New Hampshire Football Report

UNH looking to run it up

Allen Lessels
UNH Insider

unhinsiderThe University of New Hampshire football team goes back on the road this weekend, heading to Rhode Island and looking to rebound from Saturday’s 22-21 loss at Dartmouth. The Wildcats are also seeking their first win away from Wildcat Stadium in their first Colonial Athletic Association game of the year.

The Wildcats face the University of Rhode Island at Meade Stadium in Kingston on Saturday at 1 p.m. UNH is at 1-2 on the season and has all CAA games remaining.

Among other things, the Wildcats will aim to punch up their running game against Rhode Island, which has lost its first three games.

“Obviously, it starts up front with us,” said senior center Tad McNeely. “We’ve just got to execute better up front. As the offensive line we just have to stay on our blocks longer so guys like Dalton (Crossan) and Trevon (Bryant) can really see the holes.”

UNH rolled up 362 yards on the ground – Crossan had 199 of them, sophomore quarterback Trevor Knight 87 and Bryant 79 – two weeks ago against Holy Cross.

The Wildcats had 71 yards rushing against San Diego State, an FBS school, in their opener and 123 against Dartmouth.

“We need to get going again,” UNH coach Sean McDonnell said. “There were bits and pieces in the Dartmouth game that you saw that you liked. A couple of hard runs by Dalton. A couple of shots. Trevon went in and gave us some. We didn’t get much quarterback run going last week.  I think they did a good job of bottling Trevor on any types of scrambles and stuff, a little bit different than Holy Cross.”

Crossan had a long run of 25 yards against Dartmouth, Bryant had one of 16 and Knight one of 10.

Their long runs against Holy Cross: Crossan 56, Knight 38, Bryant 42.

“We’ve got to run the ball to take some pressure off throwing the football, put the ball in the hands of Crossan and Bryant and (Donald) Goodrich and (Evan) Gray and give them opportunities to make plays happen,” McDonnell said.

URI has averaged a league-low 11.3 points a game in losses at Kansas (55-6), home against Albany (35-7) and at Harvard (51-21). The Rams have averaged 138 yards rushing and 131 yards passing a game.

“I think their run game is a strongpoint,” said senior linebacker DeVaughn Chollette. “T.J. Anderson and Harold Cooper are both good running backs so we have to stop the run first before anything.”

UNH has won the last five games in the series. Its last loss to URI was in Kingston on Sept. 18, 2010, 28-25.

Last season, URI grabbed a 17-0 halftime lead on UNH in Durham before the Wildcats rallied for a 20-17 win that helped turn their season around. Again, UNH is looking to get its season back on track.

This is a familiar spot for the Wildcats: It’s the third season in the last four – and fourth in the last seven – that UNH has a 1-2 record going into the fourth game of the year.

McDonnell said his players are well aware of where things stand.

“I don’t think I have to get their attention,” he said. “We’re 1-2. This week is really huge about how we approach this game and more importantly how we prepare for the game and most importantly how we play the game. Don’t worry about any other outstanding factors here. Don’t worry about where you are, or that this is the beginning of the league. This is Saturday and we’ve got an opportunity to be 1-0 on Saturday night.”

And 2-2 for the season.


Knight will start his fourth straight game at quarterback. Senior  Adam Riese relieved him for most of three series in the fourth quarter against Dartmouth. “Trevor did some good things Saturday night,” McDonnell said. “Did some things he needs to improve upon. He made a couple of reads that were really, really good and a couple of reads that weren’t.” . . . McDonnell said senior offensive lineman Alexander Morrill, who was hurt early in preseason camp, will miss his final season with a hip injury. . . . Sophomore wide receiver Rory Donovan sat out the Dartmouth game with an injury and likely will be sidelined against Rhode Island as well.

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