The 2019 FCS Playoffs are here and we've got game-by-game wrap-ups.
Central Connecticut State 14
Next up: Albany (9-4) at No. 5 Montana State (9-3)
Time/Date: December 7, 3:00 p.m. EST | TV: ESPN3
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Jeff Undercuffler, QB, Albany — 19-for-30, 304 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT
THE TURNING POINT
Central Connecticut State completely dominated the first half of Saturday's playoff game, while Albany's freshman quarterback, Jeff Undercuffler, really struggled to effectively execute Albany's offense. Still, thanks to penalties and major special teams miscues, CCSU only led 7-0 in the waning moments of the second quarter. Then, with 17 seconds left, Undercuffler finally got the Great Danes on the board, throwing a 50/50 ball up to receiver Juwan Green in the corner of the end zone. Albany tied the game, picked up some much-needed momentum in the second half, then dominated the final 30 minutes of the game.
It was a tail of two halves for Albany, who score zero points in the first 29 minutes of the game and 42 points in the final 31. Central Connecticut's defense looked quite good in the first two quarters of the game, but part of that was a lack of creative playcalling and an inability to execute on offense for the Great Danes. Over time, though, Albany's offense finally got rolling against an overmatched NEC defense, and Undercuffler finally showed why he's a Jerry Rice Award Finalist this year. He got some help from his cast of playmakers, too — Tyler Oedekoven, for one, hauled in a 19-yard #SCTop10 catch to push the score to 35-7 and really put the stamp on Albany's first-ever playoff win.
PREVIEW OF NEXT WEEK
Racing past an NEC team in the first round in one thing. Now, Albany (9-4) must prepare for a date with the well-rested No. 5 overall seed in this season's playoffs, the Montana State Bobcats. Montana State's should produce a much stiffer challenge than Central Connecticut State did today; Albany will probably hope to score half what they did today and beat the Bobcats in a tough, low-scoring contest of wills. As for the offense, Montana State should offer fewer frills than the Blue Devils, which means Albany's front seven will need to play much stiffer than they did today. Central Connecticut State might have eventually let this one get away from them, but they still rang up 199 yards on the ground. Albany has some fundamentals to clean up on both sides of the ball if it wants to hang with one of the Big Sky's best teams.