Saturday Will Be A ‘Test’ For UAlbany Great Danes’ Students
The UAlbany Great Danes roll into Saturday's CAA match up with Villanova at Tom & Casey Stadium with a 2-2 record. The only losses for head coach Greg Gattuso's squad are to FBS programs, Marshall and Hawaii. That's the good news.
The Danes will face a very tough Villanova squad that is coming off of an impressive stomping of #17 Rhode Island, 35-9, where the Wildcats potent offense pounded-out nearly 300 yards on the ground. Villanova's versatile Grad quarterback, Connor Watkins led the team in rushing and efficiently threw for 166 yards in the air. But facing Villanova may not be the Great Danes' biggest challenge on Saturday.
Off the field and in the stands will be a giant question. Will the UAlbany student body turn-out, the way that it did on opening night or even close? About 5000 students showed up on August 26th to cheer on UA as they took down Patriot League powerhouse, Fordham, 34-13. There is little doubt that the enormous student crowd pumped up Coach Gattuso's team.
Now, more than a month has gone by between that game and Saturday against Villanova. If UAlbany wants to be at the top of the CAA conference in football, then then students need to continue to show up and motivate their classmates in these tough games, like Saturday. The early forecasts are spectacular for the 3:30 pm kickoff of this year's 'Hometown Heroes' match-up. Getting students to go to games is a problem at universities across the country. However, the programs that get the students to the games, swear it helps them win.
Saturday will be the 10th consecutive season that the Great Danes have honored military members and recognized the family of Army Lt. Col. Todd J. Clark, a graduate of Christian Brothers Academy in Albany, who was killed in action in Afghanistan. Additionally, the program will show its appreciation for the Capital Region's police, firefighters, paramedics, and local health care workers. "We've had our Hometown Heroes game, tied in with Lt. Col. Todd J. Clark, for the past 10 years and it's been a very successful operation for us," said Head Coach Greg Gattuso. "I've had multiple people in my family on the back of our nameplates. My father-in-law, who was in the 82nd Airborne, my Uncle Bill, who fought in the Pacific during World War II, so we are really excited about getting those names on the back of our helmets to honor our Hometown Heroes this season." To purchase tickets go to ualbanysports.com/tickets. All UAlbany football and basketball games can be heard on 104.5 FM, with The Team's Rodger Wyland on play-by-play and Michael Johnson Jr. on color-commentary.