Undercuffler and Green Continue to Thrive in the Spotlight
Every quarterback has a receiver he can trust to make a play when he needs it and University at Albany’s quarterback Jeff Undercuffler is no exception. More often than not in 2019, Juwan Green is that receiver.
Green has started this year strong, catching 25 balls for 350 yards and five touchdowns.
His strongest showing of the season was the Great Danes’ Week 2 game against Monmouth University. He set a program record for catches (15) in a game, and tied the record for the most touchdowns (three) and his 245 yards fell six shy of the single-game record.
“It’s special, it’s always good to break a record,” Green said. “But it’s always better to get the win while doing it.”
UAlbany hasn’t always been Green’s football home. The wide receiver transferred to UAlbany after completing two years at Lackawanna College.
The Pennsylvania junior college is widely regarded as the best JUCO in the country, so when Green transferred last season, he was not intimidated by the transition to Division I.
“I don’t think it’s that big of a jump. I went to Lackawanna, and we we’re the number one JUCO on the East Coast. We could compete with anyone in the country,” Green said to the Albany Student Press last year.
When Green arrived at UAlbany, he was no doubt talented, but he still had to work hard to improve his game. His 2018 season was solid, but those around him agree his game has taken off to a new level.
“The thing about Juwan is that he took the lunch pale route to becoming a star,” said coach Greg Gattuso. “He’s always been talented but it took him time. I think he is coming into his own.”
As for Undercuffler, he is confident his favorite receiver is the best on the field, regardless of the opponent.
“You can’t guard number four man,” Undercuffler said. “He’s showing out, and I’m going to keep going to him until teams show me they can stop him. If he keeps grinding, I think the NFL is a realistic goal for him.”
The Danes’ quarterback is also thriving in the offensive spotlight. Since becoming the full-time starting quarterback, Undercuffler has thrown for 1,217 yards and 12 touchdowns dating back to the final four weeks of the 2018 season.
Against Monmouth, Undercuffler set a single-game program record for completions (31), and tied single-game records for touchdowns (four), and passing yard (398).
“The chemistry is going to build week-by-week,” said Green. “The more balls he throws to me, the better we will get.”
The theme of this week’s game against Layfette College is “next man up,” as the Danes will play without their other star receiver, Dev Holmes, who was suspended this week for disciplinary reasons.
“I’m not going to discuss [the suspension],” coach Gattuso said. “This a family thing, between Dev and I.”
Holmes was a standout receiver for UAlbany last season, recording 51 catches for 725 yards. This season has been a different story for Holmes, as he has only six receptions in the first three games.
With the emergence of Green and Undercuffler’s chemistry, the Danes believe they can carry the load following the suspension.
The Danes return to the field Saturday Sept. 21 at home against Lafayette at 3:30 p.m.