By Christian Hince | Sept. 4, 2023
On Saturday, the University at Albany football team lost 21-17 in an almost-upset against Marshall. The Great Danes, who now sit at 1-1, were 24.5-point underdogs to the Thundering Herd, a team from the Football Bowl Subdivision that went 9-4 last year.
Cornerback Aamir Hall recorded his first interception as a Great Dane at Marshall.
Photo Credit: UAlbany Athletics
UAlbany’s hopes to surprise Marshall first came about from their defense, who held the Herd scoreless through the first two quarters. The Great Danes went into the locker room up 3-0 after a 46-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the first half.
Their offense continued the effort by opening the second half with a 75-yard touchdown drive that ended with a connection from quarterback Reese Poffenbarger to wideout Jackson Parker to give the Great Danes a double digit lead. Poffenbarger answered a Marshall touchdown on the following drive with a 54-yard run to bring UAlbany’s lead back to 10, 17-7.
UAlbany wouldn’t score again however, and the Herd offense woke up. Marshall running back Rasheen Ali rushed for two touchdowns less than five minutes apart. The second of these was a 30-yard burst through a gaping hole cleared by the Marshall offensive line on fourth down to put the Herd up 21-17 early in the fourth. Ali finished with 137 yards rushing on 18 attempts.
Herd quarterback Cam Fancher had a solid performance of his own, throwing for 268 yards on an impressive accuracy of 28 for 35, and his third quarter touchdown strike. However, the game’s lone turnover came on a questionable high ball of his which was intercepted by UAlbany corner Aamir Hall, putting the Great Danes on Marshall’s side of the field with 9:30 left. UAlbany failed to capitalize though, turning the ball over on downs just over two minutes later.
The Great Danes got their final chance from their own 20 with 2:33 after Elijah Hills blocked a 37-yard field goal attempt. Poffenbarger drove UAlbany to Marshall’s 38 with 51 seconds left, but sacks for losses of 11 yards and four yards on third and fourth down, respectively, put their hopes of playing spoiler to bed.
With the defeat, UAlbany head coach Greg Gattuso falls to 1-6 against FBS opponents, his lone victory being a 22-16 win at Buffalo in 2016. He’ll get another shot to end this drought on Saturday, when the Great Danes travel to Hawaii to play the 0-2 Warriors.