Saturday, October 25, 2014

University of Albany's Fiacchi Leads #25 Football In Stunning, 24-17, Win Over Colgate - UAlbany Sports 2014

Courtesy: UA Sports

ALBANY, N.Y. – With the score tied and just 16 seconds remaining in Saturday evening’s contest at Bob Ford Field, redshirt senior quarterback Will Fiacchi scampered into the end zone, piloting the University at Albany football team to a 24-17 victory over Colgate. The win improved UAbany’s record to 6-2 on the season, while the Raiders fell to 4-4 overall.

Fiacchi had a hand in all three of the Great Danes’ touchdowns, as he completed 22-of-32 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for a career-high 37-yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.

“He’s a very capable runner, we just don’t want to run him a lot,” said Head Coach Greg Gattuso. “Trust me the play he made at the end of the game was really big.”

With his performance, Fiacchi became the first quarterback in UAlbany’s Division I FCS era to throw for over 6,000 yards in his career, currently with 6,134.

Spreading the wealth, Fiacchi connected with seven different receivers in the game, as freshman Josh Gontarek and redshirt freshman Brad Harris led the team with four receptions and 48 yards apiece. Redshirt senior wide receiver Cole King and tight end Brian Parker also had four receptions each for 45 and 42 yards, respectively. Redshirt sophomore tight end Nic Ketter recorded his first touchdown reception of the season and second of his career, totaling two receptions in the contest.

In the ground game, redshirt senior Omar Osbourne pounded his way through the defensive line for 101 rushing yards on 26 carries, marking his 13th career 100+ rushing game and sixth this season. He also had three receptions for a game-high 133 all-purpose yards.

Defensively, the Great Danes held the Raiders to 201 yards of offense and just four third down conversions in 11 attempts. Michael Nicastro led the team, with 13 tackles, including five solo, and one for a sack of five yards. Redshirt senior linebacker Christian Dorsey added 11 tackles and forced a fumble, while true freshman cornerback Jamal Robinson logged nine tackles (four solo).

The duo of nose guard Zach Troutman and defensive tackle Tim Kologrivov put heavy pressure on Colgate rookie quarterback Bret Mooney, as Troutman recorded three tackles for a loss of 18 yards, including an 11-yard sack. Kologrivov contributed two solo sacks, also setting the Raiders back 18 yards.

Winning the toss, UAlbany elected to receive and turned its first drive into a 3-0 head start. The Great Danes ate 8:11 minutes off the clock, using 16 plays to navigate 79-yards, ending in Patrick Toole’s 32-yard field goal.

In the Raider’s opening drive, UAlbany’s defense made a fourth-down stop, leading to another successful possession for the Danes. Converting on third down with a 6-yard pass to Ketter, Fiacchi found Osbourne for 19-yards and another first down before the Marcellus, N.Y. native rushed three times consecutively. Fiacchi capped the drive with a one-yard jump over the pile and across the goal line, giving UAlbany a 10-0 lead after Toole’s point-after with 13:49 remaining in the second quarter.

However, the visiting Raiders responded with10 straight points in the second quarter, as James Travellin rushed seven yards into the end zone with 8:13 remaining in the half.

Colgate’s Kyle Diener then intercepted Fiacchi’s pass at midfield, giving the Raiders possession at the 3:29 mark. The play was originally ruled an incomplete pass, but since official replay was being tested in the game, the video monitors ruled in Colgate’s favor. The Raiders turned the turnover into a field goal, as Jonah Bowman hit a game-tying 38-yarder with 18 seconds left before the break.

In the second half, the Great Danes struck first, driving 53-yards on 12 plays. Bearing down, UAlbany converted three times on third down, and Fiacchi capped with drive with a three-yard pass to Ketter with 5:40 remaining in the third.

Halting the Danes’s first drive of the fourth quarter, Colgate’s Kris Kent forced and recovered a fumble at the UAlbany 43 yard line. The Raiders again turned the miscue into points, tying the score, 17-17, with 10:57 remaining on John Wilkins’ one-yard push into the end zone.

“Colgate’s a good football team. What they do, the do really well,” said Kologrivov. Their offense is predicated upon missed assignments and the defensive line not being exactly where they need to be to take away one of their options. They put together a good drive.”

With time winding down, UAlbany looked to take the lead on Toole’s 33-yard field goal with 4:42 to go, but the ball sailed wide left.

However, the Great Danes’ defense rose to the occasion, forcing a three-and-out, giving the ball back to UAlbany with 3:03 remaining. Starting from the UAlbany-34, the Danes crossed midfield on Fiacchi’s 16-yard pass to Gontarek. Parker added a nine-yard reception, and then after a UAlbany timeout, Fiacchi rushed 26-yards out of the pocket and out of bounds at the 2-yard line.

Faking a handoff to Osbourne, the Raider defense swarmed UAlbany’s top running back, and Fiacchi scampered, untouched, into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown with just 16 seconds left on the clock. Toole’s extra point made the score 24-17.

UAlbany ended the game sacking Mooney twice to preserve the victory.

Mooney finished with 69 passing yards, completing 8-of-16 passes, while Demetrius Russell led the team with 63 rushing yard on 13 carries.

“I enjoy and appreciate every win,” said Gattuso. “I think it’s huge to get to six wins. As I keep saying, it gives us a chance to get seven.”

“Obviously we’re happy with where we are, but during the offseason and in camp this is what the guys in our locker room expected,” said Fiacchi. “We knew exactly what we had in the locker room, and we knew what we can achieve. We’re not done yet; we’re just getting started. We’re excited about where we can go from here.”

UAlbany returns to conference play for the remainder of the season, traveling first to face No. 3 New Hampshire on Nov. 1 at 6:00 p.m.

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