College football: Danes' pass defense, run game need to improve
Some changes need to be made.
Not in personnel, but definitely in execution.
After last week’s 35-24 loss at Duquesne in its season opener, the University at Albany football team is looking for some redemption when it travels to Colgate to face the Raiders at 6 tonight at Andy Kerr Stadium.
The Great Danes dug an early 9-0 hole following a safety on their first offensive series, and were never able to get back on track a week ago in Pittsburgh.
“Anytime you get beat, you try to do an evaluation of what happened,” said veteran UAlbany head coach Bob Ford. “There are a couple of things you just can’t do and expect to still win a football game. You can’t turn it over three times and not get the other team to turn it over for you, and you can’t have nine penalties with your opponents getting just four. A lot of our penalties were what I call pre-snap penalties.”
But Ford said there were other problems for the Great Danes, as well.
“We’ve got to do a better job of playing pass defense. We were very shoddy there,” said Ford, whose Danes allowed well over 300 yards passing to a rookie QB.
Ford also wasn’t happy with his rushing game, as Omar Osbourne ran for only 74 yards and didn’t get much help from the rest of the backs in the Great Danes’ stable. UAlbany’s rushing game has been its strength for the last decade.
“If you rush the ball for 300 yards, you win every ball game. If you throw the ball for 300 yards, you win maybe half of your games, at least on this level,” said Ford.
On a positive note, junior quarterback Will Fiacchi completed 27 of 45 passes for a Division I program-record 354 yards and a pair of scores, and Kevin Chillis caught nine passes and scored twice for the Great Danes.
Colgate, which lost to Air Force, 38-13, in its season opener last week, is led by quarterback Gavin McMcCarney, who ranked ninth nationally in total offense a year ago (314.8 yards per game) and was the fifth-place finisher in the Walter Payton Award voting as a junior. He completed 159 of 256 passes for 2,372 yards and 15 TD passes. He also ran for 23 touchdowns.
ISERNIA ERA BEGINS
First-year head coach Ralph Isernia makes his debut when Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute opens its season against the Norwich Cadets today at noon at East Campus Stadium.
Isernia was the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Ferrum for the last two seasons. He spent the previous six years as an assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and interim head coach at the University of Charleston.
Seven offensive starters and two on defense return for RPI, which is coming off a 5-4 campaign.
Senior Andrew Armato is the team’s top returning running back (315 yards, three TDs) and receiver (nine catches, 89 yards, one TD). Junior defensive back Nick Borkowski made four interceptions a year ago, while senior Ted Abriel is the leading returning tackler with 53 stops.