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Football Readies For CAA Clash At Richmond

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Football Readies For CAA Clash At Richmond

ALBANY, N.Y. – Coming off a timely bye week, the University at Albany football team treks to Virginia for the third and final time this season, taking on the University of Richmond Saturday at 4:00 p.m at Robins Stadium.  Both squads will be in search of their first CAA victory of the year, while the pair also looks to rebound from losses against most-recent opponent, Towson.

VIDEO STREAM: A live video stream will be available on SpidersTV in HD.
AUDIO: The game can be heard in the Capital Region on Fox Sports 980 or anywhere online here. Rodger Wyland and Zach Bye will have the call.
TWITTER: Follow @UAlbanySports on Twitter for live updates, photos and highlights. 

LIVE STATS: Live stats can be found here. A full recap and box score will be available at the conclusion of the game at UAlbanySports.com.
GAME NOTES: An in-depth look at the weekend’s matchup

UAlbany and Richmond meet for the first time in program history.

2013 Record: 1-7, 0-4 CAA
2012 Record: 9-2, 7-1 NEC (T-1st)
2013 CAA Preseason Poll: 10th/11
Head Coach: Bob Ford (41st varsity season at UAlbany/44th overall at UAlbany/45th overall as head coach) (256-165-0 / 265-187-1)

THE COACH: Bob Ford ranks first among active NCAA Division I FCS coaches with 265 career victories and is also fourth on the all-time FCS chart. Ford, the architect of the UAlbany program, has led the Great Danes to a 256-165 record in his 41st varsity season. Under his direction, the Great Danes have moved from the club level in 1970 to its present NCAA Division I FCS status. At the team’s media day on Aug. 13th, Ford announced that his 44th season at the helm in 2013 will be his last. More than 100 of Bob Ford’s assistant coaches are currently working in the professional, college and high school ranks.

UALBANY OVERVIEW: After winning back-to-back championships in the Northeast Conference, the Great Danes are in their first season competing in the CAA. Through eight games, UAlbany owns a 1-7 record, overcoming Colgate 37-34 in week two for the lone victory of the season, while falling in three heartbreaking losses, decided by three or less points at the end of regulation. Offensively, the Great Danes are led by junior quarterback Will Fiacchi (144-256-6) who has thrown seven touchdowns with an average of 202.5 passing yards per game. Senior Kevin Chillis has served as Fiacchi’s top receiver, making 36 catches for 420 yards and four touchdowns. On the ground, junior Omar Osbourne ranks second in the CAA and leads the squad with 187 carries and 850 rushing yards (106.2/game), while crossing the goal line nine times this fall. Defensively, Christian Dorsey and TJ Idowu lead the team with 66 and 60 tackles, respectively.

LAST TIME OUT: Despite an early 7-0 lead in front of a sold-out homecoming crowd of 8,500 Oct. 19th at Bob Ford Field, UAlbany suffered a 44-17 defeat to the then-No. 7 Towson University Tigers. With the loss, the Great Danes fell to 1-7 on the season and 0-4 in the CAA, while Towson improved to 7-1 overall and 3-1 in conference play. After UAlbany’s initial score – Jake Meek’s 10-yard touchdown rush with 3:01 remaining in the first – Towson responded with 24 straight points, taking the lead for good. In the game, junior quarterback Will Fiacchi threw for 126 yards and a touchdown, completing 17-of-35 passes, while junior receiver Cole King and tight end Brian Parker each tallied a team-high four receptions, totaling 27 and 19 yards, respectively. Senior Jameel Gay led the squad with 31 receiving yards and a touchdown grab with two catches in the contest. Totaling 79 all-purpose yards, junior running back Omar Osbourne totaled 50 rushing yards on 16 carries, as well as 29 receiving yards, making three receptions. Meek finished the night with 44 rushing yards and a touchdown on five carries. Defensively, the Great Danes baited the Tigers into four turnovers, as Jojo McClary and Cory Connell each nabbed an interception, and Christian Dorsey and Randall Exantus both forced a fumble. Dorsey also led the team with 11 tackles, followed by Exantus’ eight.

2013 Record: 2-6, 0-4 CAA
2012 Record: 8-3, 6-2 CAA (T-1st)
2013 CAA Preseason Poll: 4th/11
Head Coach: Danny Rocco (2nd season at Richmond) (10-9/57-29 overall)

THE COACH: Danny Rocco is in his second season at the helm of the Richmond program. In 2012, Rocco led Richmond to a share of the CAA Football championship, posting an overall record of 8-3 and a conference mark of 6-2. For his efforts, Rocco was named a finalist not only for the Eddie Robinson Award, but also the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award. Both distinctions marked the fourth time that Rocco had been named a finalist for the two honors in his seven years as a head coach. Rocco was also named The Touchdown Club of Richmond’s NCAA Division I Commonwealth of Virginia Coach of the Year. Prior to coming to Richmond, Rocco had one of the most successful coaching stints in the history of Liberty University. In his six seasons there, Rocco led the Flames to four conference titles and was named the Big South Coach of the Year in three consecutive seasons.

RICHMOND OVERVIEW: Coming off a share of the 2012 CAA title, Richmond was picked to finish fourth in the CAA Preseason Poll. This season, the Spiders opened the 2013 slate with a 34-0 victory over VMI, but then suffered back-to-back two-point losses to N.C. State (23-21) and Gardner-Webb (12-10). Richmond responded with a 30-21 win over Liberty on Sept. 21, but have since lost four straight CAA clashes, including another two-point defeat at the hands of Rhode Island (12-10). The Spiders lead the conference in passing offense, led by redshirt junior quarterback Michael Strauss’ 2,372 passing yards and 14 touchdowns. Strauss has completed 223-of-349 passes with six interceptions, while averaging a league-best 296.5 passing yards per game. Top target Ben Edwards leads the CAA with 8.0 receptions per game, totaling 48 receptions and 436 yards in six games played, while Stephen Barnette has made 47 catches for a total of 772 yards (96.5 avg/g). With 99 carries this fall, Jacobi Green leads the Spiders with 512 rushing yards (65.0 avg/g) and four total touchdowns (two rushing/two receiving). Defensively, Eric Wright leads the team with 67 total tackles, and three sacks, while senior cornerback Wayne Pettus has snagged a conference-best five interceptions as the Spiders have recorded at least one pick in 18-straight games.

RICHMOND’S LAST TIME OUT: Richmond fell to the No. 6/8 Towson Tigers, 48-32, last Saturday afternoon in a sold out Robins Stadium. The loss dropped the Spiders to 2-6 overall and 0-4 in the CAA, while the Tigers improved to 8-1 on the season and 4-1 in the league. QB Michael Strauss led the Spider offense to 455 total yards. The redshirt junior completed 28-of-38 passes with two touchdowns. WR Stephen Barnette collected his fifth-career 100-yard game and third of the season as he led the receiving corps with 148 yards off 11 catches. WR Shane Savage set Richmond bests with nine catches for 63 yards. Despite falling behind two touchdowns, the Spiders ended the half with an eight-play scoring drive for 75 yards. Strauss found WR Rashad Ponder for 11 yards to shorten the Tiger lead to 27-18. However, Towson scored a touchdown in the third quarter and recovered a fumble for a 32-yard touchdown to start the fourth, putting the game out of reach for the Spiders.

Richmond’s homecoming game will not only be for the Spiders, but for a number of Great Danes, including tight ends coach Kevin Ross, redshirt freshman Cameron Lewis and true freshmen Kyle Downer and Andre Martin. The son of Richmond native and former NFL coach Bobby Ross, Kevin grew up in Virginia and spent time at UVA, directing the running backs from 2000-03 and helped the Cavaliers to consecutive victories over West Virginia and Pittsburgh in the Continental Tire Bowl. Lewis (Springfield, Va.), Downer (Oak Hill, Va.), and Martin (Bristow, Va.) all grew up within a two-hour radius of Richmond.

Since 2007, UAlbany has a 4-2 record in games played immediately after a bye week, including last year’s 23-20 victory over Sacred Heart.

10/27/2012 – W (23-20) at Sacred Heart
9/17/2011 – L (31-15) vs. Maine
9/25/2010 – L (28-17) at Duquesne
11/21/2009 – W (41-28) at Wagner
9/13/2008 – W (22-16 OT) at Hofstra
10/6/2007 – W (24-23) vs. Stony Brook

Richmond marks the fourth and last team UAlbany will play for the first time in program history this season. Previously, the Danes faced first-timers Rhode Island (19-13 OT, L), Old Dominion (66-10, L), and James Madison (40-13, L) this fall. UAlbany will look for the season’s first win over a fresh face Saturday.

In each of UAlbany’s last three games, the Great Danes have run a successful fake punt play. Against Towson, the Great Danes converted on 4th-and-3, when Jake Meek rushed 30-yards after lining up in punt formation. The drive resulted in Tom O’Riordan’s 35-yard field goal just before halftime (24-10). Against Delaware, UAlbany caught the hosts off guard on 4th-and-7 on their own 45. UAlbany snapped the ball to Meek who scampered for a 34-yard gain. A 23-yard pass to Cole King and Omar Osbourne’s 1-yard rush across the goal line gave UAlbany a three-point lead, 10-7, with 11:10 remaining in the second quarter. Lastly, against James Madison, the Great Danes avoided a quick three-and-out in their first possession of the second half.  With 4th-and-2 on UAlbany’s 35, the Great Danes faked a punt and Kevin Chillis rushed seven yards for a first down. UAlbany did not end up scoring on the drive, dropping a pass in the back of the end zone on 4th-and-goal.

Against Towson, UAlbany was charged with a season-high 11 penalties for a total of 107 yards. On the other hand, the visiting Tigers were penalized eight times for 96 yards in the flag-ridden game. The week eight clash marked the first time UAlbany drew more penalties than the opposition since the first three weeks of play against Duquesne (9-80/4-29), Colgate (6-48/4-26), and URI (7-58/5-46). On the season, the Danes have been called for 56 penalties resulting in 480 yards, while their opponents have totaled 49 penalties for 429 yards.

Against Central Connecticut (9/21), Will Fiacchi became the sixth quarterback in program history to pass for over 3,000 career yards. Fiacchi (332-566-11, 18 TD) has currently thrown for 3,776 yards in just his second season as a starter, and ranks third all-time. This fall, the Marcellus, N.Y. native has passed for 1,620 yards, good for eighth in the program’s single-season archives. Averaging 202.5 yards per game with four contests remaining, Fiacchi has a shot at breaking Dan DiLella’s single season passing yards record (2,548).

Junior running back Omar Osbourne has recorded five 100+ rushing yard performances in his career, including back-to-back games in 2013. Against Colgate, Osbourne totaled 256 yards on 35 carries, while totaling 119 yards with two touchdowns against CCSU. In week seven’s clash at Delaware, Osbourne logged his second-best running performance with 142 net rushing yards and a career-best three touchdowns. Averaging 106.2 rushing yards per game, Osbourne ranks third in the CAA. In his career, Osbourne has rushed for 1,661 yards, ranking 15th in UAlbany’s archives.

With 116 points scored in his career, Omar Osbourne is now 18th all-time in the program’s archives. This season, the Syracuse, N.Y. native has scored nine rushing touchdowns.

Jonathan Martin punted seven times against No. 7 Towson, totaling 258 yards for an average of 36.9 yards per punt. His 76-yarder that bounced for a touchback marked a career-long, as well as the longest punt in the CAA this season, and the fourth longest in UAlbany program history. Averaging 40.2 yards per punt in his rookie season, redshirt freshman Jonathan Martin ranks seventh in the CAA. Through eight games, Martin has punted 43 times for a total of 1,729 yard, dropping 10 inside the 20-yard line and two for a touchback. Martin has also booted five for over 50 yards.

With 94-career reception (1,479 yards), junior Cole King is tied for sixth all-time in UAlbany’s archives. At Old Dominion, King had his best performance of the season with five receptions for a total of 73 yards. He is two receptions away from having sole possession of fifth place. Senior Kevin Chillis is also moving up the ranks with 84 career receptions (1,096 yards) — just two catches away from breaking into UAlbany’s top-10. 

UAlbany returns to Bob Ford Field for its final two home games of the season. The Great Danes take on Maine at 3:30 p.m. next Saturday, and close the home slate the following week against New Hampshire.

November 9, 2013
UAlbany vs. Maine – 3:30 p.m.
The first 500 fans at UAlbany’s CAA football game versus Maine will receive a Bob Ford Bobblehead.

November 16, 2013
UAlbany vs. New Hampshire – 3:30 p.m.

 – All servicemen and servicewomen, active or retired, will receive free admission to the Great Danes’ final home game of the season versus New Hampshire.
UAlbany’s players will don stars and stripes on their helmets, in addition to the initials “TC” in honor of Lt. Col. Todd Clark and the Wounded Warrior Project. Lt. Col. Todd Clark was a wounded warrior himself as well as recipient of the Purple Heart. On his third tour of duty, the Albany native was severely injured by an IED in Afghanistan. Todd’s great sense of honor and duty directed him to return to action for a fourth tour in Afghanistan in early 2013, where he was in charge of training Afghan forces. On June 8th Todd died at the hands of one of the native soldiers he was there to train. Todd’s family will serve as honorary captains for the game. For more on Todd’s story, click here.
– Pop Warner players wearing their team’s jersey will be admitted for free.
– UAlbany’s senior players will be honored in a pregame ceremony. Postgame, Coach Ford will be honored for his storied career at the University at Albany.

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