Thursday, April 7, 2016

University of Albany CAA Football To Open 2017 Season At Old Dominion, 2018 At Pittsburgh - UAlbany Sports 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. -- University at Albany Director of Athletics Mark Benson announced Thursday that the Great Danes will open the 2017 football season at Old Dominion University and the 2018 season at the University of Pittsburgh. The meetings will mark UAlbany’s third and fourth Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) games. In the program’s first FBS clash, the Great Danes took on Buffalo of the Mid-American Conference in the 2015 opener. UAlbany will also play the Bulls for the first game of 2016. The Great Danes’ 2017 debut versus Old Dominion will be played Sept. 2 at Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium in Norfolk, Va. The contest will serve as a homecoming of sorts for Benson, who spent nearly two decades at ODU before becoming UAlbany’s athletic director in August of 2014. “Our scheduling philosophy as a football program is to play one FBS game per season,” said Benson. “These games give our student athletes, coaches and fans an exciting competitive opportunity. Playing programs such as Pitt and ODU also brings tremendous national exposure to UAlbany.” UAlbany has met the Monarchs once before in 2013 when ODU was transitioning from FCS to FBS as a member of Conference USA, and the Great Danes were competing in their first season in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). ODU came away with a 66-10 win in front of a sold-out crowd of 20,118. “First and foremost, it’s starting to show us as a true CAA member,” said Head Coach Greg Gattuso. “Obviously, it’s a challenge to play them, but it’s great for our players. The kids are excited to play BCS games. It helps in recruiting and it’s just a positive for the overall general health of our program to play up.” UAlbany’s meeting with Pitt of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) will take place Sept. 1, 2018 at Heinz Field, which is also home to the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. “Our kids are getting an opportunity to play at some great venues, and Heinz Field is one of the best we’ll ever get a chance to play in,” said Gattuso. “I’m excited about it. It’s home. There’s a lot of connection for me personally.” A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Gattuso served as an assistant for the Panthers from 2005 to 2010, and was the head coach of Duquesne University, also located in the Steel City, from 1993 to 2004. “Ultimately, these games are good for the team,” added Gattuso. “It’s good for us budget wise, it’s good for us motivationally, it’s good for recruiting, and it’s good for our kids. They’re really excited about the challenge.” UAlbany football 2016 season tickets are currently on sale. To purchase, visit or call 518-442-DANE.

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