Credit: Ronald Gillis
By Edwards Kemedjio | March 15 2021
The University at Albany Great Danes fell to the Maine Black Bears at Alfond Stadium in a shootout that went down to the wire, by a score of 38-34.
The game was a high scoring affair, with both teams scoring three touchdowns in a second half that featured six lead changes. The Black Bears prevailed in the end, beating 13th ranked UAlbany for the 6th straight time and securing their first win over a ranked opponent since 2018.
The Great Danes were unable to stop the Black Bears offensive attack during the game, who amassed 412 yards of total offense. Maine quarterback Joe Fagnano had 300 yards through the air and on the ground and five total touchdowns.
“It only takes one little thing, “said Fagnano. “Offense just started clicking and everybody got on the same page”.
Maine wide receiver Andre Miller had a career-high 144 receiving yards and 3 touchdown receptions including the go-ahead score from ten yards out with 3:34 left in the game.
“Even though we were struggling early it went on to the next play every time,” said Miller, who started the game off with multiple drops.
The Black Bears following a 37-0 romp in Delaware the week before, saw their offense bounce back in a major way. The Great Danes, who won last Friday on the strength of their defense, saw their unit get thoroughly outplayed Saturday afternoon.
“We put the game in Joe’s hands, said Maine Head Coach Nick Charleston. “We put the ball in the quarterback’s hands and got the ball to number 10.”
UAlbany Head Coach Greg Gattuso expressed his frustration with the defensive unit after the game. “I’m very, very frustrated and disappointed with our complete lack of discipline on defense,” said Gattuso after the game. “A lot of the plays that hurt us were things that we should have been able to do better.”
In the end, the Great Danes were just unable to stop Maine and get the ball back to their offense. After having their field goal attempt blocked on their first drive of the second half, the Black Bears didn’t fail to score a touchdown all but one time before the last drive of the game, when they ran out the clock after stopping the Albany offense.
Penalties were a major part of the game Saturday. The game featured 24 accepted penalties with each team accounting for 12. It was a mistake ridden game on both sides that featured numerous false starts, offsides penalties, and even a targeting call that left both coaches disappointed with their team’s lack of discipline.
“When both teams have 12 penalties in a college football game it’s a lot, you know, and ours hurt us,” said Gattuso. “I’m greatly disappointed in us losing this football game.”
Offensively, the Great Danes’ passing attack was not up to standard. UAlbany Quarterback Jeff Undercuffler had one of his worst days as a starter, completing less than half of his passes and throwing for less than 150 yards on 36 attempts. While the swirling winds did play a factor, Undercuffler was either off target or not on the same page with his receivers more often than not Saturday afternoon.
Where the passing attack was lacking for UAlbany, however, the rushing attack was the opposite. Running back Karl Mofor, who led the CAA in rushing yards last year, got back on track after a rough game last Friday in the win against UNH. Mofor rushed for 155 yards on 30 attempts and two touchdowns. His 98 yards in the first half is what kept the Great Danes in the game early, and he provided one timely run after another to help UAlbany keep pace with Maine for most of the game.
“Every game in the CAA you know there might be some bad weather,” said Mofor speaking on the swirling winds in the stadium. “Every week we have the same game plan…we just have to control the ball and run the ball. Would have been better in a win.”
His efforts weren’t enough in the end. The Black Bears got the one critical stop they needed, and the Great Danes fell to 1-1 on the season. They will look to bounce back next week when they take on the University of Rhode Island in their first game at Casey Stadium.