College Football: William and Mary Comes Back to Down UAlbany, 25-22

by Ryan McCarthy, BBM Staff Writer

The UAlbany helmet (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)
UAlbany traveled to Virginia to try to get their first conference win in 2018. William and Mary QB Shon Mitchell had other plans in mind.

Mitchell scored on a six-yard touchdown run with under a minute left in the game as the Tribe came back from 12 points down to shock UAlbany, 25-22. The loss snapped the Great Danes’ two-game winning streak (2-3 overall, 0-2 CAA).

Mitchell outdueled UAlbany QB Vincent Testaverde by throwing for 263 yards on 24-of-32 passing with two passing touchdowns to go with his rushing score. Tribe WR Devonte Dedmon lead all receivers with seven receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns. UAlbany RB Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks lead all running backs with 221 yards on 25 rushes, including a 36-yard touchdown in the loss.

The Tribe (2-3 overall, 1-1 CAA) scored on the game’s opening possession as Mitchell threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Dedmon. The Great Danes would get within four when K Ethan Stark made a 32-yard field goal early in the second quarter. Ibitokun-Hanks’ touchdown scamper would be followed by a second Stark field goal with 1:24 remaining in the half. The Tribe would convert on a Hooper field goal to cut the Great Danes’ lead to 13-10 going into the locker room.

There was no scoring in the third quarter as both teams failed to gain any momentum. UAlbany RB Karl Mofor would open the scoring in the fourth quarter with a one-yard touchdown run. Stark would tack on a 28-yard field goal to increase UAlbany’s lead to 12 with 7:03 remaining in the game. The Tribe’s comeback began when Mitchell found Dedmon on a 42-yard passing play and two plays later, Mitchell would find Dedmon again for a 17-yard touchdown to get cut down UAlbany’s lead to five. The Tribe defense forced a three-and-out and the offense drove 66 yards to take the lead for good on Mitchell’s run and two-point conversion. The Great Danes’ last gasp would be ended with 10 seconds left when Testaverde’s long pass down the field was intercepted by CB Corey Parker.

What can we take away from this game?

Takeaway #1: The passing game was unable to get going. Vincent Testaverde struggled, going 9-of-24 for 131 yards (111 by WR Jerah Reeves), no touchdowns, and two interceptions. Why couldn’t the pass game get going? The Tribe’s front seven, which frustrated the offensive line all game long and forced six penalties (three false starts, two holding, one clipping) from the Great Danes’ front five. Parker kept WR Dev Holmes, who has garnered conference Rookie of the Week honors three times this season, in check as Holmes was targeted once all game and had one rushing attempt for -1 yard. 

Takeaway #2: The defense couldn’t hold the lead. Unlike the past two games, the defense was unable to hold the lead late in the game. The Great Danes had four sacks and six tackles for loss and the linebacking corps had a big game once again as Levy Metheny contributing nine total tackles and claiming UAlbany’s second interception of the 2018 season. But the Great Danes’ Achilles’ heel on defense continues to be the secondary surrendering the long ball as they gave up two big passing plays that contributed to points for the opponent. 

Takeaway #3: Key penalties killed the Great Danes’s chances. The Great Danes were hit with nine penalties for 66 yards. Two of the game’s biggest penalties came in the fourth quarter: the first came on Ibitokun-Hanks’ 58-yard run when WR Donovan McDonald’s committed an illegal block toward the end of the run. This pushed the line of scrimmage from the Tribe’s six-yard line to the 16. Had there been no penalty, the Great Danes may not have had to settle for a field goal. The second came towards the end of the game: DL Anthony Lang was penalized for roughing the passer on the Tribe’s final drive. The penalty moved the Tribe inside the Great Danes’ ten-yard line and would lead to Mitchell’s game-winning touchdown.

Next Game: vs. Richmond (2-4 overall, 0-3 CAA), 10/13, 7pm.

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