New Hampshire Football Report

UNH advance: Fordham

DURHAM – The statistics jump off the page.

The Fordham University football team that will be at Wildcat Stadium on Saturday to take on the University of New Hampshire (2 p.m.) in a first-round game of the 2022 NCAA FCS Division I tournament packs a potent punch.

The Rams average 50.2 points a game and rack up 612 yards of total offense a game.

Senior quarterback Tim DeMorat has passed for 4,561 yards and 53 touchdowns and was named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year for the third straight season.

“Those are video game numbers they’re putting up,” UNH head coach Rick Santos said.

A berth in the second round of the tournament and a trip to play at undefeated Holy Cross, the No. 8 seed, Dec. 3, is on the line.

UNH, ranked No. 15 in the country, went 8-3 during the regular season and at 7-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association, shared the league title with William & Mary.

No. 16 Fordham is 9-2 overall and 5-1 in the Patriot League, second behind Holy Cross.

Former UNH quarterback Kevin Decker is Fordham’s offensive coordinator, and Joe Conlin, who was once a UNH assistant at UNH, is Fordham’s head coach.

Only one FCS team has averaged more than 600 yards a game of total offense for a season. That historic group was a Mississippi Valley State team that had Jerry Rice at wide receiver and averaged 640 yards a game in 1984.

Santos and his staff – led by defensive coordinator and associate head coach Garrett Gillick and offensive coordinator Brian Scott – spent this week devising and implementing gameplans designed to at least slow the Rams a bit.

“If it’s a shootout, we’ve got to be the reason offensively and score one more point than they do and that’s the ultimate goal,” Santos said. “For us, we have to control the line of scrimmage. We need to win the time of possession battle and we have to take the air out of the ball, limit their possessions. I think if you’re playing a team as talented as they are, as fast-paced as they go, you have to limit their possessions.”

The Wildcats are looking for a big game out of junior running back Dylan Laube and sophomore quarterback Max Brosmer and his crew of receivers as well as more timely defense and contributions from their special teams.

Laube went for 190 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns and 281 all-purpose yards in a 42-41 overtime win over Maine last Saturday that clinched the playoff spot and CAA title share. He’s at an even 1,000 yards rushing in his games with 12 rushing TDs.

Brosmer completed 14 of his 23 passes for 190 yards and three scores against Maine. He’s hit on 224 of his 350 passes (64 percent) for 2,564 yards and 22 touchdowns with five interceptions.

Last week, his touchdown passes were to freshman D.J. Linkins, who shares the team lead in TD receptions with grad transfer Heron Maurisseau at five each, and senior Adam Deese and junior Kyle Lepkowski. It was the first Wildcat TD catch of his career for Deese and first of the season for Lepkowski.

Brosmer’s 22 TD passes have been to nine different Wildcats.

“We just have to take care of the ball,” said senior receiver Brian Espanet, who has three TD catches along with redshirt freshman Joey Corcoran. “Make sure we keep the ball out of the quarterback’s hands. . . . Protecting the football, running clean routes, not giving up any undercut lanes.”

The Wildcats have been cleaner on offense in recent weeks. They turned the ball over 11 times in their first seven games. They have one turnover in their last four.

DeMorat has thrown eight interceptions to go with those 53 touchdown passes this season.

Last Saturday, he went 33 for 51 passing for 454 yards with six TDs and a pair of interceptions in a 52-38 win over Colgate.

Fordham has three wins over CAA teams: 52-49 at Monmouth on Sept. 10; 48-45 against UAlbany on Sept. 17; and 45-14 over Stony Brook on Oct. 15.

The Rams have not scored fewer than 40 points in a game. Their losses were 59-52 at Ohio University in their FBS game and at Holy Cross, 53-52 in overtime on Oct. 29.

UNH, by contrast, averages 360 yards of offense and 28.6 points per game.

DeMorat heads up a dangerous attack that includes three players with more than 1,000 yards receiving each. Fotis Kokosioulis leads them with 89 catches for 1,180 yards.

DeMorat and Kokosioulis are two of the 30 finalists for the Walter Payton Award presented to the best offensive player in the FCS. In addition, senior linebacker Ryan Greenhagen with 103 tackles, 4.5 quarterback sacks and an interception is a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award given to the top defensive player in the division.

Junior linebacker Ryan Toscano leads UNH with 59 tackles and sophomore defensive end Dylan Ruiz has 52 with 11 sacks. Sophomore defensive end Josiah Silver has 48 tackles with a team-high 14 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks.


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