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Dane Pound

UALBANY UPSETS 11TH-RANKED DELAWARE, 17-10, BEFORE

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UALBANY UPSETS 11TH-RANKED DELAWARE, 17-10, BEFORE CAPACITY CROWD OF 22,016

 

Newark, Del. - Sophomore quarterback Daniel Bocanegra threw one touchdown pass and ran for another as UAlbany upset nationally-ranked Delaware, 17-10, on Saturday, Sept. 16 before an overflow crowd at Delaware Stadium.

The Great Danes, who split their opening two games against Lehigh and Fordham, beat a top-25 team at the Division I-AA level for just the second time in eight tries. The Blue Hens, who won the 2003 national championship, were ranked No. 11 by The Sports Network and College Sporting News.

"That was a great win against a quality program in their house," said UAlbany coach Bob Ford, whose team was going up against a program that has captured six national titles. "I am sure that score will shock the football world tomorrow. We controlled the ball on the ground and played solid defense. We put some pretty good heat on (Joe) Flacco by moving our defensive fronts."

UAlbany (2-1) had to hang on at the end when Delaware (1-1) drove all the way from their 30-yard line in the last two minutes to the Great Danes' 19. But cornerback Rashad Barksdale picked off Joe Flacco's pass, intended for Mark Duncan, at the goal line with 29.1 seconds remaining to seal the outcome.

The Blue Hens, who trailed by 14 points at the intermission, got back into the contest with a 17-play, 87-yard drive in the third quarter. All-America running back Omar Cuff, who rushed for 90 yards and caught six passes for 77 more, completed the scoring march with a 1-yard dive over the middle. Flacco, a Pittsburgh transfer, connected on five passes. He finished 18-of-35 through the air for 177 yards.

UAlbany's defense was up to the task in the fourth quarter. Ryan Chrobak broke up a third-down pass to end one possession. Colin Disch, who had 15 tackles, including 10 solo, pressured Flacco to throw the ball in another third-down situation with nearly four minutes left.

"This wipes out that sour taste from last week, because only this football team expected to win," offered Disch, who recorded double-digit tackles for the 20th time in his career. "The fact we were able to blitz off the corners and keep their offensive line off balance was a key. We all said that this would be a big win, but words can't describe that right now."

UAlbany stunned a capacity crowd of 22,016, the 14th consecutive sellout, by scoring on its second possession. Following a short punt, the Great Danes opened up the playbook with flea-flicker touchdown pass. Bocanegra took a pitch from flanker Mike Wall and fired a 38-yard strike down the middle of the field to Josh Furnas.

"I am so happy for (Josh) Furnas," said Bocanegra who completed 11-of-16 attempts for 121 yards. "We ran the flea-flicker against Hofstra last year and he dropped the ball. That was an important play because it took something out of the crowd."

After Barksdale misplayed a punt inside his 10-yard line, Delaware got on the board. Zach Hobby booted a 19-yard field goal with 1:17 left in the first quarter. However, UAlbany put together two nine-play drives in the second stanza in building a 17-3 halftime lead.

Bocanegra capped a 54-yard march by diving over the top for his first career touchdown. Freshman tailback Colin Simmons keyed the sequence, including a 23-yard scamper around right end to the Blue Hens' 2. Jason Fralicker finished off the second drive with a 20-yard field goal. Marcus Allen darted 29 yards to the Delaware 14 to help set up that three-pointer.

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