Albany linebacker Danny Damico drops Central Connecticut State quarterback Aaron Winchester for a loss during the first round of the FCS playoffs Saturday at Albany.

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Albany’s offense needed almost the entire first half to get started on Saturday in the first FCS home playoff game in program history.

After that, there was no stopping the Great Danes, who got a record-setting performance from redshirt freshman quarterback Jeff Undercuffler.

He set a new program mark with six touchdown passes, just one off the FCS tournament record, as the Great Danes overcame a slow start to beat Central Connecticut State 42-14 before 1,660 fans at Casey Stadium.

In the third quarter alone, Undercuffler completed all of his 10 passes for 220 yards and four touchdowns in freezing temperatures as the Great Danes outscored the Blue Devils 28-0 to break a 7-7 tie.

“It was definitely fun just being out there with the guys,’’ Undercuffler said. “When you’re putting a lot of points on the scoreboard in a football game, it certainly is fun for the whole team.”

The Great Danes (9-4) earned their first FCS playoff victory in their 20-year Division I history, just a year after they finished last in the Colonial Athletic Association.

“Coming in as a freshman, you have so many goals and you see guys ahead of you work so hard,’’ Albany senior wide receiver Jerah Reeves said. “Some seasons, it’s rough coming up. We knew we always had the potential to do something special. We just had to put everything together, and like any other team in the country, work so hard. So it’s always a blessing to see these results.”

With the victory, Albany advances to a second-round game against No. 5-seeded Montana State (9-3) next Saturday at Bobcat Stadium.

“It’s one state I haven’t been to,’’ Albany head coach Greg Gattuso said. “I’ll be eager to get there. … I heard it’s a beautiful state, and I know they’re a good football team. I don’t know much about them, but we’re excited to get out there and play them.”

Reeves finished with six catches for 134 yards and a touchdown, while senior wide receiver Juwan Green had seven receptions for 105 yards and two scores.

Green turned the tide of the game on a 12-yard touchdown catch with 17 seconds left in the first half. He wrestled the ball away from Central Connecticut State cornerback Kendall Coles in the back right corner of the end zone, allowing the Great Danes to get into halftime tied at seven after being thoroughly outplayed.

Albany had four punts and an Undercuffler interception on its first five drives of the game.

“First playoff game for everybody here on this team, so the energy was there,’’ Green said. “We just needed to calm down, settle in and just play really our game. Once Jeff settled in, he got us all focused in and we just executed, and that’s what it came down to, execution.”

The Great Danes received the second-half kickoff and needed just two plays to take the lead for good. Undercuffler found Reeves for 26 yards and then fired to Green, who caught the ball at the 20 and cruised from there for a 40-yard touchdown and a 14-7 advantage just 29 seconds into the third quarter.

Central Connecticut State’s ensuing drive ended with a blocked 37-yard field goal that Albany’s Danny Damico returned to the Blue Devils’ 45. That led to Undercuffler’s 33-yard score to Reeves and a 21-7 lead with 10:24 to play in the third.

Undercuffler added scoring passes of 11 yards to tight end LJ Wesneski, 9 yards to wide receiver Tyler Oedekoven and 10 yards to running back Karl Mofor to turn the game into a runaway.

Gattuso said the Great Danes knew they’d have to throw the ball effectively against Central Connecticut State (11-2), which was ranked third in the FCS in run defense. The Blue Devils brought their safeties down to hold Mofor, the CAA’s leading rusher, to 35 yards on 11 carries.

“The way they play defense, they’re not going to let you run,’’ Gattuso said. “We went into the game knowing if they continued to play that style of defense, we were going to get shots (downfield) on them.”

The Albany defense allowed 141 yards on Central Connecticut State’s first two drives, but largely held Walter Payton Award candidate Aaron Winchester, a senior quarterback, in check from there.

Northeast Conference champion Central Connecticut State had a chance to get a bigger lead in the first half. But the Blue Devils had a touchdown run negated by a holding penalty, missed a 20-yard field goal and were stopped on downs at the Albany 25.

“Just like the offense, we kind of settled in,’’ Albany senior defensive end Eli Mencer said. “Once we realized we were supposed to be here, we played like it.”

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Colton Pool can be reached at cpool@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2690. Follow him on Twitter @CPoolReporter.