By this point last season, Dan Di Lella had given way to red-shirt freshman Buddy Leathley as the University at Albany starting quarterback.

At the start of the 2011 season, it looked like Leathley would be the starter and Di Lella, the senior, would be riding out his final season on the pine.

Instead, Di Lella earned the starting job out of summer camp, as Leathley was slowed as he recovered from a hand injury.

Di Lella hasn't looked back and over the past three games, he's been simply magnificent.

The Neshanic Station, N.J., native has passed for 738 yards and 10 touchdowns, while completing 68.8 percent (53-77) of his passes, in three Northeast Conference victories.

Those are numbers that would make most pro quarterbacks blush.

In this past Saturday's 63-35 victory over Central Connecticut State, Di Lella set a school record with five passing touchdowns, became the first player in program FCS history to account for six total touchdowns and set a FCS single-game school record with 358 total yards from scrimmage. Di Lella also threw for a career-high 283 yards.

“It was a team effort,” he said, following the win. "Your teammates help you out and that means a lot to me.  I trust everyone to make a play."

Di Lella, who has been named Northeast Conference Offensive Player of the Week for two straight weeks, also ranks 21st nationally in total offense, at 258.6 yards per game.

As he goes, so has the UAlbany team. The Great Danes have won five straight games and are now receiving votes in both Division I FCS polls.

With a 4-0 league mark, UAlbany is the last remaining unbeaten team in the Northeast Conference.

The Great Danes are averaging an astounding 42.8 points per game over their past five games -- all victories.

UAlbany still has four league games remaining, including home games against Bryant (Nov. 5) and Sacred Heart (Nov. 19), but the Great Danes control their own destiny, as far as becoming the first team in program history to reach the FCS NCAA tournament.

Last season was the first time the Northeast Conference winner earned an automatic bid and the Great Danes hope they are the second team to earn that honor.

In this most recent bracket projection, UAlbany is part of the 20-team field, headed to take on No. 13 Towson.

Di Lella and the rest of the Great Danes travel to take on Wagner this Saturday, at 12 p.m.

Look for my stories in the Troy Record and follow me on twitter @AndrewSantillo.