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Football To Clash At Colgate Saturday

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Football To Clash At Colgate Saturday

ALBANY, N.Y. – For the second consecutive week, the University at Albany football program will face a non-conference opponent on the road, while searching for the season’s first win. The Great Danes travel to Hamilton, N.Y. Saturday to take on the Colgate University Raiders at 6:00 p.m. at Andy Kerr Stadium.

TICKETS: Click here for Colgate ticket information.
TV: Saturday’s action will be aired live on Time Warner Cable Sports.

AUDIO: The game can be heard in the Capital Region on FOX Sports 980AM or anywhere online here. To listen on your mobile device, download the iHeartRadio app and search for FOX Sports 980. Rodger Wyland and Zach Bye will have the call.
VIDEO: The Patriot League network will air the game live online.
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 Colgate will meet for the fourth time in Division I program history Saturday. While Colgate leads the all-time series, 2-1, the Great Danes own the most recent victory, winning 40-23 in the 2012 season opener on Sept. 1, 2012 in Albany. Falling behind, 10-0, the Danes scored 23 straight points to take the lead for good, using two blocked punts by Ocieka Bakou to turn the tides. In the 2011 season opener, the Raiders edged UAlbany, 37-34 in overtime. Colgate also topped the Great Danes, 13-11, on Sept. 1, 2007. Both of those meetings were played in Hamilton, N.Y. The two squads also met back in 1924 as club teams — Colgate walked away with a 33-0 victory in UAlbany’s last season of play before reinstating the club team in 1970 under the direction of Coach Bob Ford.

UAlbany overcame Colgate handily, 40-23, on Sept. 1, 2012. The Danes’ defensive line was the story of the night, blocking two punts for nine consecutive points on a safety and touchdown, in addition to breaking up four passes as the airborne ball crossed the line of scrimmage. The Great Danes’ defense also forced the Raiders into two fumbles and an interception. Then-senior Jon Morgan led the squad with nine tackles, including eight solo, while senior linebacker Dean Mercuris broke up a game-high three passes. Offensively, senior Drew Smith and sophomore Omar Osbourne both rushed for career highs, as Smith led UAlbany with 174 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. Osbourne also broke his career best in two categories, rushing 113 yards while logging 146 all-purpose yards. Making his debut as starting quarterback, redshirt sophomore Will Fiacchi completed 16-of-25 pass attempts for 143 yards. (For a full recap and stats, see page 8 of game notes).

2013 Record: 0-1, 0-0 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) (255-160-0 / 264-181-1)

THE COACH: Bob Ford ranks first among active NCAA Division I FCS coaches with 264 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 255-160 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 comes off a season-opening 35-24 loss at Duquesne in which the Great Danes never held a lead. The Danes totaled 421 yards of offense, including a DI program-record 354 passing yards. Junior quarterback Will Fiacchi completed a program record 27-of-45 passes with one interception and two touchdown tosses to senior Kevin Chillis. Chillis logged a team-high nine receptions, while Presley Beauvais (41 yards) and Cole King (31 yards) each had four. On the ground, Omar Osbourne carried the ball 21 times for a total of 79 yards and one touchdown. Defensively, Alex Helmer’s career-high 11 tackles, including eight unassisted, led the Danes. While UAlbany’s kicking game was an area of concern coming into the contest, punter Jonathan Martin and kicker Tom O’Riordan served as a highlight. Martin punted four times, averaging 48.8 yards, including two over 50-yards and two that pinned the Dukes within the 20-yard line. Also making his debut donning purple and gold, O’Riordan was 1-for-1 for field goals and 3-for-3 for point-after attempts. (For a full recap and stats, see page 9 of game notes).

2013 Record: 0-1, 0-0 Patriot League
2012 Record: 8-4, 5-0 Patriot (1st)
2013 Patriot League Preseason Poll: 1st/7
Head Coach: Dick Biddle (18th season at Colgate/18th overall) (133-66)

THE COACH: Biddle is in his 18th season as Colgate’s Fred ’50 and Marilyn Dunlap Head Football Coach, and stands as the winningest football coach in school history with an overall mark of 133-66. In 2012, he was named Patriot League Coach of the Year for the fifth time while guiding the Raiders to their seventh Patriot League title and ninth appearance in the NCAA playoffs. In 2003, Biddle was named the American Football Coaches Association Division I-AA (now FCS) National Coach of the Year after leading the Raiders to a 15-1 record and berth in the national championship game.

COLGATE OVERVIEW: The Raiders come off a historic championship season, in which they went 5-0 in Patriot League play and advanced to the NCAA playoffs for the ninth time in program history. Colgate fell to Wagner (who shared the 2012 NEC title with the Great Danes) in the first round of the NCAA Division I Football Championship playoff by a score of 31-20 in Staten Island. Colgate returns one of the best quarterbacks in the FCS, Gavin McCarney, who ranked ninth nationally in total offense (314.8 ypg) and was the fifth-place finisher in the Walter Payton Award voting as a junior. Last season, McCarney led the nation in scoring with 140 points on 23 rushing touchdowns and one two-point conversion run. He completed 159-of-256 passes for 2,372 yards and 15 touchdowns with only eight interceptions. He also rushed for 1,406 yards to finish with a school-record 3,778 total offensive yards. The Raiders opened the 2013 season against FBS opponent Air Force in Colorado Springs on Aug. 31st. Colgate fell, 38-13 in front of 32,095 fans.

Junior quarterback Will Fiacchi’s opening day performance at Duquesne (8/31) was one for the record book. His 27 completions and 45 passing attempts both broke UAlbany single-game program records, while his 346 passing yards ranks second all-time for a single game in program history. It also marked just the fourth 300+ passing game by a Great Dane quarterback and the first since Dan DiLella tossed 306 yards against Monmouth on Nov. 12, 2011. In just his second season as a starter, Fiacchi ranks eighth all-time on UAlbany’s career passing yards list with 2,502 yards – just 16 yards away from moving into seventh place.

300 vs. 300
Marking just the second time in UAlbany program history, both starting quarterbacks totaled over 300 passing yards in the Great Danes’ week one contest at Duquesne. Will Fiacchi (27-45-1) totaled 346 passing yards, while the Dukes’ Dillon Buechel (21-28-0) finished with 309 yards. The only other time this has happened in the Great Dane archives was in UAlbany’s 42-40 win over Southern Connecticut State on Nov. 15, 1997. Joe Savino (19-36-1) totaled a still standing program record 398 passing yards, while the Owls’ Kevin Dickinson (20-40-0) threw for 366 yards.

Senior wide receiver Kevin Chillis recorded his first career 100-yard receiving game against Duquesne in week one (8/31). Ranking first in the CAA, Chillis made a career-high nine receptions, totaling 135 yards (T-15th all-time) and two touchdowns.

Entering their first season in the CAA, the Great Danes plan to embrace the role of the underdog. UAlbany, who had 35 scholarships as a member of the NEC, has moved up to 54 scholarships for the 2013 season. While it is more, it is still well under the 63 limit that a majority of the CAA programs are at. UAlbany looks to average 57 scholarships across the next two seasons in order to play an FBS opponent in 2015 and have that game count in the opposition’s bowl eligibility.   

Since becoming a Divison I FCS program in 1999, UAlbany owns a 97-59 overall record – just three victories away from the century mark.

Colgate will be a pretty familiar opponent for UAlbany quarterback Ryan Smith. Smith, a native of Guilderland, N.Y., served as the Raider’s back-up quarterback in the 2011 season before transferring to UAlbany. Smith appeared in two games for Colgate, completing 7-of-11 passes for 65 yards and a touchdown, while throwing two interceptions. Smith had to sit out the 2012 season at UAlbany due to NCAA transfer rules.

University Field has been the home of the Great Danes since Bob Ford started a club football team in 1970. In 43 seasons, UAlbany accrued a 135-67-1 record on the natural grass gridiron. With the move to the CAA, the Great Danes will move to Bob Ford Field, a brand new 8,500 seat stadium with an artificial turf field, video board, and luxury suites. The Danes’ old digs will become a state-of-the-art track and field venue that will be ready to host UAlbany meets next spring. UAlbany opens Bob Ford Field on Sept. 14th versus CAA-foe Rhode Island at 7:00 p.m.

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