New Hampshire Football Report

UNH looking for strong finish

By Allen Lessels

DURHAM – The University of New Hampshire football season is down to a few practices and just two games — Saturday at Monmouth (noon) and then Nov. 18 in a border battle against Maine in Wildcat Stadium (1 p.m.) – and that fact maybe hits hardest of all.

A few practices and a couple of games for senior running back/receiver/return specialist Dylan Laube – who has his eye on an NFL career and this week received an invitation to the East-West Shrine Bowl game — and his senior classmates to compete in Wildcat uniforms.


“I think that’s what makes it hard to lose some of the games the way we did this this year, to know we only have two weeks left,” said UNH head coach Rick Santos. “It’s guys like that you want to cherish every second you get to coach them.”

Laube rolled up more than 300 all-purpose yards with two touchdowns in another huge effort last Saturday, but the Wildcats could not keep pace with No. 19 Villanova at home and their 45-33 loss doused any hopes of qualifying for the NCAA Division I FCS tournament for a second straight season.

Instead, UNH’s record dropped to 4-5 overall and 2-4 in the Coastal Athletic Association.

The Wildcats need to regroup and aim to string together a pair of triumphs to finish with a winning season, send the seniors out on a high note and gather momentum for the work to be done in the off-season.

The seniors and other veterans deserve it, Santos said Wednesday in his weekly press conference.

“I told the team yesterday that we might look to this season as not up to our standards, but this senior class certainly left a lasting legacy,” he said. “With all the stuff they went through, from a pandemic, a head coaching change, uncertainty. A lot of them decided to stay and they have a championship on their resume. Even though they didn’t leave it this year exactly how they wanted it, I think overall their complete body of work leaves a lot for these guys to be proud of.”

On Saturday, Laube and Co. will look to keep pace with another high-powered offense in what could well shape up as a 20-20 footrace.

Like Laube, Monmouth standout Jaden Shirden wears No. 20.

The Wildcat and Hawk offenses have no doubt fueled nightmares for defensive coordinators throughout the season.

UNH leads the CAA in scoring average at 37.4 points per game and Monmouth is just behind at 37. The Wildcats average 450 yards of offense a game and Monmouth is at 425.

Monmouth also is 4-5 overall and is a step ahead of UNH at 3-3 on the league.

Then there’s the 20s.

Laube averages a well-balanced 224.9 all-purpose yards per game to lead all of FCS. That’s nearly 60 yards more than the next highest number and he’s on pace to lead the country for a second straight year.

The speedy Shirden has rushed for 1,344 yards – an average of 149.3 a game – and he, too, will likely lead the country for a second straight season.

Laube is tied for second in total touchdowns in FCS with 17 and Shirden has 11. Shirden is second on the team in TDs to Sone Ntoh, a bruising grad transfer from Harvard, who has 13 TDs and is featured in short-yardage situations out of a wildcat formation.

While Monmouth balances its offense between run (215.5 yards a game) and pass (209), UNH leans much more heavily on junior quarterback Max Brosmer and the pass game (338 yards per game passing to 112 rush).

Brosmer has passed for 2,939 yards and 24 touchdowns with four interceptions.

Laube has a team-leading 60 catches out of the backfield and is tied for the team lead with six TD catches. Grad transfer Logan Tomlinson also has caught six passes.

Sophomore D.J. Linkins is one of five receivers between 26 and 33 catches. He’s caught 29 passes for 380 yards and one TD.

Linkins enjoys the healthy competition in the receivers’ room.

“It’s like, ‘who’s the guy this week?’” he said. “I love it. Everybody’s chasing everybody. That’s how you achieve greatness.”


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