By Vince Gasparini | November 6, 2023
The University at Albany football team collected their seventh win of the season in a 24-8 triumph over the #24 ranked William & Mary Tribe. The Great Dane defense was stout, shutting out the Tribe until quarterback Darius Wilson tacked on a 20-yard rushing score with 3:28 left.
Aamir Hall (pictured middle) celebrates with fellow Great Danes after scoring a touchdown.
Photo Credit: Shawn Ness / The ASP
Cornerback Aamir Hall shined for the Great Danes when, in the second quarter, he recorded a pick-six off Wilson, taking it back 45 yards through a crowd of Tribe defenders.
“We knew coming in [that] this was a big game, and we really took that in this weekend,” Hall said. “Both sides of the ball came out hot, and we executed.”
The Great Danes defense recorded six total sacks through the game, led by senior defensive lineman AJ Simon, who tallied 2.5 of them. Ori Jean-Charles and Bill Hackett put up one sack each, and Elijah Hills recorded a half a sack.
“The defense was lights out all game, and the offense did what they had to do,” head coach Greg Gattuso said. “We ran the ball pretty good, made some plays when we needed to, and ate up tons of clock in the second half to close it out.”
UAlbany started the game in exciting fashion, when quarterback Reese Poffenbarger connected with a diving Brevin Easton on a 37-yard touchdown pass on the first drive of the game, putting UAlbany up 7-0. Easton, a senior, has scored a touchdown in each of his last four games, and led the Great Danes with 90 yards on four receptions on Saturday.
“It definitely was a great start to what we wanted to do,” Easton said about the play.
Easton enjoys the bond with Poffenbarger, who also transferred to UAlbany in 2022, saying “we have a really good relationship dating back to last year when we both first came in.”
Poffenbarger totaled 205 yards on 12-22 passing in the win, including one touchdown and one interception.
UAlbany freshman running back Griffin Woodell also recorded a touchdown in the effort. Woodell, a Glens Falls native, put up 100 rushing yards on 18 carries for the Great Danes on Saturday. This was Woodell’s second 100-rushing-yard game of the season, the first coming against Rhode Island on Oct. 21.
With their win against William & Mary, the Great Danes improved to a record of 7-3 overall and 5-1 in conference play, while the Tribe fell to 5-4 overall and 3-3 in conference play. UAlbany is currently tied for first in the Colonial Athletic Association with Villanova and Richmond, and two games remain in the regular season. Looking to make a push for the playoffs, their road schedule closes next Saturday against Stony Brook.
“We just have to keep on winning, and let the pieces fall where they may,” Hall said. “I know for sure that we’re looking to make that playoff push.”