New Hampshire Football Report

UNH put forth special effort


Technically, no one should have touched the ball and the touchdown shouldn’t have happened, but some players are allowed to break the rules. Apparently, University of New Hampshire running back Dylan Laube is one of them.

Laube drifted inside the 10-yard line — usually a no, no when fielding punts — caught the ball and raced 92 yards for a touchdown that helped UNH build a 10-0 lead late in the first quarter of Saturday’s 37-14 victory over Towson.

“The 10-yard line is supposed to be the line of demarcation where you get away from it,” UNH coach Rick Santos said Monday.

Not Laube. His 92-yard punt return tied a school record and was part of a strong special teams performance by the Wildcats. Freshman place-kicker Nick Mazzie made each of his three field goal attempts — one from 42 yards — and UNH opened the game with a successful onside kick that led to a field goal.

“We had practiced that since Week 1, so we had that in the bag of tricks and we were just waiting for the right time to bust that out,” Santos explained. “We felt like their kick returner was so dynamic, all week we were going back and forth: Do we squib? Do we kick to him? It looked really good in Thursday’s practice so coach Garrett McLaughlin (UNH’s special teams coordinator) and myself were trying to mull it over and whether we wanted to call it. He was adamant he wanted to call it right out of the gate. It was one of those things where I slept on it. Went over it three or four times in my head. Should we do it? Should we not? We rolled the dice a little bit.”

Some coaches prefer to not put starters on special teams for fear of injury. Others feel like they can’t afford to not use their most talented players on kick returns and in other special teams situations.

Santos said he’s willing to allow Laube to return kicks in moderation.

“Last year he returned kickoffs as well,” Santos said. “We don’t want to use him on both return teams. We are definitely cognizant of the wear and tear on his body. Obviously he has to get the lions’ share of the carries for our offense if we’re to continue to be successful, so very aware of that, but those hidden yards in football games are so important and for us in particular as we work to get more explosive as an offense.

“If he can get a couple extra first downs in the return game that’s going to help us out, and then obviously breaking a 92-yarder for a touchdown and giving us a lot of momentum … he’s too dynamic not to put back there.”

The three field goals Mazzie kicked were one more than the Wildcats made last season, when they were 2 for 11 on field goal attempts.

I thought that was the first game where we really played a complete game in all three phases,” Santos said. “Special teams ended up coming up huge in that game.”


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