Albany 2016 FCS Football Playoff Capsule

Albany Great Danes
Albany got off to a great start. Following a win over Buffalo, the Great Danes cracked the top 25 with a 4-0 start. But then Albany lost three in a row when the CAA schedule got much tougher. A November 5th upset loss at the hands of Delaware left Coach Greg Gattuso and his team in a tough spot. At the least they needed to win their last two games, a road trip to New Hampshire and a home tilt against Stony Brook. Albany managed to win both of those games and get a little help along the way to reach the playoffs.
2016 Record: 7-4, 4-4
Coach: Greg Gattuso
Big Wins: 9/2 at Buffalo (22-16), 11/12 at New Hampshire (36-25)
Bad Losses: 10/15 at Maine (16-20), 11/5 Delaware (17-33)
Albany is a very interesting team. They rank ninth in the CAA in total offense, yet third in scoring offense. They rank ninth in total defense, yet second in scoring defense, allowing a mere 20 points per game. The reason is largely due to a magnificent turnover margin. The defense has picked off 17 passes and recovered 15 fumbles in 11 games. That is a lot of turnovers. Linebacker Michael Nicastro leads the way. He accounted for six of those turnovers and leads the team with 121 tackles. Mason Gray and Rayshan Clark are the main playmaking threats in the secondary. Those two combined to intercept nine passes. As long as Albany can keep creating turnovers, they can beat anybody.
Ideally, Albany would create turnovers, get the ball close to the end zone and punch it in on the ground. Running back Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks has had a very good season in that regard, collecting 1,388 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground. The problem is when the offense needs consistent play from quarterback Neven Sussman. The sophomore signal caller has completed just 45.1 percent of his passes this season and has thrown seven touchdowns with eight interceptions. The Great Danes are not going to make a lot of noise through the air and they cannot afford to fall behind. If they do, the big plays will likely have to come from the defense, not the offense.
Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks, RB, 1,388 yards
Passing: Neven Sussman, QB, 1,013 yards
Receiving: Jordan Crockett, WR, 339 yards
Tackles: Michael Nicastro, LB, 121
Sacks: Malachi Hoskins, DL, 7.0
Interceptions: Rayshan Clark, CB, 5
2016 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 177.5 (36th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 121.6 (117, 10)
Total Offense: 299.1 (107, 9)
Scoring Offense: 26.1 (63, 3)
Rushing Defense: 186.3 (82, 9)
Pass Defense: 193.0 (32, 8)
Total Defense: 379.3 (52, 9)
Scoring Defense: 20.1 (17, 2)
Turnover Margin: 1.40 (4, 1)
Sacks: 2.00 (53, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 3.00 (102, 12)
Recent Playoff Appearances:
2011    First Round     Lost to Stony Brook
*all team stats through 11/12