December 22, 2014
December 20, 2014
DURHAM - The No. 1-ranked University of New Hampshire football team was defeated by Illinois State University, 21-18, in an NCAA FCS Championship semifinal gameafternoon at Cowell Stadium.
Illinois State (13-1) advances to the NCAA Division I FCS Championship game against No. 2 North Dakota State (14-1) on. UNH, which saw its school-record, 12-game winning streak and 14-game home winning streak snapped, finished its season at 12-2.
Junior quarterback Sean Goldrich threw for 214 yards and rushed for a touchdown. Senior running back Nico Steriti also notched a rushing score to go along with a game-high 100 rushing yards on 19 carries.
Senior wide receiver R.J. Harris paced UNH in receptions with six for 68 yards. In his final collegiate game, Harris set the University's all-time record for career catches (310) and single-season receptions (100), and his 1,551 receiving yards this season equaled David Ball's 2005 season for tops in UNH history.
After UNH took an 18-6 lead early in the third quarter, ISU scored 15 unanswered points to become the first non-conference opponent to win at Cowell Stadium since Northern Iowa on Dec. 3, 2005.
ISU quarterback Tre Roberson went 18 of 31 for 278 yards passing, and tallied 95 rushing yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Running back Marshaun Coprich carried 24 times for 79 yards and a score, and Lechein Neblett notched eight catches for 147 yards
ISU kicker Nick Aussieker booted a 33-yard field goal to hand the Redbirds a 3-0 advantage withremaining in the first quarter. Roberson set up the kick with a key third-down conversion in Wildcats' territory.
Goldrich and the Wildcats did not wait around. On its next possession, UNH used outstanding field position to its advantage after an ISU personal-foul penalty on the kickoff gave UNH the ball on the Redbirds' 42. Goldrich dashed to a four-yard touchdown to give the Wildcats a 7-3 lead withleft in the first.
The drive featured two fourth-down conversions, one by Steriti and another by Goldrich on rushes to keep the Wildcats marching.
The Wildcat defense delivered a key turnover early in the second quarter. Junior linebacker Akil Anderson (six tackles) forced a goal-line fumble on a Roberson run as the quarterback attempted to break the plane. Junior cornerback Dougie Moss (four tackles) recovered to give UNH possession at its own 3.
UNH answered with a nine-play, 96-yard scoring drive capped by a Steriti six-yard touchdown. Senior quarterback Andy Vailas followed with a successful rush on a two-point conversion to boost UNH's lead to 15-3 withto play in the first half.
Steriti's scoring rush was set up with a critical play in the passing game. On third and 5 from his own 9-yard line, Goldrich connected with senior tight end Harold Spears (two catches-61 yards) for a 47-yard completion to keep the UNH drive alive.
The Redbirds tightened the score to 15-6 just before halftime after Aussieker struck a 23-yard field goal withremaining in the second quarter.
Despite giving up points at the end of the half, it took an impressive effort from UNH's defense to keep ISU out of the end zone. After Roberson hit Neblett for a 77-yard pass play, the Redbirds started 1st & 10 at UNH's 3-yard line. Led by senior defensive tackle Matt Kaplan, the Wildcats stuffed ISU on three attempts to force the Redbirds to settle for three.
The Wildcats held a 15-6 advantage heading into the locker room.
A 25-yard field goal by senior Brad Prasky opened the second-half scoring and increased UNH's lead to 18-6 withremaining in the third quarter.
Prasky's kick finished a 13-play, 73-yard drive that spanned the firstof the half. Goldrich and senior wide receiverJimmy Giansante (three catches-41 yards) highlighted the drive with a 25-yard hookup that drove the ball to the ISU 20. The completion was instrumental in setting up Prasky's kick, which was the only scoring play of the third quarter.
Roberson drove the Redbirds 84 yards on 10 plays, capped by a two-yard touchdown run from Coprich to cut UNH's lead to 18-13.
The Redbirds gained the lead after Roberson scored on a 47-yard touchdown run withleft in the fourth. Running back Jon-Marc Anderson notched the two-point conversion for a 21-18 advantage.
December 19, 2014
December 18, 2014
Paladino said he hopes to have a new head coach in place by February.
December 17, 2014
That's fine with the folks in the Wildcat locker room.
"We embrace that," said senior All American wide receiver R.J. Harris. "Thank you. Thank you, Sports Network for that. Thank you everyone who's out there doubting us."
Harris and senior center Mike Coccia were named Associated Press All Americans on Wendesday. Harris was a first-team pick and Coccia a second-team choice.
Awards keep rolling in as part of the recognition for UNH's impressive season, but it's business as usual in the football offices.
There's a big football game to be played on Saturday at 2 p.m. between the Wildcats and Redbirds. Both teams are 12-1.
The winner advances to the FCS championship game on Jan. 10 in Frisco, Texas, and will play either Sam Houston State or No. Dakota State. Sam Houston is at No. Dakota State on Friday night in the other semifinal contest.
The Sports Network analyzed the UNH-Illinois State game and talked about Redbird running back Marshaun Coprich and Tre Roberson, the transfer quarterback from Indiana. It mentioned UNH quarterback Sean Goldrich and Harris, touched on each team's defense, the Wildcats' 11-year run in the FCS tournament and other factors.
And it came up with this: "Prediction: New Hampshire doesn't often play teams with a better offense. This is one of those times, though. Illinois State, 38-28."
"That's OK with us," Harris said. "In the Selection Show, there was nothing for New Hampshire. Nothing. No. 1 team in the playoffs, nothing. That's the way we like it. That's fine. We'll fly under the radar. We're going to play our game. We're going to practice the way we practice. We're not taking anything easy. We're not changing anything up. We're going to go out there and play our game and if you doubt us, that's on you. We're not getting arrogant, we're not getting cocky, we're just going out there and playing our game. . . . We've always had a chip on our shoulder since day one and we're going to continue to."
December 16, 2014
December 15, 2014
PHILADELPHIA - University of New Hampshire football head coach Sean McDonnell was named recipient of the 2014 Eddie Robinson Awardafternoon as the Football Championship Subdivision national coach of the year. The accolade will formally be presented night at The Sports Network FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation at the Sheraton Philadelphia Society Hill Hotel.
McDonnell, who was also feted in 2005, is just the third two-time recipient of the Eddie Robinson Award since its inception in 1987. Craig Bohl (North Dakota State University) was selected in 2012 and 2013, and Mickey Matthews (James Madison University) was tabbed in '99 and '08.
The 2014 Eddie Robinson Award was presented to McDonnell by Doug Williams, a pupil of the namesake who went on to win a Super Bowl MVP with the NFL's Washington Redskins and become a two-time Grambling State head coach. Robinson retired in 1997 as college football's winningest coach with a record of 408-164-15 in 57 years at Grambling. He passed away in 2007.
It is the fourth coach of the year accolade bestowed McDonnell this season. He was previously honored as CAA Coach of the Year, Jack Grinold Division I New England Coach of the Year (by the New England Football Writers Association) and American Football Coaches Association Region 1 Coach of the Year.
McDonnell guided UNH to a No. 1 national ranking and top seed of the FCS tournament with a 10-1 regular-season record that included 8-0 as CAA conference champions.
The Wildcats extended their school-record win streak to 12 and broke the program record for wins in a single season (12) with postseason victories against No. 9 Fordham University, 44-19, in the second round and a 35-30 quarterfinal win vs. No. 8 University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
UNH has also set the benchmark for consecutive home wins (14) and is 5-0 against nationally-ranked teams, including three victories against teams in the Top 10.
Including this year's four accolades, coach McDonnell has received a total of 16 Coach of the Year awards and that includes both the 2005 and 2014 Eddie Robinson Award.
WACO, Texas - University of New Hampshire wide receiver R.J. Harris was named to the American Football Coaches' Association Football Championship Subdivision All-America Team.
Earlier this month, Harris was named to the New England Football Writers' Association All-New England Team and CAA All-Conference First Team - both for the third time.
Harris, a senior, has a school single-season record 94 catches for 1,483 yards and 15 receiving touchdowns in 13 games to average 114.1 yards per game and 15.8 yards per catch; he also has nine rushes for 65 yards and two TDs. Harris will tie the UNH single-season receiving yards benchmark with 68 more; the record of 1,551 was established by David Ballin 2005.
With those stats, Harris leads the nation in both receiving yards and receiving yards per game; he also ranks ninth in receptions per game (7.2) and fifth in receiving TDs (15). He leads the CAA in receiving yards, receiving yards/game, receptions per game and receiving TDs; furthermore, he is second in scoring (8.3 points/game), third in yards per catch and fourth in all-purpose yards/game (120.69).
Harris has eclipsed 100 receiving yards in 10 of 13 games and also has a receiving touchdown in 10 contests, including five with two TDs. He has excelled against elite competition with 38 catches for 595 yards and five touchdowns in five games against nationally-ranked teams; that calculates to 119.0 yards/game and 15.7 yards/catch.
Harris' 2014 highlights include 11 catches for a career-high 210 yards and two touchdowns at the University of Rhode Island (). He broke UNH's single-season receptions record during a seven-catch, 172-yard, two-TD effort in the Dec. 12 NCAA quarterfinal win against the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.