Through games of 10/18/08
NEC Overall Streak 1. Albany 3-0 1.000 4-3 .571 W3 Monmouth 3-0 1.000 4-3 .571 W4 3. Sacred Heart 2-1 .667 6-1 .857 L1 Central Conn. St. 2-1 .667 5-2 .714 W1 5. Wagner 1-2 .333 3-4 .429 W1 Robert Morris 1-2 .333 2-5 .286 L1 7. Duquesne 1-3 .250 2-4 .333 L3 8. St. Francis (PA) 0-4 .000 0-7 .000 L7
Albany 26, Sacred Heart 21
Albany maintained it's share of first place in the Northeast Conference with a 26-21 win over previously undefeated Sacred Heart at the Pioneers' Campus Field in Fairfield, Conn. The Great Danes remain tied with idle Monmouth, each with 3-0 league records.
Albany had emerged from non-conference play against four CAA teams on the road with a 1-3 record, beating Hofstra (3-3) while losing to No. 7 Massachusetts (4-2), New Hampshire (5-1) and No. 28 Delaware (2-5). The Great Danes won both of their previous NEC contests, vs. Central Connecticut State and Duquesne.
Sacred Heart built its 6-0 record with three pairs: two wins over Division II teams Assumption (1-6) and Bentley (3-5); two victories against former MAAC programs Iona (3-3) and Marist (2-5); and a couple NEC wins over Robert Morris (2-5) and Saint Francis (PA) (0-7).
The Pioneers' 14-10 halftime lead was erased by 16-straight Albany points behind David McCarty's 207 rushing yards and one touchdown. Dale Fink hit Steve Tedesco on a 19-yard touchdown play that reduced the deficit to 26-21 with 4:40 left to go. Albany, aided by a 36-yard run by McCarty that put the ball on SHU's 38, was able to grind out the clock.
The Great Danes held Sacred Heart to 51 yards rushing. Fink was 25-of-34 for 247 yards and two scores. Tedesco caught eight for 101 yards. Albany now has a seven-game winning streak against SHU and leads the series, 9-2.
Bryant 20, Robert Morris 7
Bryant University, a future NEC member, held Robert Morris to minus-20 yards rushing on the way to a 20-7 win over the Colonials in Rhode Island. RMU, which had gained 275 on the ground last week against the Dukes, didn't get on the scoreboard until 3:38 remained in the game on quarterback Erik Cwalinski's 11-yard rushing touchdown.
Bryant set the tone for the afternoon as Jay Graber hit Anthony DiNaso for a 13-yard touchdown with less than three minutes gone off the clock. The Bulldogs made it 14-0 via Jerell Smith's 37-yard run midway through the second quarter. Graber and DiNaso teamed up again in the fourth period. Brian Donelly's missed extra point kick kept the score at 20-0.
Myles Russ carried the ball 16 times for a net of 37 yards - he had gained 246 yards last week against the Dukes. Smith gained 110 yards, also on 16 attempts, for BU. RMU's Alex DiMichele had a game-high 13 tackles.
Wagner 17, Saint Francis 13
Saint Francis looked like it would finally step away from the winless ranks as the host Red Flash led Wagner 7-0 at the half, and 13-7 after three quarters.
Eric Ortiz's 38-yard field goal cut the deficit to 13-10 with 12:06 left to play. Saint Francis's punt from their own end zone was returned by Kyle Trueblood to the Red Flash's 33 with 7:14 remaining. Matt Abbey hit Tyrone Collins on the first play from scrimmage for a 33-yard score.
The Red Flash were unable to convert a fourth down play from their own 24 returning the ball to the Seahawks with 0:55 on the clock.
Wagner's Shane Smith netted 60 yards on 25 carries while Calvin Williams gained 43 yards on 12 attempts for SFU. Abbey was 15-of-35 for 229 yards and Collins caught six for 112 yards.
Next Saturday, October 28, 2008, it will be all in-conference matchups. Duquesne hosts Sacred Heart on homecoming weekend, Monmouth welcomes Central Conn. St., and Robert Morris takes on Wagner in Staten Island, New York -- all games staring at 1:00 p.m. EDT.
At 4:00 p.m., the Red Flash will face Albany in the Great Danes' second home game of the year.