No. 25 UAlbany improves to 3-0 with 45-25 win over Holy Cross

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ALBANY, N.Y. – Led by Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks’ four rushing touchdowns and Neven Sussman’s two long touchdown passes to Zee Roberson, the No. 25 ranked University at Albany football team overcame Holy Cross 45-28 Saturday night at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium. The home-opening win in front of 8,040 fans lifted the Great Danes to 3-0 on the season, while the Crusaders fell to 1-2.

STAT LEADERS

  • Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks led the offense with four rushing touchdowns, tying the program’s Division I record. He carried the ball 28 times, totaling 183 yards. Ibitokun-Hanks has rushed for over 100 yards in each game this season, accruing 465 yards and eight touchdowns in just three contests.
  • Quarterback Neven Sussman completed 8-of-12 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Roberson totaled five receptions for 142 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Defensively, UAlbany forced four turnovers – three fumbles and an interception.
  • Abner Logan led the team with 13 tackles (four solo), including a sack and a fumble recovery. Michael Nicastro added 11 tackles (three solo) with a forced fumble.
  • Brian Dolce finished with a career-high eight tackles with a sack and a fumble recovery.

SCORING PLAYS

  • Holy Cross struck first, scoring on Peter Pujals’ nine-yard pass to Jordan Montgomery with 1:47 remaining in the first quarter.
  • However, UAlbany answered with 31 straight points, starting with Ibitokun-Hanks’ 40-yard touchdown scamper with 14:21 remaining in the second quarter.
  • In the Danes’ next drive, Sussman hit Roberson with a 41-yard touchdown pass, giving UAlbany a 14-7 advantage after Ethan Stark’s point-after.
  • On Jon Martin’s 55-yard punt, Eli Mencer ripped the ball away from Darrius Lucy on the return at the Holy Cross 24 yard line. The turnover turned into a score for UAlbany, as Ibitokun-Hanks punched his way across the goal line on a four-yard run with 4:58 left in the half.
  • After the defense made a stop, Sussman connected with Roberson again with a 49-yard touchdown pass, making the score 28-7 at halftime.
  • Stark knocked his first career field goal though the uprights with 11:48 on the clock in the third with a 42-yard kick.
  • Holy Cross got back on the board, scoring back-to-back touchdowns, cutting the margin to 10, 31-21.
  • Pujals his Jake Wieczorek with an 18-yard pass with 6:50 remaining in the third and Richie DeNicola with a three-yard pass with 13:33 left in the game.
  • Ibitokun-Hanks scored his third touchdown of the clash on an explosive seven-yard run at the 9:19 mark.
  • Holy Cross made it 38-28 on Lucas Nikolaisen’s five-yard touchdown rush with 5:48 left.
  • But, Ibitokun-Hanks put the game away for UAlbany with his record-tying 13-yard end zone dash with 4:14 to go.

SATURDAY’S WIN…

– Improved UAlbany’s record to 3-0 overall.
– Improved UAlbany’s series record to 2-1 against Holy Cross.
– Improved UAlbany’s all-time varsity record to 269-183.
– Improved Coach Gattuso’s career record to 110-45.
– Improved Coach Gattuso’s record at UAlbany to 13-13.

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