Saturday, April 18, 2009

University of Albany's Justin Gannon's Late Touchdown Leads Gold to 10-3 Triumph in Football's Spring Game - UAlbany Sports 2009

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. – Dan Di Lella threw a 23-yard scoring pass to Justin Gannon with one minute and 59 seconds remaining to lift the Gold to a 10-3 victory over the Purple in the UAlbany spring football game on Saturday, April 18 at University Field. The Great Danes, who have won consecutive Northeast Conference championships, wrapped up their spring workouts in preparation for the 2009 campaign.

The Purple squad carried a 3-0 lead into the fourth quarter and tried to make it stand up in a contest dominated by each team’s defense. After cornerback Daniel Avery picked off quarterback Andrew Smith at his own 12-yard line, the Gold marched deep into their opponents’ territory. Di Lella, a 6-foot-5 sophomore who completed five of 11 passes for 71 yards, directed an 11-play drive. But the Purple defense rose up with four straight stops near their goal line, including Di Lella’s sneak from the one on fourth drown.

After Purple punter Andrew Bartholomew took a safety that closed the gap to 3-2, the Gold started from their own 45-yard line. Di Lella began the scoring sequence with a 20-yard completion to wide receiver Ryan Kirchner and followed with a 12-yard screen pass to Gannon. The senior tailback then gathered in a swing pass in the right flat and raced up the sideline for a touchdown. The Gold added a two-point conversion when Di Lella found tight end Chris Kenneally in the left corner of the end zone.

“I want to contribute as much as I can,” explained Gannon, who rushed for 51 yards on 15 carries and had four receptions for 47 more. “We knew they were going to blitz from that side (on the touchdown pass). We accomplished a lot this spring and the game brings out the competition within the team.”

Frank Blasinsky, who connected on 6 of 12 pass attempts for 87 yards, engineered a nine-play, 63-yard scoring drive in the second quarter. The senior twice hooked up with all-conference receiver Tim Bush on passes of 17 and 14 yards. All of which led to the Purple’s Herb Glass booting a 35-yard field goal with 28 seconds left before halftime.

The Purple, who was led by tailback Duane Harper’s 63 rushing yards on 16 carries, tried to extend their lead in the third period with a seven-play march. But Avery blocked Sean Kenny’s 27-yard field goal attempt with 6:12 remaining in the period. Avery, a sophomore cornerback, added four tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery to his blocked field goal.

“We struggled (on offense) and were not as consistent as we needed to be,” said UAlbany coach Bob Ford, who set up each team’s roster by balancing personnel. “The positive thing is we came out healthy and the question marks that needed to be answered were.”

Paw Prints: The Purple and Gold teams played four 12-minute quarters ... the spring game was controlled by a UAlbany defense that allowed 18.2 points and 119.1 yards on the ground last season ... inside linebacker Chris Simpson had a team-high six tackles for the Gold squad ... defensive tackle Zach Gallo (4 tackles) and All-NEC defensive end Eddie Delaney (3 tackles, 1 PBU) were also solid contributors ... Purple’s Chris Wilk, a sophomore inside linebacker, made four tackles, with one sack and one forced fumble ... senior outside linebacker Rich Duff added three tackles, including one sack, with one forced fumble and one pass break-up ... All-America tailback David McCarty (LaSalle Institute), who rushed for 1,852 yards and 13 touchdowns last year, was the lone regular to be held out of the spring game due to a coach’s decision ... Everett Tune, a sophomore tailback, showed promise as a member of the Gold by rushing seven times for 44 yards ... Jason Poore, a 6’6” junior, had three receptions for 31 yards ... UAlbany begins its 2009 schedule against perennial national power Georgia Southern on Sept. 5 ...

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