New Hampshire Football Report

Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl preview

New Hampshire vs. Vermont

When and where: Saturday (11:30 a.m.) at Castleton (Vt.) University.
Coaches: Greg Balch (Windsor) is Vermont’s head coach. Chris Sanborn (Plymouth) is coaching New Hampshire.
2021 Result: New Hampshire won, 7-0.
Series: New Hampshire leads the series 50-16-2.
Noteworthy: The key to winning this game usually comes down to which team has the more cohesive offense, since the teams have only one week to prepare. New Hampshire has won the last three games and held Vermont to nine points in the process. Vermont failed to score in the 2021 and 2022 games. Vermont held New Hampshire to 15 points when it won three games in a row from 2016-18. “It’s tougher in these games to get an offense installed than it is a defense,” Balch said. “We’re primarily a Wing-T team at Windsor. That’s mostly what we run. We try to be fairly versatile and flexible with what we do, but then again you only have a week. We put in what we can.” … Balch steered Vermont to a 24-13 victory in the 2018 game, which is Vermont’s most recent victory. No game was played in 2020. “This is my second time doing the game and I think both times we found that the defense was way ahead of the offense in the early part of camp,” Balch said. “I think we’ve been quicker this time around to kill things that don’t look good. You try running it a few times and if it doesn’t look good just kill it. It’s definitely a game where the defense has the advantage most of the time.” … Quarterback Zack Doward (Concord), offensive lineman Joe Pickett (St. Thomas), running back Rex Sullivan (Sanborn) and offensive lineman Caden Sanborn (Plymouth) are New Hampshire’s captains. … Doward is expected to take most of the snaps at QB. Quarterbacks Quinn Murphy (St. Johnsbury) and Max Destito (Champlain Valley) will share time at that position for Vermont. … “Our defense was behind the offense the first couple days, but they’ve kicked it in gear and are really looking good,” Sanborn said. “We’ll use a rotation at defensive tackle. Same thing at defensive end. I think our linebacking crew is going to be our strength, but we’ll see. I was worried about our secondary, but they really came on the last few days.” … Sanborn played in the 1992 Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl, a 38-21 New Hampshire victory.  … The game will feature 12-minute quarters. … New Hampshire has won four of the seven meetings since the game was moved to Castleton.


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