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2015 MAC football non-conference previews: Albany Great Danes

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Buffalo sets up for a New York showdown as they welcome their lesser SUNY football counterpart.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

There's nothing that screams college football more than scheduling a FCS school for that all-but-guaranteed win. Buffalo has chosen Albany, who will most likely assume the position of the Omega pledges saying "thank you sir (Buffalo) may I have another."

But as Michigan learned with Appalachian State, no outcome is certain. If Albany is going to claim the State University of New York football crown a lot of things need to go right.

In 2014 the Albany Great Danes finished with a 7-5 (3-5) record and finished in 9th place in the CAA (the former conference of the Massachusetts Minutemen). From that team they have lost their leading rusher and starting quarterback. They do however still have the leading receiver Josh Gontarek.

Gontarek caught 58 balls for 687 yards and eight touchdowns through the air and one on the ground. He was named the CAA offensive rookie of the year and was a Jerry Rice Award Finalist. At 5-11, 170 he uses his reliable hands and technique to burn defenders.

It is unclear who will be throwing to Gontarek but they will have on heck of a safety blanket. Andre Martin, the second leading rusher in 2014, looks like he will be getting the majority of carries in 2015. After only carrying the ball 52 times last year it's unclear if he can handle that workload.

Albany's defense looks to be the backbone of their 2015 squad. Leading tackler Michael Nicastro is back as he looks for another 120 total tackle season. He also added three sacks and two interceptions. Cory Connell and Malachi Hoskins are back as they combined for 7.5 sacks in 2014. Joe Licata could be under pressure from the rush off the edge if UBs offensive line cannot grasp their new offensive scheme.

Licata will also want to watch out for safety Kyle Sakowski as he led all Danes with four interceptions. At six feet he is a force in the secondary.

Be sure to tune in to ESPN3 on September 5th at 3:30 as Buffalo looks to improve to 1-0.