Tuesday, November 27, 2007

UAlbany Places 14 on 2007 All-NEC Football Squad; Bob Ford Named NEC Coach of the Year

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. – University at Albany’s Michael Dungey and Sam Pagano lead a group of fourteen players who have been named to the 2007 All-Northeast Conference Football Team, as announced by the conference office on Tuesday, Nov. 27. The Great Danes, who equaled the 2002 squad’s total for the highest number of all-conference selections, placed five players on the first team and nine on the second team. Bob Ford was chosen the NEC Coach of the Year after leading the program to its first conference championship in four years.

Dungey, a senior defensive lineman, and Pagano, a senior offensive guard, are on the all-conference unit for their third consecutive season. Dungey (6-2, 275) totaled 39 tackles and was among the team leaders in hits for a loss (10.0) and sacks (5.5). He is a member of the first team for the second year in a row. Pagano (6-3, 290) paved the way for a unit that is ranked 16th in rushing among the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) leaders at 216.4 yards per game. After being voted to the second team the last two years, Pagano moved up to the All-NEC first team this season.

Defensive tackle Tom Pandolf, safety Dave Nicomini and offensive tackle Raphael Nguti joined Dungey and Pagano on the first team. Pandolf accounted for 34 tackles, 6.5 hits for a loss and 3.0 sacks, while Nicomini recorded 50-plus tackles for the third straight year with 59. UAlbany’s defense is ranked nationally in points allowed (12th), rushing yards (14th) and total defense (23rd). Nguti, a 6-foot-6, 330-pound right tackle, helped the offense run for a season-high 341 yards in the NEC championship game against Central Connecticut State.

Colin Disch, a senior inside linebacker, becomes the third Great Dane to earn all-conference recognition in four consecutive seasons as a second-team pick. He joins former UAlbany standouts Geir Gudmundsen (2001-04) and Samson Brown (1999-02) in that category. Disch, who missed most of two games with a knee injury, led the team in tackles (61). He is the program’s all-time leader with 407.

Placekicker Jason Fralicker makes his second straight appearance on the All-NEC second team. Fralicker broke his own single-season record with 15 field goals and leads the Great Danes in scoring with 81 points, the fourth-best mark in school history. David McCarty received second-team honors after rushing for 1,369 yards and 11 touchdowns. McCarty, a sophomore tailback, is 12th among the NCAA rushing leaders at 124.5 yards per game. He ran for 100 or more yards against seven opponents, including a career-high 247 in the regular-season finale.

Four defensive players earned all-league recognition for the first time as second-team selections. Defensive end Mark Sheehan had 31 tackles and led the team with 7.5 sacks, while defensive end Jon Volpe added 33 tackles and sacked the quarterback 4.5 times. Outside linebacker Trevor DuPont (31 tackles, 2 interceptions) and safety Dave West (49 tackles, 2 interceptions) were part of a group that ranked sixth nationally in turnover margin (+1.45 pg). Center Kevin Richards and left tackle Justin Tougas blocked for an offense that averaged 29.1 points and 371.9 total yards.

Ford was named the NEC’s top coach for the second time in his career after previously winning the award in 2002. He guided the Great Danes to their third conference championship, including an 8-3 overall record and a 6-0 league mark. UAlbany became just the fifth team in NEC history to go undefeated in conference play. Ford, who is second among active Division I FCS coaches with 225 career victories, also led his team to its first postseason appearance in five years.

UAlbany and Dayton, the Pioneer Football League co-champion, will meet in the second annual Gridiron Classic on Saturday, Dec. 1. Kickoff is 1:00 p.m. at UD’s Welcome Stadium. The Flyers, who have a 10-1 record, are No. 24 in the current FCS Coaches’ Poll.

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