UAlbany Football Faces Stony Brook in NCAA Tournament
Dan Di Lella found an anonymous note in his locker, a few weeks ago.
"If you live in the past, you'll die in the future -- focus on the now."
Di Lella has kept moving forward this season and the University at Albany football team has followed their senior quarterback's lead, advancing further than any team in school history.
On Sunday, the Great Danes found out who their opponent would be in the 20-team Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
UAlbany (8-3) will take on Stony Brook (8-3), on Saturday, Nov. 26. The time of the game has not been released, but it will be broadcast by ESPN3.
“These were the guys we wanted and I'm excited that we got them,” Di Lella said.
The Great Danes won the Northeast Conference title, with a 31-21 victory over Sacred Heart, on Saturday. Di Lella set a new program record with 24 passing touchdowns, four of which came in the victory over the Pioneers.
"He really has matured, both as a quarterback and with his leadership," said UAlbany coach Bob Ford.
Di Lella remembers when Stony Brook was a member of the Northeast Conference and was the Great Danes' biggest rival. In fact, Di Lella was a red-shirt freshman the last time these two programs met, in 2007.
“I remember that whole week (leading up to the game),” he said.
UAlbany is happy with their placement in the bracket and the Great Danes think they have a great shot to come out on top.
“You couldn't ask for a better matchup,” said junior running back Drew Smith, a Guilderland High grad.
There will be plenty of time to think about the accomplishments of this season, but Di Lella is just keeping his eyes on the prize and remembering the good advice of the note, focus on the now.
“All that matters is what's next and we have to focus on what's coming up,” he said.