Credit: Jay Bendlin, ASP
By: Edwards Kemedijio, Associate Sports Editor | March 28, 2021
The University at Albany Great Danes lost their third straight game of the season to the Stony Brook Seawolves, 21-7, on Saturday.
The Great Danes were short handed coming into the game and never truly found their footing on the offensive side of the ball. The Seawolves took advantage of sloppy UAlbany play on their way to the first win of the spring season.
Great Danes quarterback Jeff Undercuffler was a late scratch Friday night after an injury from last week’s game against Rhode Island. This meant that Braeden Zenelovic, the redshirt freshman, would be getting his first start of his collegiate career.
Head Coach Greg Gattuso commented on the Undercuffler injury. “He got banged up last week in the game we thought he was okay,” said Gattuso. “Friday, he turned to make a throw in our run through and yelled and we realized we were going to have to start Braeden.”
The quarterback position was not the only one that had injury issues. Star linebacker Levi Metheny did not play due to an arm injury.
The receiving core was also depleted as well. Tyler Oedekoven, starting receiver for the Great Danes did not play for the second straight game. For those who did play, all but two receivers left the game at some point with an injury.
The game was a low scoring affair. Each of the teams first drives went for over eight plays, but neither side was able to come away with points. Following the opening drives no drive exceeded five plays and only 28 yards were gained between the two teams.
Finally, after a quarter and half of scoreless action, Stony Brook drove 50 yards in eight plays and got into the end zone on a one-yard touchdown run by Sea Wolves running back Ty Son Lawton. This was one of two scores by Lawton, who had 114 yards and two touchdowns on the day.
The Danes were unable to get any offense with Zenelovic at quarterback. In his first start the young quarterback only competed nine of his 20 pass attempts for 69 yards. The Danes were unable to score a point with Zenelovic under center.
“Braeden had a really good week…we were confident in him going into the game.” said Gattuso. “The field position was a disaster for us all day. We just couldn’t get any drives going and we decided to see what Joey could give us.”
Down 14, following his second interception with 9:26 left in the third quarter, Gattuso made a quarterback change and in came true freshman quarterback Joey Carino for Somers, New York.
“I’ve been prepared ever since I got here,” said Carino. “Cuff and Braeden have been really helpful with learning the offense so when I got out there, I was prepared to play”
Carino was playing in his first game since his senior season of high school, but in his first drive of college football. The true freshman breathed life into the Great Danes’ offense. He drove 75 yards in nine plays for UAlbany first points of the day, cutting the Stony Brook lead to just seven. The drive included an 18-yard completion to Jackson Parker on third and long as well as a 26-yard run by Carino himself.
The UAlbany defense, who had been playing well a day long, seized the momentum given by the Great Danes’ offense and forced a 3 & out on the following possession giving UAlbany the football back. Unfortunately, three plays into the next drive Carino fumbled the football after being sacked and the Seawolves’ defensive lineman Peterson Octavian returned the football to the UA four-yard line.
Stony Brook would score on a Lawton run one play later, and the Great Danes failed to bounce back. They eventually would fall in their second straight home game, and third straight loss overall. The Great Danes turned the ball over four times and had seven drives that didn’t last for more than five plays.
Despite the poor performance overall from the Great Danes, there were some bright spots on both sides of the ball.
Karl Mofor put together a great performance. He had 166 total yards on the day, including 148 yards on the ground. Mofor is now averaging 114 yards a game on the season. He now leads the CAA in rushing yards through four games.
Jared Verse was another bright spot for the Great Danes. He was a monster on the defensive line Saturday, leading the team in tackles with 10 and tackles for loss with three, including a sack. The true freshman defensive end now leads the team this season with four sacks and nine tackles for loss.
“This is my first time playing defensive end ever,” said Verse, who was primarily a tight end in high school. “When I first came in here I wasn’t really paying attention to the little things… I feel like I have a better feel for it now.”
The Great Danes will go back on the road after two home games next week. They look to get back into the win column against Delaware, who currently sits at the top of the conference.