ORONO, MAINE—Freshman running back Chad Kackert (Simi Valley, Calif.) ran six yards for the game-winning TD in overtime, to lead the University of New Hampshire football team to a 19-13 victory at Alfond Stadium on Saturday afternoon. With the win, UNH improves to 8-3 overall and 5-3 in the Atlantic 10 and will find out its playoff fate on Sunday when the team gathers in its lockerroom to watch the NCAA I-AA selection show on ESPNews
The game headed into overtime tied at 13 with UNH’s playoff hopes in the balance.
Maine took the ball in the first session and Devin McNeill attempted a 40-yard field goal that went wide right. Leaving fhe door open for the Wildcat offense. UNH took over on the 25-yard line. Junior quarterback Ricky Santos Bellingham, Mass. carried the football five yards to the 20 yard line on first down. Santos then carried the ball down to the 9 yard line for a first down. Santos carried once again and got to the 6-yard line. Kackert then took the ball to the outside, avoiding a defensive lineman, and shot down the sideline to score the game-winning TD.
The Wildcats got on the scoreboard first after an apparent three-and-out. On the punt junior Matt Henry was under pressure and ran 40 yards down field to give the Wildcats a first down and the football on the Maine 34 yard line. Then, at of the first quarter Santos took advantage of UNH’s opportunity with a 1 yd run to give the Wildcats a 7-0 advantage after a 74-yard opening drive.
Maine responded with a long, time consuming drive of their own but UNH’s defense held and the Black Bears closed to within four points 7-3 on a 23 yd field goal by McNeill. The drive was 18 plays and 67 yards and used up much of the first quarter clock.
Santos ran for his second straight TD at of the second quarter on a 5 yard run, but the PAT was no good and the Wildcats led 13-3. It was the 12th rushing TD of the season for Santos, who leads UNH in that category.
Maine’s McNeill booted his second field goal of the afternoon, a 25-yarder, at of the second quarter to cut UNH’s advantage to 13-6. The three-pointer capped off a 16-play 65-yard drive, the second long, multiplay drive of the game for Maine that resulted in a score. The time of possession was .
Maine’s quarterback Ron Whitcomb attemped a quick punt that went straight up in the air and the Wildcats started their drive on the Maine 37 yard line. On fourth down, UNH went for it from the two-yard line but turned it over on downs with eight minutes to go in the third, losing an opportunity to open up the lead. ontest.
A 22 yard TD pass from Whitcomb to Arel Gordon and the PAT tied the game at 13-13 with to play in the contest.
Maine was driving in the final minute of regulation but an interception by senior defensive back Will Morey ended the drive.. The Wildcats took a knee with 29 seconds on the clock andsent the game into overtime.
UNH’s defense was led by sophomore linebacker Matt Parent (Long Beach, Calif.) led all tacklers with 15 tackles (3-12-15). In addition, junior linebacker Hussain Karim (Burlington, Vt.) had 12 tackles and his brother Muji Karim added nine.
If UNH should get an at-large bid to the playoffs it would mark the third straight year for the Wildcats in the NCAA Tournament.