UAlbany Bit by Spiders in Remaining Seconds, 27-24

By Ryan McCarthy, BBM Staff Writer

Richmond QB Joe Mancuso heads for the end zone for a touchdown (photo credit: Mike Pelletier) 
For the fourth season in a row, the annual game between UAlbany and Richmond would be settled by less than a touchdown. Once again, the Great Danes would fall to the Spiders.

Griffin Trau kicked a 25-yard field goal with six seconds left as the Spiders edged out the Great Danes, 27-24 in front of 4,059 at Bob Ford Field on Saturday night. The Spiders maintain an undefeated record against the Great Danes since UAlbany joined the CAA in 2012.

Spiders QB Joe Mancuso significantly cooled off from last week’s 570 total yard performance, but was still very effective as he passed for 286 yards and ran for 56 yards with a touchdown. For UAlbany, RB Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks ran for 78 yards and a touchdown while WR Juwan Green lead all receivers with seven receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown.

Richmond RB Gordon Collins opened the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run. UAlbany used some trickery to open their account: WR Dev Holmes received a backwards pass from QB Vincent Testaverde and threw to a wide-open Green down the sideline for a 54-yard touchdown. Trau missed a 36-yard field goal on Richmond’s next possession, which the Great Danes took advantage of. Testaverde led a 10 play, 80-yard drive and cashed in with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Holmes to take the lead. Richmond responded with a touchdown drive of their own as Mancuso scampered 28 yards for a touchdown to tie the score. The two sides traded turnovers before Trau kicked a 32-yard field goal to put the Spiders up before the half.

Midway through the third quarter, the Great Danes caught a break on defense: CB Kareem Brown’s forced fumble was picked up by fellow CB Dante Mount. This led to Ibitokun-Hanks breaking two tackles to score from 13 yards out, giving the Great Danes a 21-17 lead. Richmond responded to take back the lead with a long scoring drive, going 11 plays for 54 yards capped by a fumble recovery in the end zone by TE Stephon Jacob. Neither team could score again until UAlbany’s last scoring drive; two big pass plays brought the Great Danes inside the Richmond 20-yard line, but the Great Danes were forced to settle for a 29-yard field goal by K Ethan Stark with 4:04 remaining. This left Richmond with plenty of time to drive down the field for Trau’s game-winning kick.

What are three takeaways from this game?

Takeaway #1: Richmond was effective in limiting UAlbany’s running game. Following last week’s gargantuan rushing effort, the Great Danes’ running game was stifled by Richmond’s front seven. Ibitokun-Hanks was limited to only 77 yards on 15 carries. Spiders DL Andrew Clyde had a huge game with 2.5 sacks and four total tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss. LB Justin Rubin had nine total tackles and lead all defensive participants with three tackles for loss.

Takeaway #2: UAlbany’s defense were no slouches, either. The Great Danes made sure that Joe Mancuso didn’t have a similar game like he did against Delaware last week. UAlbany’s defense hurried Mancuso four times with DL Anthony Lang leading the Great Danes with two. LB Eli Mencer’s hurry in the second quarter would cause an interception by CB Dante Mount to snap a potential scoring drive for Richmond. Mount had a great day in the secondary, totaling 13 tackles to go with his interception and fumble recovery. Although they were able to hurry Mancuso, the Great Danes’ defense could not register a sack for the first time since week one at Pitt.

Takeaway #3: The Great Danes were unable to find a consistent balance on offense. Last week, UAlbany was forced to rely solely on the running game as Ibitokun-Hanks had over 200 yards rushing while the passing game was rendered ineffective. They had hoped to regain that balance this week but unfortunately, they were unable to do so. For the second consecutive week, Testaverde was held to under 200 yards passing and the running game was held to 63 net yards. The Spiders’ front seven harassed Testaverde all game long, hurrying and sacking the senior QB five times.

Next Game: 10/20 vs. Towson, 3:30pm.

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