ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The University at Albany football team put the rest of the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) on notice Saturday afternoon, taking down the sixteenth-ranked Villanova Wildcats at home, 31-10, on Hometown Heroes Day. The defense had a game to remember – forcing four turnovers and seven total sacks throughout the day. The offense capitalized on the defense’s monster game, scoring 21 points on drives following a turnover.
Key Stat Lines

Head Coach Greg Gattuso: “It was great seeing number seven [Poffenbarger] running around making plays, I’ll tell you that… I thought he had a really good game. He made a massive throw on our second touchdown drive, running to his left which is a very high difficulty… It was a good first half, the second half I feel that we just took over. They [Villanova] are a good football team… It was really nice to see our kids play that well in all three phases. It was a great win.”
How it Happened:

  • Villanova struck first on the opening drive of the afternoon. The Wildcats drove 43 yards on 11 plays but were held up by the UAlbany defense. Matthew Mercurio hit a 44-yard field goal to end it, making it 3-0.
  • The Great Danes responded on their first offensive possession by marching 45 yards on 10 plays to set up a 42-yard field goal for John Opalko, making it 3-3.
  • The UAlbany defense forced a turnover on Villanova’s second offensive strike. The Wildcats’ Ayo-Durojaiye attempted to hurdle Larry Walker Jr., who forced the ball loose right into the hands of Dylan Kelly at the UAlbany 49-yard line.
  • The Great Danes would ride that momentum to the end zone, making it 10-3. The short drive was capped by Reese Poffenbarger finding Julian Hocks for his second TD of the season, a 12-yard pass to the top-near side corner of the end zone.
  • Villanova tied the game with 11:08 remaining in the first half. Connor Watkins found an open Jaylan Sanchez in the end zone for 17 yards and the score.
  • The Great Danes shot up to a 17-10 lead right before the end of the first half thanks to a 19-yard completion to rookie running back Griffin Woodell, who ran it into the end zone after catching the ball on an out route. The TD was his fourth of the season.
  • Anton Juncaj, who had a sack earlier in the game, collected his ninth of the season late in the third quarter – knocking the ball free, with AJ Simon recovering the fumble at the UAlbany 48-yard line.
  • UAlbany pushed it to a two-score game with 12:50 remaining in the game after Woodell got his second TD of the game, this time on the ground, rushing the ball to the right for a three-yard score, 24-10.
  • The UAlbany defense forced its third turnover of the day on Villanova’s next possession. Elijah Hills delivered a big hit on Villanova’s Connor Watkins, with Jahlil Johnson recovering the ball for the Great Danes at midfield.
  • UAlbany capitalized once again, marching 49 yards on just five plays to make it 31-10. Poffenbarger rolled out to his right, finding MarQeese Dietz in the end zone for the final score of the game.
  • The defense capped a dominant day with one more turnover, this time an interception from Aamir Hall in the UAlbany end zone – stalling a potential Villanova scoring drive.

Next: The Great Danes hit the road once again for a CAA matchup at Towson next Saturday.