ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The University at Albany football team elected to open their season with a major test, traveling to Waco, Texas, to square off with the reigning Big 12 conference champion Baylor Bears. While the Great Danes paid the price on the scoreboard, losing 69-10, the experience could just set the team up for success in week two.

The Danes open conference play Saturday night with a University of New Hampshire team they handed a 20-7 defeat last season – UAlbany’s only Colonial Athletic Association victory of 2021.

While the 59-point disparity against the Bears looks ugly in the loss column, Great Danes head coach Greg Gattuso believes the effort he saw from his players, and the takeaways from the matchup could translate to a “W” Saturday night.

“It was good for a lot of our kids,” said Gattuso. “Our kids…got a chance to play at a high level, and many, many of them performed very, very well. And I think that’s what you get confidence out of. And that’s the benefit of that game – trying to stay healthy, which we did…and tryna get good experience, which we did. And I think we got a chance to do a lot of growing from that game, and I think we will. And I think it will benefit us as we move forward.”

Saturday’s game will be a “blackout,” so fans are encouraged to don their black UAlbany gear. Kickoff against the Wildcats is set for 7:00 p.m.