By Trevor Dugan | October 24, 2022
Photo Credit: UAlbany Athletics
The University at Albany football suffered a gut wrenching 38-37 OT loss to Hampton in their Homecoming game this past Saturday. The defeat marks the third time this season the Great Danes have scored 30+ points and lost.
The high note of the day for UAlbany was the play of QB Reese Poffenbarger, who was named the FedEx Ground National Freshman Player of the Week. It was the first national award for Poffenbarger in his collegiate career. Poffenbarger completed 26 of 35 passes for 337 yards and a career high four TD passes in his second 300 yard effort this season. He was also named CAA Rookie of the Week for a fourth consecutive week.
Poffenbarger has yet to throw an interception through six weeks. Among FCS QBs without interceptions this season, Poffenbarger has thrown the most passes (193) and TDs (13).
Unfortunately, it was a tale of two halves for the UAlbany defense. In the first half they played very well, limiting Hampton to just 10 points. DL AJ Simon intercepted Hampton QB Malcom Mays early on in the first.
With the ball placed at the Hampton 47 yard line after the pick, the Great Danes scored first, getting into the endzone in just three plays, ending with a 12 yard TD reception by Thomas Greaney. It was the first of three first half TD passes for Poffenbarger.
In the final minute of the first half, the UAlbany defense forced a three and out to get the offense one more chance before halftime. On the final play of the second quarter, Poffenbarger aired it out to Greaney, who hauled it in for a 40-yard TD reception. That made it 24-10 Great Danes at the half.
UAlbany continued to play well in the third quarter. LB Jackson Ambush picked off Mays to give the Great Danes possession at mid-field, but they failed to capitalize on the chance. Hampton would score the first TD in the second half, but UAlbany answered right away with an impressive eight play drive culminating in a five yard TD rush by RB Todd Sibley. UAlbany led 31-17 after three quarters.
Then the wheels fell off for the Great Danes. With 13:47 to go in the game, Hampton QB Mays gouged the UAlbany defense for a 43-yard TD pass. Eight minutes later, Mays would find Kymari Gray in the end zone to tie the score at 31. Hampton nearly won it with a 35-yard field goal in the closing seconds, but the kick was no good and the game went to OT.
Hampton scored on the first possession of OT to take a 38-31 lead. UAlbany took possession and seemed to be on the brink of defeat when they faced a fourth and goal from the 15 yard line. That was when Poffenbarger found WR Quinn Zinobile in the end zone, with Zinobile making an impressive grab for the TD.
Instead of kicking the extra point to extend the game, UAlbany opted to go for two and the win. Poffenbarger, who had already thrown four TDs at this point, threw a screen pass to Todd Sibley who was promptly stuffed before the goal line.
Head Coach Greg Gattuso - who must be getting used to losing games like this - was clearly upset after the game.
"Words escape me, losing that game. I don't have much to say,” Gattuso said. “I'm broken for our kids, but it's the same script over and over. We need to get out of it."
UAlbany returns to action on Saturday at 3:30 when they travel to Pennsylvania to face the Villanova Wildcats.