Villanova head coach Mark Ferrante…
On the game: It was a typical CAA hard-fought battle. Both teams were playing fast and physical. If you look at how the game kind of went, they definitely kept their offense on the field, so it was hard for our offense to get into any type of rhythm. Each possession counted. It was like a heavyweight fight. People were slugging it out. At the end in overtime they got the last punch in and we couldn’t punch it in on a short yardage situation to keep the game going.
On the back-and-forth drives by both teams: When you look at the drive chart, we opened it up and took the ball down the field and fumbled at their 15 after taking almost five minutes off the clock. Then they took their drive 18 plays and ended the quarter, and they got a field goal on the first play of the second quarter. So both teams only had the one possession. Then we both went three-and-out and punt back-to-back to each other. Then they drove down the field to our 12 and fumbled, and we drove down the field to their 11 and fumbled, and that ended the half at 3-0. So it was really where every possession counted because the possessions were few and far between. Then the second half started out the same way. They started out and punted; we started out and gave it back to them on a punt. They started and turned it over to us on downs; we had to punt it back to them. They drove the field in nine plays and missed a field goal. We drove the field in nine plays and kicked a field goal to tie it up, and now we’re in the fourth quarter. They went 15 plays and chewed up eight minutes of clock and scored their touchdown, and we went 15 plays with only 2:16 on the clock and took it into overtime.
On losing the fumble on the last play of the game: Even if we handed that ball off I don’t think we would have gotten the yardage gain, so to give Albany credit they needed to stop us on less than a yard. We went for it to try to keep the game going and win the game on less than a yard. They made the play and we didn’t.
On the smoke delay at the start of the game: Obviously you’re in the locker room and you come out and hopefully take the field with some emotion. So you’re ready to go and then you had a delay, but that’s both teams. It’s not like we were waiting and they weren’t. That’s a little bit of a distraction, but it was a great environment in their stadium and that’s something they have their team come running out through. How often is there zero wind in upstate New York? That smoke probably would have been cleared out a lot quicker on some other days but the flag was just laying flat. There was no wind at all. Like I said, I don’t think that had any effect. We took the opening kickoff, we started on our own 20 with the touchback and then got down to the 15-yard line before they did a great job stripping Ryan Bell and forcing the fumble. We moved the ball on the opening drive in nine plays and took it right down, so I don’t think [the delay] was a distraction.
Albany head coach Greg Gattuso…
On his team: Very resilient. We thought we had opportunities to get up, and you’ve got to credit Villanova because they just kept hanging around. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot in the red zone a little bit. It was tight, but for them to drive down at the end and score after three 15-yard penalties, for our kids to hang on there and beat a good football team in overtime said a lot about their resiliency and toughness. I was very proud of them. We didn’t fold and we just kept playing. It was a great win for us. Villanova’s a great program and were just glad to get that win.
On beating a top-10 opponent for the first time: People talk about signature wins but I don’t really subscribe to it very much. We beat some good people over the last few years. We beat Buffalo last year in the opener and were able to beat New Hampshire at New Hampshire. We play good teams week in and week out. Our conference is just a hell of a fight every week. [The win] is nice for us, the fans love it, but for the football program the first thing we talked about after the game is we knew Elon had upset Richmond and we know how big that football game is going to be. So we don’t really celebrate it too much. We just try to look forward to the next week and keep some momentum.
On having possession of the ball for 38 minutes: I thought it was really important with the type of offense [Villanova] runs to keep them off the field. I thought it was really important for our kids to get a lead in the game. We got the early lead and we just kept them off the field a lot. They’re very good on offense. The quarterback does a good job, and limiting their opportunity was a big part of it. We did it without running the ball, and the fact that we normally do was a good sign. We believe in time of possession, turnovers and big plays. We were able to win all three of those in this game.