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UAlbany trounces Rhode Island for first victory

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By Andrew Hughes

Staff Writer

sports.asp@gmail.com

September 12, 2015

Photo by Brittany Gregory/Albany Student Press. UAlbany was flying high over Rhode Island on Saturday.
Photo by Brittany Gregory/Albany Student Press.
UAlbany was flying high over Rhode Island on Saturday.

The University at Albany football team treated the home crowd to a decisive 35-7 victory over the Rhode Island Rams in their first game at Bob Ford Field this season.

In their first home game, and the first game of conference play in the Colonial Athletic Association this season, UAlbany (1-1, 1-0 CAA) rolled over rival Rhode Island (0-2, 0-1 CAA) with an impressive offensive and defensive display in a blowout that was marked by excessive rainfall and rough weather.

The Great Danes struck first when DJ Crook scored his first of three touchdowns on the day with a 7-yard run into the end zone with 4:19 left in the opening quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, a Rhode Island fumble led to UAlbany having the ball deep in Rhode Island territory. Crook took advantage of the field position by finding Josh Gontarek in the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown toss. With 22 seconds left in the first quarter the Danes were in complete control with a two-touchdown lead.

After a scoreless second quarter, the Danes extended their lead in the second half with another DJ Crook touchdown toss, this time a 17 yard catch to a wide-open Anthony Manzo-Lewis.

An Elliot Croskey touchdown run in the fourth quarter with 7:29 sealed the deal, widening the Great Danes lead to 28. The Rams scored their first touchdown of the season with a 21-yard connection from URI quarterback Paul Mroz to Khayri Denny with 5:02 left in the game. However,

Elliot responded by topping off his massive rushing day with a 36 yard run with 3:19 left in the game. Croskey finished his second collegiate game with 141 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries.

After the game, coach Greg Gattuso was happy with his team’s output.

“I thought we really dominated the game until the very end. I was pleased with the win and pleased with the effort,” Gattuso said.

Gattuso was also pleased with his quarterback Crook, who was once the backup quarterback at FBS-school Penn State. Crook completed 19 of his 27 pass attempts for 191 yards and two touchdowns while adding a rushing score.

“DJ played very well. If he continues to manage a game like this we could be a very good football team,” Gattuso said.

Photo by Brittany Gregory/Albany Student Press. Quarterback DJ Crook used his arms and his feet to lead UAlbany past URI.
Photo by Brittany Gregory/Albany Student Press.
Quarterback DJ Crook used his arms and his feet to lead UAlbany past URI.

Crook picked up his first career win not only as a starter, but also as an FCS quarterback. Crook was relieved about his milestone, saying, “It feels great to get it out of the way. Now we’ve got to make sure it continues”

Both UAlbany and Rhode Island were coming off losses to FBS schools week one. The Great Danes fell to the Buffalo Bulls 51-14 in Buffalo while Rhode Island had been shut out last week against the Syracuse Orange at the Carrier Dome, suffering a crushing 47-0 loss.

With the win, the Great Danes improve their record to 1-1, while Rams fall to 0-2 with the loss. The Great Danes travel to Virginia next Saturday for a conference matchup with James Madison while Rhode Island hosts Harvard next Saturday.

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