remained a one-possession game.

After going 2-for-8 in the first quarter and 3-for-11 in the second quarter on the pass, Fiacchi completed four of his seven pass attempts in the third quarter.

Fiacchi began connecting with fellow senior Brian Parker on the outside in the fourth quarter. Parker brought in a seven-yard pass to give the Great Danes a first down with 12:12 left on 3rd & 5.

The possession ended in a 32-yard punt, but  Maine could not take advantage on the other end, as tackles from Nicastro and Malachi Hoskins gave the Black Bears just 13 yards of offense on the drive.

UAlbany blew the game wide open after a 41-yard completion to Nic Ketter put the Great Danes on the Maine 19 yard-line. Three rushes by Osbourne put the Purple & Gold into scoring position with a 1st & goal.

Fiacchi completed a four-yard pass to Parker for the touchdown, with the PAT giving Gattuso’s squad a 20-7 lead with 3:22 remaining.

The Black Bears looked to rally, but a 15-yard penalty gave Maine a 1st-and-25 with two minutes left. After a sack by Cory Connell, the comeback proved out of reach.

UAlbany football (5-2, 2-2 CAA) returns to Bob Ford Field to face Colgate (4-3, 2-0 Patriot League) at 3:30 p.m.

No comments:

Web Site Hit Counters
Precision M4300