UNH, Weather Overpower UAlbany, 24-10

by Ryan McCarthy, BBM Staff Writer

If the weather wasn’t one thing that the UAlbany Great Danes had to be cautious of on Saturday afternoon. It was also the pass rush of New Hampshire’s defense and the running of Carlos Washington.

The Wildcats defense sacked Great Danes QB Jeff Undercuffler seven times, three by DL Quinlen Dean, and Washington rushed for 142 yards and a touchdown as New Hampshire defeated UAlbany 24-10 in front of 5,571 at Wildcat Stadium in Durham, NH.

UAlbany (2-8 overall, 0-7 CAA) opened up scoring with K Ethan Stark kicking a 49-yard field goal at the 9:39 mark of the first quarter. UNH (4-6 overall, 3-4 CAA) responded on their second drive of the game with a one-yard touchdown scamper by QB Trevor Knight to put the Wildcats up 7-3. Neither team could gain any traction throughout the remainder of the first half as both defenses were dialed in. This included six consecutive three-and-outs between both teams as well as a peculiar call to end the first quarter. UAlbany head coach Greg Gattuso elected to punt on third down to force UNH to play deep in its own end. UNH ended the first half with a 27-yard field goal from K Jason Hughes as the Wildcats went into the locker room with a 10-3 lead.

The offensive output wouldn’t get any better for UAlbany as their struggles to move the ball continued with three-and-outs on their first three drives of the quarter. Their drives were interrupted by sacks from Dean and fellow DL Robb Schumacher. The Wildcats would go up by two scores with Carlos Washington’s 93-yard touchdown run at the 3:11 mark. The Great Danes were finally able to gain some offensive momentum at the end of the third quarter which resulted in a 28-yard touchdown pass from Undercuffler to RB Karl Mofor to get within seven. The dagger would come midway through the final quarter when S Evan Horn read the screen and intercepted Undercuffler’s pass in the end zone to put the Wildcats up 24-10.

What were the takeaways from this game?

Takeaway #1: Nature remains undefeated. A strong cold front swept through the Northeast on Friday night, resulting in strong winds on Saturday afternoon. Why was this important? Because both teams were forced to ground their passing games in favor of the run. Knight had a rough day, passing for only 70 yards on 8-of-18 passing. That wasn’t too much of a concern for UNH as the Wildcats racked up 234 net rushing yards. His counterpart, Undercuffler, had a good game with 167 yards on 15-of-34 passing with a touchdown and an interception.

Takeaway #2: Inconsistency on offense continues to haunt the Great Danes. It’s been well documented that the UAlbany offense has had its inconsistencies this season. This game was no exception. The Great Danes were held to 180 net yards on offense, including 13 net yards rushing. Last week, the play on the line was exceptional. This week, it was anything but, allowing seven sacks on Undercuffler for a loss of 64 yards. They’ll have to be at their very best next week against another strong defense in Stony Brook.

Takeaway #3: Undercuffler’s growing pains should not be surprising. Throughout the course of the season, UAlbany head coach Greg Gattuso hasn’t been afraid to put his younger players in the lineup to see what they can do. His trend continues with allowing starts in consecutive games to Undercuffler.  He’ll have one more game to make Gattuso believe that he can win the starting job for 2019, but he’ll have to be more effective to do so.

Next Game: vs. Stony Brook, 11/17.

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