Delaware Deals UAlbany a Heartbreaking Defeat, 21-16

by Ryan McCarthy, BBM Staff Writer

UAlbany was under a minute away from their biggest win of the season. But in a matter of seconds, Delaware dashed those hopes away.

Kani Kane heads into the end zone for a Blue Hens touchdown on Saturday (photo credit: Jon Monaghan)
RB Kani Kane’s 14-yard touchdown run with less than a minute left in the game spoiled the Great Danes’ comeback attempt as the Blue Hens defeated UAlbany, 21-16, in front of 3,182 at Bob Ford Field on Saturday afternoon. The Great Danes dropped to 2-7 overall and 0-6 CAA while the Blue Hens improved to 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the CAA, remaining tied for first with Maine in the conference.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Blue Hens got on the board first. With the Great Danes pinned inside their own end, LB Ray Jones tackled UAlbany RB Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks in the end zone to put the Blue Hens up 2-0. They would maintain great field position following the safety and thanks to a long pass from QB Pat Kehoe to WR Joe Walker, Delaware would get inside of UAlbany’s one-yard line. The Blue Hens were able to finish their drive as Kane scored on fourth-and-one and they would take a 9-0 lead. They would add to that lead after a 50-yard field goal K Frank Raggo. UAlbany would end the half with three points thanks to a long drive in a short amount of time lead by QB Jeff Undercuffler. K Ethan Stark’s 21-yard field goal shortened Delaware’s lead to 12-3 to end the half.

UAlbany’s first drive of the second half resulted in a touchdown as Ibitokun-Hanks bounced a run to the outside and dove to complete a seven-yard touchdown run to bring the Great Danes to 12-10. Delaware would go up by five after a 33-yard field goal by Raggo. The Great Danes responded with a touchdown drive that took seven minutes off of the clock to give UAlbany their first lead of the game with RB Karl Mofor’s four-yard touchdown run. That lead would hold until Delaware’s last touchdown drive which took 2:35 as the Blue Hens ate up yardage to get to the Great Danes’ 14-yard line that lead to Kane’s game-winning touchdown run. The Great Danes had one more drive, but Undercuffler’s pass was intercepted by Delaware LB Troy Reeder with 8 seconds remaining.

Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks dives into the end zone for a Great Danes touchdown (photo credit: Ryan McCarthy)
Kehoe went 16-for-35 for 174 yards and TE Charles Scarff had five receptions for 88 yards. Ibitokun-Hanks lead all running backs with 78 yards and a touchdown. UAlbany LB Danny Damico lead all starters with 10 total tackles while Reeder had 8 tackles to go with his game-clinching interception.

What are three takeaways from this game?

Takeaway #1: Both defenses were effective. The Great Danes’ defense has had its share of ups and downs throughout the course of the 2018 season, but playing a Top 25 opponent brought out the best in them this week. While they didn’t force any turnovers, they did hurry Kehoe five times and even managed a sack as DL Nick Dillon and LB Eli Mencer shared a sack on Kehoe in the third quarter. For the Blue Hens, both Reeder and Jones lived up to their all-CAA credentials.

Takeaway #2: Penalties did in the Great Danes again. It was a penalty filled game as both sides combined for 19 total penalties. UAlbany had 11 penalties with five penalties on offense and four false start penalties. Lack of discipline has been another issue for UAlbany throughout the season and with hope, they can be more disciplined for the next two games.

Takeaway #3: The future looks bright at quarterback. Injuries to both starter Vincent Testaverde and Wil Brunson forced head coach Greg Gattuso to start Undercuffler, a true freshman. The Great Danes dialed up the running game and unlike the previous week’s struggles, they gained 128 net yards rushing. This, along with better pass protection, allowed Undercuffler to be a little more comfortable in the pocket and it allowed him to make some big throws that helped put the Great Danes on the board at the end of the first half. Though his numbers were unimpressive, his poise in the pocket and decision making helped keep the Great Danes in the game offensively.

Next Game: at New Hampshire 11/10.

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