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Football To Take On No. 7 Towson On Homecoming

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Football To Take On No. 7 Towson On Homecoming

ALBANY, N.Y. – After three weeks on the road, the University at Albany football team will return to Bob Ford Field Saturday, hosting No. 7 Towson University in the Great Danes’ homecoming game. UAlbany will look to bounce back from a heartbreaking three-point defeat at Delaware, while the Tigers come off a loss to Villanova, in which their 10-game win streak was snapped. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.

TV: Saturday’s action will be aired live on Time Warner Cable Sports in the Capital Region. Rodger Wyland and Zach Bye will have the call.
VIDEO STREAM: Watch a live stream online at the Dane Zone.
AUDIO: The game can be heard in the Capital Region on PYX 106 or anywhere online here. To listen on your mobile device, download the iHeartRadio app and search for FOX Sports 980.
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 Towson will face each other for the first time in a decade and for the fourth time in program history Saturday. The Great Danes own a 2-1 advantage in the all-time series, winning both games in Albany, N.Y. However, the Tigers own the most recent victory, topping the Danes, 35-16, on Nov. 15, 2003 in Towson. In 2001’s season-opener, UAlbany won the clash, 14-10. The Great Danes also overcame the Tigers in the Division III era, 37-28, in UAlbany’s 1978 homecoming game at University Field.

2013 Record: 1-6, 0-3 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) (256-164-0 / 265-186-1)

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 256-164 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 seven weeks of competition, UAlbany owns a 1-6 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 (127-221-5) who has thrown six touchdowns with an average of 213.4 passing yards per game. Senior Kevin Chillis has served as Fiacchi’s top receiver, making 33 catches for 398 yards and four touchdowns. On the ground, junior Omar Osbourne ranks second in the CAA and leads the squad with 171 carries and 800 rushing yards (114.3/game), while crossing the goal nine six times this fall. Defensively, Christian Dorsey and TJ Idowu lead the team with 55 and 53 tackles, respectively.

LAST TIME OUT: With just 3:18 remaining in the fourth quarter, Omar Osbourne’s third rushing touchdown of the game gave UAlbany a 30-22 lead in Saturday afternoon’s nationally televised CAA clash at Delaware Stadium. However, the hosting Delaware University Blue Hens rallied in the closing minutes to score a game-tying touchdown with 1:42 left, and a game-winning 42-yard field goal with two ticks on the clock to steal a 33-30 victory over the Great Danes. With the loss, UAlbany fell to 1-6 overall and 0-3 in the CAA, while Delaware improved to 5-2 on the season and 2-1 in conference play.  Osbourne led the Great Danes with three touchdowns and 142 rushing yards on 34 carries. Junior quarterback Will Fiacchi threw for 212 yards and one touchdown, completing 17-of-26 passes. Fiacchi connected with Nic Ketter, marking the redshirt freshman’s first touchdown catch of his career and his only reception of the game. Cole King led the receivers with four catches and 60 yards, followed by Kevin Chillis’ three grabs for a total of 69 yards. Jameel Gay and tight end Brian Parker also made three receptions, garnering 30 and 37 yards, respectively.

Defensively, Christian Dorsey led the squad with 12 tackles, including seven solo, followed by freshman Michael Nicastro’s 10 tackles and a sack for a loss of three yards. Marcel Ngachie and Randall Exantus each brought down nine.

2013 Record: 6-1, 2-1 CAA
2012 Record: 7-4, 6-2 CAA (5th/11)
2013 CAA Preseason Poll: 2nd/11
Head Coach: Rob Ambrose (5th season at Towson) (25-27/28-34)

THE COACH: A 1993 graduate of Towson, Rob Ambrose is in his fifth season at the helm of the Tigers’ football program. In his first two seasons, Towson had a combined 3-19 record (2009: 2-9, 2010:1-10) before leading the Tigers to back-to-back CAA titles in 2011 (9-3) and 2012 (7-4). Ambrose was honored as the CAA Coach of the Year, the AFCA District Coach of the Year and a finalist for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year in 2011, and in January 2012, he was the recipient of the Eddie Robinson Award as the top coach in FCS football. Ambrose started his coaching career as a wide receivers coach at Towson in 1992 before becoming the offensive coordinator in 1997 and the associate head coach in 2000. He then had a one-year stint at Catholic University in 2001 as their head coach before joining UConn’s staff in 2002. He served as the Huskies’ offensive coordinator from 2006-08.

TOWSON OVERVIEW: Coming off back-to-back CAA championships, Towson has been a Top-25 team in the FCS rankings dating back to 2011. Last week, the Tigers ranked No. 2 in the FCS Coaches Poll and No. 3 in the Sports Network Top 25, but this week have dropped to No. 7 in both after falling to No. 11/12 Villanova. Towson is led by junior running back Terrance West who leads the CAA in scoring, rushing, and all-purpose yards. West has totaled 17 rushing touchdowns and averages 135.3 yards per game. Senior quarterback Peter Athens (122-195-7) ranks third in the conference, averaging 241.0 passing yards per game with 10 touchdown tosses. Spencer Wilkins and Leon Kinnard each have 31 receptions this season, serving as Athens’ top targets. Defensively, Telvion Clark’s 54 tackles, three sacks, and three forced fumbles lead the squad.

TOWSON’S LAST TIME OUT: Towson suffered its first loss of the season last week, falling to Villanova, 45-35, on the Tiger’s homecoming. The Wildcats’ sophomore quarterback John Robertson completed 17 of 18 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 150 yards on 32 carries and scored three touchdowns, leading then-No. 15 Villanova (4-2, 3-0) to a 45-35 Colonial Athletic Association victory over the previously-undefeated Tigers (6-1, 2-1) at Minnegan Field at Johnny Unitas® Stadium. The Tigers, who had their 10-game winning streak snapped, helped Villanova build a 21-0 first quarter lead and never could catch up. The Wildcats took advantage of three Towson turnovers to take the early lead. Athens completed 24 of 41 passes for a career high 355 yards and two touchdowns. However, he threw three interceptions. West, who entered the game as the fourth-leading rusher in NCAA FCS, was held to a season low 61 yards on 15 carries and scored two touchdowns. He also caught six passes for 101 yards. Wilkins had five catches for 125 yards and a touchdown.

Until now, never before had the Great Danes played in front of 20,000+ fans multiple times in a single season, let alone in back-to-back weeks. In week six, UAlbany played in front of the largest audience in program history with a capacity crowd of 25,201 at James Madison (10/5/13). The week prior, Old Dominion’s sold out venue of 20,118 marked the fifth-largest crowd in program history. UAlbany has a 1-4 record in games played with 20,000+ in attendance. The lone win came over Delaware on Sept. 16, 2006 (17-10).

1. 25,201 vs. James Madison, 10-5-13 – L (40-13)
2. 23,097 vs. Montana, 9-22-07 – L (35-14)
3. 22,196 vs. Delaware, 9-27-08 – L (38-7)
4. 22,016 vs. Delaware, 9-16-06 – W (17-10)
5. 20,118 vs. Old Dominion, 9-28-13 – L (66-10)
6. 19,511 vs. Montana, 9-7-02 – L (45-7)
7. 18,118 vs. Georgia Southern, 9-5-09 – L (29-26)
8. 15,840 vs. Youngstown State, 9-15-12 – L (31-23)
9. 17,363 vs. Delaware, 10-12-13 – L (33-30)
10. 15,112 vs. Massachusetts, 8-30-08 – L (28-16)
11. 14,022 vs. Central Florida, 11-8-80 – W (28-27)

Junior running back Omar Osbourne led the Great Danes with a career-best three touchdowns and 142 rushing yards on 34 carries at Delaware. His third rushing touchdown of the game – a 21-yard scamper — gave UAlbany a 30-22 lead with just 3:18 remaining in the fourth. Osbourne also prevented a touchdown with 1 second remaining in the first half, tackling Travis Hawkins at the 3-yard line after a 66-yard interception return. The Syracuse, N.Y. native gave UAlbany a 10-7 lead in the second quarter with a 1-yard rush across the goal line. He also found the end zone, giving the Great Danes a 17-16 lead with 5:00 minutes left in the third quarter.

Including week two’s nail-biter at Colgate, week four’s heartbreaking loss to CCSU, and week seven’s near upset at Delaware, UAlbany has played in 13 games decided by three points or less since the start of the 2009 season. The Great Danes were in four games decided by three points or less in the 2009 season, three in 2010, two in 2011, one in 2012, and now three in 2013. Since 1999, UAlbany has a 10-17 record in FCS games decided by three points or less.

Sept. 5, 2009: Georgia Southern 29, UAlbany 26
Oct. 17, 2009: UAlbany 20, Bryant 17
Oct. 31, 2009: Central Conn. State 31, UAlbany 29
Nov. 7, 2009: Robert Morris 13, UAlbany 10
Sept. 2, 2010: UAlbany 3, Maine 0
Oct. 2, 2010: UAlbany 23, Yale 20
Oct. 22, 2010: Central Conn. State 30, UAlbany 27 (OT)
Sept. 3, 2011: Colgate 37, UAlbany 34 (OT)
Nov. 26, 2011: #22 Stony Brook 31, UAlbany 28 (NCAA Playoffs)
Oct. 27, 2012: UAlbany 23, Sacred Heart 20
Sept. 7, 2013: UAlbany 37, Colgate 34
Sept. 21, 2013: Central Conn. 20, UAlbany 17

Oct. 12, 2013: Delaware 33, UAlbany 30

Against Delaware, UAlbany was 4-for-4 for 4th-down conversions, including a successful fake punt play that led eventually led to an Omar Osbourne touchdown in the second quarter. On the season, the Great Danes have converted 14-of-24 4th-down attempts. UAlbany’s opponents are 3-for-6.

Despite the outcome of UAlbany’s last two contests, the Great Danes won the time of possession battle against both James Madison (+10:14) and Delaware (+6:44).

Against Central Connecticut (9/21), Will Fiacchi became the sixth quarterback in program history to pass for over 3,000 career yards. Fiacchi (315-531-10, 17 TD) has currently thrown for 3,650 yards in just his second season as a starter, and ranks third all-time. This fall, the Marcellus, N.Y. native has passed for 1,494 yards, tying Joe Savino for eighth in the program’s archives. Averaging 213.4 yards per game with five contests remaining, Fiacchi is on pace to break 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 114.3 rushing yards per game, Osbourne ranks second in the CAA behind Towson’s Terrance West. In his career, Osbourne has rushed for 1,611 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.

Averaging 40.9 yards per punt in his rookie season, redshirt freshman Jonathan Martin ranks fifth in the CAA. Through seven games, Martin has punted 36 times for a total of 1,471 yards, dropping seven inside the 20-yard line and one for a touchback. Martin has also booted four for over 50 yards, including a 73-yarder vs. CCSU that was downed at the 15. The booming kick ties for the sixth-longest punt in program history.

With 90-career reception (1,452 yards), senior Cole King ranks 9th 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 moving into eighth place.

Senior wid
e receiver Kevin Chillis recorded his first career 100-yard receiving game against Duquesne in week one (8/31), making a career-high nine receptions, totaling 135 yards (T-15th all-time) and two touchdowns. He then repeated the feat against Colgate (9/7), recording 115 receiving yards and a touchdown with five catches. With six receptions for 22 yards and a touchdown at James Madison (10/5), Chillis reached the 1,000-yard milestone, and became the 13th player in program history to do so. Ranking eighth in the CAA, Chillis is averaging 4.6 receptions and 56.9 yards per game. Chillis’ 81 career receptions ranks 11th all-time at UAlbany.

The Great Danes have a bye next week before returning to CAA play at Richmond on Nov. 2nd. The game will mark UAlbany’s third trip to the state of Virginia this season.

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