New Hampshire Football Report

UNH hoping to finish strong

DURHAM – Sophomore quarterback Bret Edwards came off the bench in the fourth quarter to spark the University of New Hampshire offense in a 20-7 loss at Albany last Saturday.

Edwards and the Wildcats, down to two games left in their season, will be looking to ride the boost from that late rally into Saturday’s game against Rhode Island, a Colonial Athletic Association rival that is making a push to get into the FCS playoffs. The teams play at 1 p.m. at Meade Stadium.

UNH then returns home to close out the season against Maine at Wildcat Stadium on Nov. 20. The Brice-Cowell Musket that goes to the winner of the game, and is currently in UNH’s possession, will be on the line.

 UNH has lost six straight games and sits at 3-6 overall and 2-4 in the CAA.

Rhode Island is at 6-3 overall and 3-3 in the league The Rams may need to win their last two games, Saturday against UNH and then on the road at Elon next week, to qualify for the NCAA tournament.

“Our focus is getting our fourth win and getting back to our old ways and knocking them out of the playoffs, hopefully,” said senior receiver and captain Nick Lorden.

Lorden had a career high 53 yards on two receptions, including a career long 46-yarder, that set up UNH’s touchdown last week.

Edwards, who started UNH’s first eight games of the season, was on the sideline when the Albany game started while freshman Brody McAndrew made his first start at quarterback.

With UNH trailing 20-0 in the fourth quarter, Edwards got the call and rallied the offense to a score: he hit sophomore tight end Thomas Splagounias for his first career reception and a 5-yard TD.

The Wildcats got the ball back and again marched down the field, but the late bid ended with an interception. Edwards completed 12 of his 17 passes for 170 yards in the final 10 minutes of the game.

Edwards will be back as the starter against Rhode Island. McAndrew has been slowed by an injury and depending on how he is at gametime either he or junior Tommy Herion will be the backup.

McDonnell praised the job Edwards did in helping McAndrew as he prepared for last week’s game and in how he played in relief and hopes the offense can pick up where it left off in the fourth quarter. Sitting out, in practices or games, can be beneficial, the coach noted.

“I think you see things even in practice not being with the ones every rep,” McDonnell said. “You sit back there and watch guys perform, you see how they get open, see how they block and things like that. When you’re sitting on the sidelines after being in there for a bit, you see things a little bit differently, you see some things a little better and I think that happened Saturday.”

The Wildcats could have junior Carlos Washington Jr., who missed last week’s game with an injury, back to join redshirt freshman Isaac Seide at running back, McDonnell said.

Rhode Island rattled off wins in its first five games, over Bryant, 45-21; Albany, 16-14; Brown, 45-24; Stony Brook, 27-20 in overtime; and No. 9 Delaware, 22-15, to establish itself as one of the teams to beat in the league and nation.

The Rams then lost to Towson, 28-7, Villanova, 44-0 and Maine, 45-24, before rebounding with a 35-22 win over Massachusetts, an FBS team, last Saturday.

Junior quarterback Kasim Hill threw for 169 yards and two touchdowns against UMass and also ran for 32 yards and another two scores.

“They have a real good offense,” said UNH sophomore defensive back Derek Thompson. “Kasim Hill gets rid of the ball really quickly and their receivers catch the ball in traffic and fight through every catch.”

The Rams have built successfully off an abbreviated spring season in which they went 2-1 with wins over Villanova and Albany, which were both ranked, McDonnell said.

“They are playing with confidence and flying around together,” McDonnell said. “This is a really good football team we’re playing. They’re 6-3 right now and looking to go to the playoffs. We have to find a way to get to No. 4 and we have to find a way to create some things and rain on their parade a little.”


  • Rhode Island’s Kasim Hill has completed 107 of his 204 passes with 11 touchdowns and four interceptions.
  • The Rams average 24.6 points per game and allow 25.9.
  • URI averages 327 yards of offense per game, 141.7 rushing and 185.7 passing.
  • Freshman Jaylen Smith had 16 carries for 111 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown against UMass.
  • Senior Justice Antrum has rushed for 590 yards and six touchdowns but did not play against UMass.
  • Evan Stewart leads the Rams with 78 tackles and Andre Blackett has 77.
  • Jordan Jones has five interceptions.
  • Jim Fleming is in his eighth season as URI’s head coach.


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