ALBANY, NY – The Albany Great Danes, behind a tremendous performance by QB Jeff Undercuffler and defeated the Central Connecticut Blue Devils 42-14 on Saturday in the first round of the FCS Playoffs.
For about one and a half quarters of football, Central Connecticut State QB Aaron Winchester looked every bit a senior leaderm while Undercuffler looked like a freshman making his playoff debut. Up 7-0, Winchester had a 31 yard touchdown pass thrown across his body to TE Theo Zidor, and the Blue Devil defense had stifled Undercuffler and the Albany offense, forcing an interception.
“You have to credit Central Connecticut State,” Albany head coach Greg Gattuso said afterwards. “They were very prepared and were ready for a lot of what we were doing in the first half. I think the turning point for us was forcing the three and out in the second that set up the punt where WR Tyler Oedekoven got us into great field position with a long return.”
With 17 seconds left in the half, Undercuffler got into a rhythm and found WR Juwan Green for his first of two touchdown strikes to have Albany head into the locker room tied at 7 at halftime.
“I truly believe that scoring that touchdown right before halftime broke the ice for us,” Gattuso said. “We came out hot in the second half, it was total domination by our guys. Offensively and defensively we played all-around great football. I’m proud of our guys and this program.”
All of Undercuffler’s freshman jitters were gone, and he played like he did during the regular season, putting up 5 unanswered touchowns after the one at the end of the first half that tied the game. The Great Danes used a quick strike offense, scoring on their first three drives of the second half in 2, 3 and 4 plays, each ending in an Undercuffler touchdown pass to make it 28-7 before the 3rd quarter was over.
The Great Danes would tack on two more touchdown passes from Undercuffler, giving him six on the day. His six touchdown passes in a game were a school record.
Highlights | History for @UAlbanyFootball! The Great Danes explode for 35 second-half points to dominate CCSU, 42-14, and win the program’s first ever #FCSPlayoffs game. Redshirt freshman QB Jeff Undercuffler threw for all 6 TDs. On to Montana State! pic.twitter.com/zOI3lRFgJk
— UAlbany Sports (@UAlbanySports) November 30, 2019
Central Connecticut got a late touchdown to provide the final margin.
Albany will jump on a flight to Bozeman to take on fifth seeded Montana State in the second round.
Jamie is a proud 2002 graduate of James Madison University. He’s witnessed the growth of the program from no one in the stands in 1998, to the hiring of Mickey Matthews, to the 2004 National Championship, to the 2008 team, to the struggles in the early 2010s, and finally the rebuild under Mike Houston. He also allegedly really enjoys Washington, DC-based Stanley Cup winners.
Reach him at: