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Great Danes fall in Bob Ford’s final home game

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By Aaron Williams
Staff Writer
[email protected]

The University at Albany Great
Danes suffered a tough 37 -20
loss to the University of New
Hampshire this Saturday at Bob
Ford Field. It was head coach
Bob Ford’s final game coaching
on home turf.
Bob Ford has been the head
coach since the team began in
1970. He has been named the
Northeast Conference Coach
of the Year four times. He has
lead UAlbany through all of its
success. The university retired a
jersey number 40 in his honor,
marking the number of years that
UAlbany has been a varsity
football team.
The Great Danes began the
game with the first possession.
They looked to get the ball to
running back Omar Osbourne
early as he gained 18 of the 31
yards in the drive on 3 touches.
Their drive was cut short on
an incomplete pass to tight end
Brian Parker which forced punt
on a 4th and 14.
On the ensuing drive, New
Hampshire put together a 12 play
66 yard drive that resulted in a
31 yard field goal to put them
up 3-0 midway through the first
New Hampshire (6-4,5-2) widened
the gap after a short UAlbany
(1-10,0-7) possession gave
them good starting field position.
Andy Vailas completed a 3 yard
touchdown pass to Justin Mello
to give them a 10 point lead,
after the extra point attempt, with
just under 4 minutes remaining
in the 1st quarter.
Omar Osbourne had a big
game on the ground. He ran
for 109 yards on 28 rushing
attempts. He has proven to be instrumental
every week as he has
received the bulk of the running.
Brian Parker and Kevin Chillis
also performed well. Chillis
caught 9 passes for 86 yards
while Parker snagged 4 for 71
yards. They combined for 157 of
Will Fiacchi’s 251 yards passing.
At the start of the 2nd quarter,
after a UAlbany punt, New
Hampshire’s drive was highlighted
by a 51 yard touchdown run
by Dalton Crossan to increase
their lead on the Great Danes to
17 following the extra point.
With just under 9 minutes to
go before halftime, UAlbany
went to the air. Fiacchi completed
3 of his 5 pass attempts.
A 32 yard pass completion to
Parker set up Jake Meek for an 8
yard touchdown run to close the
ground on the New Hampshire
lead making the score 17-7 after
a Tom O’Riordan extra point
With time running down in
the first half, New Hampshire’s
decision to run the ball did not
help the Great Danes’ cause.
After 12 plays, 8 of which were
runs, the Wildcats got a 33 yard
field goal to go up 20-7. At the
post game conference, Coach
Ford pointed out that as a team,
“We’re still missing tackles,” and
that was apparent on this drive in
With the second half underway,
the energy on the field was high.
Despite a 41 yard kickoff return
by New Hampshire, UAlbany
came back with strong defense
and forced New Hampshire to
punt quickly.
The Great Danes struck first
in the second half. Osbourne
received majority of the touches
this offensive drive as he touched
the ball on 6 of the 10 offensive
plays. Kevin Chillis appeared
in the backfield and ran for a
healthy 12 yard gain on this
drive. The drive was capped off
by a 1 yard touchdown run by
Osbourne. Following the successful
extra point attempt, the
Great Danes closed the gap trailing
by a score making it 20-14
New Hampshire with 4:23 left in
the 3rd quarter.
UAlbany was able to inch
closer with a 29 yard field goal to
start the 4th quarter to make the
score 17-20.
After New Hampshire’s drive
was cut short on a failed 3rd and
15 conversion, UAlbany was
in possession to regain possession
and attempt to get ahead.
On the ensuing New Hampshire
punt, UAlbany’s Neil Morrison
was charged for a fumble after
the ball just barely hit him. New
Hampshire recovered the fumble
and started their drive 35 yards
from the end zone in UAlbany
New Hampshire’s Andy Vailas
capped off an 8 play 35 yard
drive with a 3 yard completion
to Justin Mello for a touchdown;
his second of the game.
UAlbany came back strong
with a beautiful 12 play, 67 yard
drive where Fiacchi attempted
a pass all but three plays. Their
drive was cut short on the New
Hampshire 15 yard line by an incomplete
pass to Chillis who was
well guarded. Tom O’Riordan
converted a 32 yard field goal to
put UAlbany within a touchdown
with the score being 27-20 New
On the ensuing kickoff, New
Hampshire’s Dalton Crossan
returned the kick 93 yards for a
touchdown taking the air right
out of UAlbany’s sails.
After the extra point, the score
was now 34-20 with just over
eight minutes left to be played.
UAlbany’s next possession
ended quickly. Osbourne accounted
for all 26 yards gained
on that drive as the Great Danes
failed to convert a 4th and short,
giving the Wildcats great field
New Hampshire capitalized on
their good field position as they
drove 44 yards on 9 plays ending
in a 34 yard field goal connection
with 2:55 left in the game to
increase their lead to 17.
The Great Danes were pressed
for time and, despite the score,
showed resilience with Fiacchi
leading the drive. He completed
all 5 of his passes that drive for
64 yards and lead the team down
to the 4 yard line. The drive was
squandered by an interception
by New Hampshire’s Shane Mc-
Neely on Jake Meek’s pass out of
the wildcat formation.
It was an unfortunate end to a
game that will go down as one to
remember because of the legacy
being left behind by coach Bob
Ford. The players were disappointed
to not have gotten the
win for Coach Ford especially by
the Great Danes starting quarterback
Will Fiacchi who refers to
coach Ford as a, “father figure.”
“We’re not going to fold. We still
have one game left,” he said.
Coach Ford told media after
the game that, “We’re getting
better.” The team has recently
been moved up to the Colonial
Athletic Association.
“My life has been phenomenal. I
have been blessed to work at the
University at Albany with great
coaches and a lot of great players,”
Ford said of his tenure with
the Great Danes.
“I want to thank everybody
involved in this great game,”
he added. “And I want to say to
this football squad tonight, how
proud I am of you. That was a
great battle. Great, great job.
Thank you.”
The Great Danes will be taking
on Stony Brook for their final
game of the season at Stony
Brook looking to finish the
season, and Bob Ford’s career, on
the right note.

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