UAlbany Picked to Win 2004 NEC Football Title
After winning a share of its second consecutive Northeast Conference football championship, UAlbany is the preseason choice to capture this year's NEC title, as announced on Wednesday, Aug. 18.
– After winning a share of its second consecutive Northeast Conference football championship, the University at Albany is the preseason choice to capture this year’s NEC title, in voting by the conference’s head coaches.
The Great Danes, who went 7-4 overall and tied for first in the league standings with Monmouth, are ranked No. 7 in both The Sports Network and Football Gazette I-AA preseason polls. UAlbany opens its schedule on Thursday, Sept. 2 at Hofstra. Kickoff is 7:00 p.m. ET. The contest will be televised on Fox Sports New York.
"I am pleasantly surprised," commented Albany coach Bob Ford, who has 201 career victories at the collegiate level. "I believe the voting is based on our defensive returnees, and a great defense will win a championship. We still have plenty of work to do with questions to be answered at quarterback, running back, part of the offensive line, and the kicking game."
Three UAlbany players were named to the Preseason All-Northeast Conference Team. Senior left tackle Geir Gudmundsen, at 6-foot-6 and 315-pounds, has made 33 consecutive starts on Albany’s offensive line. A two-time All-NEC first-team selection, Gudmundsen was named to three postseason Division I-AA All-America teams in 2003.
Brandon Shaw, a 6-foot, 295-pound center, anchored an offensive line that established the NEC and school single-season rushing record with 3,215 yards last year. Shaw, who has twice been chosen to the postseason all-conference team, helped the Great Danes rank fourth nationally in rushing at 292.3 yards per game.
Sophomore cornerback Ryan Chrobak made 47 tackles, including 35 unassisted hits, in his first season as a starter. He added eight pass break-ups and one interception for a defensive unit that was among the top 10 nationally in rushing yards allowed and total defense. The Great Danes also ranked 11th in scoring defense with a 16.8 average.
Northeast Conference 2004 Preseason Football Poll
1. Albany (5), T2. Stony Brook (2), T2. Monmouth (1), 4. Robert Morris, 5. Central Connecticut State, 6. Wagner, 7. Sacred Heart, 8. St. Francis, Pa.
( ) – first-place votes