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Football Routs Fordham in Season Opener

By Christian Hince | August 28, 2023

On Saturday night, the University of Albany started their 2023 season with a resounding 34-13 win over the Fordham University Rams at home. Playing in front of a sold-out crowd of 8,500, the victory against 2022’s Patriot League champion was the Great Danes’ first home opener in three years.

Great Dane wideout Roy Alexander and quarterback Reese Poffenbarger celebrate a first half touchdown.

Photo Credit: Brent Warzocha, UAlbany Athletics

Sophomore UAlbany quarterback Reese Poffenbarger shined, throwing for 253 yards and 4 touchdowns, hitting eight different receivers across the game. He flashed mobility out of the pocket too, scrambling well and rushing for 48 yards total. Despite a couple near-interceptions, including one in the third quarter where the ball slipped out of his hand, Poffenbarger didn’t take his mistake to heart. “I hope to be perfect but that was just a stupid decision on my part,” said Poffenbarger.

No offensive playmaker showed up like junior wideout Roy Alexander, who caught two of Poffenbarger’s touchdowns. His second one came with less than a minute left in the first half, where he took a screen reception 18 yards to the end zone while fighting off six tacklers, pushing UAlbany’s halftime lead to 21-6.

He thanked UAlbany strength coach Matt Barber for the play, thanking him for “pushing me in the weight room every day, just telling me he knows how great I can be.”

Alexander had a major impact in the return game as well, running a kickoff back 44 yards in the early second quarter as part of a game total of 82.

While UAlbany struggled on defense in 2022, giving up 34.1 points per game, on Saturday they did anything but. After losing a 48-45 shootout to Fordham last season, the Great Danes took full advantage of an offense which lost key playmakers. Two first half red zone stops kept the Rams to field goals early, with Fordham never drawing closer than 7-6 in the early second.

After the Rams rushed for 49 yards in the first quarter, UAlbany held them to a net total of -12 the rest of the game. The team sacked Fordham quarterback CJ Montes eight times, with defensive linemen AJ Simon and Anton Juncaj tallying three each, and linebacker Dylan Kelly notching two on top of leading all tacklers with 12. Juncaj forced the night’s only turnover on a strip-sack in the closing minute of the first half, giving the offense a short field not long before Alexander’s physical red zone touchdown.

“We’re not a very bland defense anymore,” said Gattuso. “That front four has really grown up and played well.”

Now, the Great Danes begin a month-long road trip which starts next Saturday at the Sun Belt’s Marshall University, their first of two FBS opponents in September.


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