New Hampshire Handles Football in FCS First Round
Nov. 30, 2013
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Highlights on ESPN3
DURHAM, N.H. - New Hampshire controlled every aspect of the game from the outset and held a 31-0 halftime lead before eventually coming away with a 45-7 victory over 2013 Patriot League Champion Lafayette in the first round of the FCS Playoffs on Saturday afternoon at Cowell Stadium.
New Hampshire racked up over 500 yards of offense, including 283 on the ground. Dalton Crossan led the Wildcats' rushing attack with 84 yards, while Jimmy Owens had 69 yards on nine carries. Sean Goldrich threw for 267 yards on 15-of-30 with a pair of touchdowns. His top target on the day was R.J. Harris, who reeled in eight catches for 173 yards and a score.
Drew Reed was 20-of-30 for 206 yards in the loss and Ross Scheuerman rushed for 79 yards on the ground. Mike Duncan and Mark Ross each posted six receptions for 67 and 31 yards, respectively.
After a three-and-out on the opening drive, New Hampshire used a four-play, 55-yard drive to earn the game's first points. The scoring play was set up by a 39-yard pass from Goldrich to Harris that gave the Wildcats a first-and-goal from the one-yard line. Nico Steriti, who had a 15-yard run two plays prior, bounced the run outside and scampered inside the pylon for the TD. The Wildcats took a 7-0 lead with 12:28 remaining in the first quarter.
Following the score, punts by each team started Lafayette at its own eight-yard line. Scheurman's 18-yard run brought the Leopards' offense out to the 35, but Reed was sacked on a play action pass attempt for a loss of 10 yards to bring up third and long. Reed was sacked again by Shane McNeely and fumbled to turn the ball over.
On the first play from the 22, Goldrich fired to the left sideline and hit Harris behind Jared Roberts, who was trying to undercut the route.
Trailing 14-0 at that point, Reed used his legs and his arm to help Lafayette move into UNH territory. The freshman QB connected with Justin Adams for 12 yards and a first down before scrambling seven yards to set up a short second down. After Scheuerman picked up the first, Lafayette faced a fourth-and-four following a screen pass to Demetrius Dixon. Reed was swarmed on a blitz up the middle and UNH took over on downs on its own 48-yard line.
Six plays were needed to push the advantage to 21-0 as Goldrich tossed to Crossan for a 17-yard TD to complete the drive.
Reed found Duncan on consecutive plays and brought Lafayette to midfield on its next drive. On second down, Reed was chased down from behind by Cam Shorey. Lafayette was forced to punt, and Ryan Forrester's kick to Nick Cefalo was returned 86 yards for a touchdown as the Wildcats led 28-0 with 11:42 to play in the first half. The Wildcats added a field goal by Mike MacArthur at the end of the half.
After receiving the second half kickoff, New Hampshire turned the ball over when Goldrich was intercepted by Matt Smalley on a pass down the left sideline. Facing a third-and-12, Reed was sacked for the eighth time on the day by Jay Colbert.
The next two drives for each team stalled as they failed to convert on fourth-and-long situations inside their opponents' territory. Lafayette's ended when Reed was sacked by Cody Muller. The Wildcats finished the day with 10 sacks.
Prior to the end of the third quarter, New Hampshire added to its lead with a 28-yard run up the middle by Chris Setian. Crossan's 56-yard run midway through the fourth quarter ran New Hampshire's lead to 45-0.
Blake Searfoss came off the bench in relief of Reed and led Lafayette on its lone scoring drive with a six-yard strike to Duncan.
Lafayette ends its 2013 season at 5-7 overall.
UNH won the coin toss and Lafayette received the opening kickoff.
The last time a Lafayette opponent returned a punt for a touchdown was Lehigh's Jermaine Pugh on Nov. 17, 2001.
The 38-point loss was Lafayette's largest since Oct. 9, 1999 when Colgate beat the Leopards 56-42.