Wildcats devour the Great Danes
By Andrew Hughes
The University at Albany football team was manhandled on Saturday by the #25 ranked Villanova Wildcats 37-0. The Great Danes, who were playing host to CAA rival Villanova for the first time in program history, were rarely competitive in the game.
The Great Danes lost their third game in a row, scoring just one touchdown in their last three games, with two of the losses being shutouts.
Coach Greg Gattuso was visibly unhappy with himself and his coaching staff after the Great Danes’ second home loss in as many weeks.
“I have to coach my coaches better and they need to coach our players better,” Gattuso said. “We really need this off week. I have a lot of thinking to do.”
The Great Danes have off this week and after the way they have played the past couple of weeks, it’s not coming a moment too soon. UAlbany has lost three games in a row by a combined score of 113-7.
The Wildcats pounced early on the porous UAlbany defense, which ranks 10th out of 12 teams in the CAA. Quarterback Zach Bednarczyk led the Wildcats downfield on their first possession, with a pair of first down tosses to Anthony DeCamillo and Kevin Gulyas of 17 yards and 10 yards respectively.
Gulyas had a 106 yard, 2 touchdown game last year during UAlbany’s first ever game against Villanova, and he had another big game with 77 yards and a touchdown.
Gudzak scored the first touchdown of the game with a 10 yard run to put Villanova up 7-0 with 11:11 left to go in the first quarter.
The Great Danes struggled mightily on offense throughout the game, but had their moments in the first half. With 11:18 left in the second quarter, with the ball at the Villanova 17 yard line, DJ Crook complete a pass to Zee Roberson. As Roberson picked up the first down and looked to be heading for a game-changing touchdown, he fumbled the ball at the 5-yard line and Villanova recovered.
UAlbany appeared to be in position to score once again with the ball at the Villanova 2 yard line with 20 seconds left in the half. The Great Danes, with no timeouts left, scrambled to get a field goal attempt. Even though Patrick Toole’s kick was good before time expired, a flag negated the kick and UAlbany took a 10-0 deficit into the locker room. After the late flag, Gattuso chased down the referees on the field to dispute the call, to no avail.
“I need better time management at the end of the half,” said Gattuso. “That was on me.”
The third quarter saw the UAlbany offense implode as quarterback DJ Crook threw three interceptions. He completed 13 of 24 passing on the game but was yanked in the fourth quarter because of his multiple turnovers.
“I got to go through my reads and I got to do my job better,” said Crook. “I wasn’t doing my job and putting my team in a good position.”
Villanova scored on three consecutive plays between the third and fourth quarters, extending their lead to 37. The lone bright spot in the game for the Great Danes was a block on the extra point attempt by Gerard Smith.
For the Wildcats, Bednarczyk was a perfect 12 for 12 on the game to go along with 152 yards and two touchdowns. Six different Wildcats rushed for over 20 yards on the afternoon.
After Crook was pulled from the game, UAlbany backup quarterback Neven Sussman had his first pass attempt of the game intercepted by Villanova’s Cameron McCurry.
The Great Danes were flat in the second half and were outscored 27-0. Villanova outgained UAlbany 421-232 and scored 20 points off UAlbany turnovers.
“We had a great first half, but in the second half we crumbled,” defensive lineman Samuel Gray said. “We didn’t come out on fire like we should’ve been.”
The Great Danes fall to 2-5 with the loss, while the Wildcats improve to 3-3. The Great Danes’ next game is against Richmond on Halloween in Virginia.