UAlbany football benefits from blowout loss at Baylor

University at Albany sophomore quarterback Reese Poffenbarger said he was ready to play Saturday in the opener at No. 10 Baylor in his first game in more than a year.

He didn’t have much choice, especially given the level of competition.

“I was forced to do it,” Poffenbarger said. “If I went out and looked like a deer in the headlights, it would have been quite (expletive). But I definitely got out there and got into the game pretty quickly. It took about two trips, but other than that, we were throwing them. If you watched the game, You saw that we were shooting at them.”

Though the Great Danes lost 69-10, the largest loss in program history, Poffenbarger showed signs in his first career start that he might be the man to lead the offense the rest of the season. Playing into the early fourth quarter, he completed 13 of 26 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown (17 yards to Julian Hicks to end the first quarter) with no interceptions and rushing for 45 more.

He hadn’t played since his days as an all-state quarterback in Middletown, Maryland. Last year he redshirted as a freshman at Old Dominion, then transferred to UAlbany.

He also drove UAlbany 67 yards in 11 plays to a 25-yard field goal by John Opalko in the third quarter.

“We only went three and out with our real (starting) group twice and I was telling guys, Baylor does this to teams in the Big 12,” Poffenbarger said. “So I’m not really worried about that. Like coach (Greg) Gattuso said, our depth is what’s missing. That’s the only difference between his level of football and our level of football. That’s the only reason why the marker was what it was”. .”

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UAlbany opens at home against New Hampshire in the Colonial Athletic Association game at 7 pm on Saturday. Although buoyed by Poffenbarger’s play, Gattuso was not yet ready to name him the winner of the quarterback competition. Joey Carino and Tyler Szalkowski also played in the fourth quarter.

“I need to go see the movie,” Gattuso said. “I’m really pleased with Reese. I thought he played hard and competed. I thought the whole offense had energy at times. We had a couple of good drives.”

Gattuso was not pleased that the Great Danes allowed four touchdowns of 38 yards or more on two passes, a punt return and a run. They also had a first-quarter fumble on a fumble by wide receiver Jackson Parker that led to a touchdown.

“The big plays were stoppable,” Gattuso said. “We were right there. The first long touchdown, (cornerback) Christian Lewis is right there. We just can’t get the ball out. Those things happen. There were too many of them.”

He also talked to his coaches about the Great Danes committing 10 penalties for 72 yards.

“I think a couple of them made me shake my head, some of the mistakes,” Gattuso said. “They’re on us (coaches). We have to be sharper than that, better than that, but we will be.”

He was pleased with other developments, such as Hoffenbarger’s play, the offensive line’s competitiveness against a top-tier Baylor defensive line, and UAlbany’s pair of sacks (both by AJ Simon) against a Baylor offense that allowed just 18 in 14 games. last season.

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“We’re going to build on the good stuff,” he said. “I like this team. I still like them. I’m proud of them.”

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