Football: Albany slips past Tribe on the road

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Courtesy Photo / Tribe Athletics

Saturday, Sept. 28, William and Mary (2-3, 0-1 CAA) opened Colonial Athletic Association play with a close loss against Albany (3-2, 1-0 CAA). Saturday’s game marked just the second time the two teams have ever played against one another. The Tribe hopped out to a quick lead but was ultimately shut down in the later stages of the game to fall to 2-3 on the season.

The College started off the scoring with a ten-play, 77-yard drive capped off by a nine-yard touchdown run from senior running back Albert Funderburke. Less than four minutes later, Albany answered with a field goal from kicker Dylan Burns. However, the Tribe quickly got those points back when they ran back the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. At the end of the first quarter, the Tribe led 14-3, and it looked as if the CAA season would kick off with a victory. However, the Great Danes continued to play like anything was possible in the rest of the game.

In the second quarter, Albany regained ground on the Tribe, outscoring the college 9-3 to cut the deficit to five points at the half. With less than a minute to go before the half, kicker Kris Hooper booted a 54-yard field goal straight through the uprights to take a 17-9 lead. The kick was good enough for a new school record. Albany would answer with a field goal of its own before the half.

After the brief pause in action, Albany restarted the game by hopping out to a quick score in the third quarter. After coming within two points of the College, freshman phenom quarterback Hollis Mathis swung the momentum back in the Tribe’s direction with a 56-yard touchdown run with 6:51 left in the third quarter.

Albany then scored 24 straight unanswered points finishing with a six-yard scamper from Karl Mofor with 1:44 left in the game. Mike London’s squad found themselves in a 15-point hole with not much time left for reconciliation. However, senior quarterback Kilton Anderson rekindled the flame of hope for the Tribe when he tossed an 83-yard touchdown pass to freshman receiver Kane Everson with 1:25 remaining. William and Mary kept up the hope when they recovered the ensuing onside kick just moments later. However, the Great Danes got the last laugh when safety Josh Wynn intercepted Anderson’s pass as time expired.

This year’s matchup marked the second straight year of close games between these two schools. Last season, the College defeated Albany 25-22 at Zable Stadium thanks to some late-game heroics. However, the Tribe came up short on Saturday evening, despite an impressive offensive performance. The Tribe posted 376 total yards, but ultimately turnovers cost the game for the College, coughing up the ball four total times.

The narrative for the Tribe continues to be the confusing quarterback situation. Anderson played in the fourth quarter after coming off the bench in relief of Mathis. The former CAA Rookie of the Week was briefly injured but has since returned to action. However, Mathis has been inconsistent this season due to his lack of experience at the college level. Meanwhile, juniors Ted Hefter and Shon Mitchell remain on the bench despite sharing the starting role last season for the Tribe.

Up next, the Tribe returns home to Zable Stadium on Saturday to face off against Villanova. Action kicks off at 3:30 p.m. The Tribe will then get a much-needed week off before challenging James Madison at home October 19th.