DURHAM, N.H. – Keith LeVan (Waltham, Mass.) caught two touchdown passes and threw for another one to lead the 15th-ranked University of New Hampshire football team to Saturday afternoon’s 35-30 upset victory against 11th-ranked University of Delaware at Cowell Stadium.UNH improved to 3-2 overall and 1-2 in the CAA while Delaware suffered its first defeat of the season and is now 5-1, 3-1.
Following a scoreless first quarter, LeVan capped UNH’s 21-point second quarter with a 45-yard pass to Mike Boyle (Plymouth, N.H.) in which he caught a lateral from quarterback R.J. Toman (Mission Viejo, Calif.) in the right flat and found Boyle alone down the right sideline. The ensuing PAT by Tom Manning (Rome, N.Y.) gave the Wildcats a 21-3 lead at 2:44. That play came immediately after Justin Wright (Providence, R.I.) and Kamal Mohammed (San Diego, Calif.) stopped UD’s Fred Andrew short of a first down on a run off a fake punt.
Delaware marched 68 yards on 10 plays in the opening drive of the third quarter to pull within 21-10 at 10:22. Omar Cuff (22 carries-89 yards; seven catches-68 yards) capped the drive with an 8-yard TD run.
The combination of Toman-to-LeVan produced two touchdowns that extended UNH’s lead to 35-10. LeVan caught the ball at the front-left pylon on the first strike, a 28-yard pass play, at 5:27. On the next UNH drive, Toman evaded the blitz on 3rd-and-12 by rolling out to the left and he connected with LeVan deep along the sideline for the 36-yard scoring play at 1:01.
Toman finished the game 5-for-9 for 98 yards and two touchdowns, as well as 47 rushing yards on seven carries, after entering the game on the fifth play of UNH’s fourth drive of the game – a drive that culminated with a 1-yard run by Sean Jellison (Amherst, N.H.) at 5:17 of the second quarter that gave the ‘Cats a 14-3 advantage.
Delaware’s furious fourth-quarter rally began with a 54-yard TD pass from Joe Flacco to Josh Baker at 12:52 that trimmed the visitor’s deficit to 35-17.Ronald Talley then blocked a 42-yard field goal attempt by UNH’s Manning, and the led to Flacco’s 31-yard pass play to Cuff that lift UD within 35-24 at 3:41.
UNH’s Boyle recovered the ensuing onsides kick attempt, but the Fighin’ Blue Hens stopped Toman on a 4th-and-1 to regain possession with 3:07 remaining. Delaware quickly covered 66 yards in 1:34 and Cuff’s second TD run of the game – a school-record 48th career rushing touchdown – trimmed the margin to 35-30. The two-point pass attempt from Flacco to Aaron Hicks was knocked down by Jeff Pammer (Northampton, Pa.) two yards deep into the endzone.
The Wildcats once again recovered the onsides kick – this time T.J. Wright (Agoura Hills, Calif.) off a high bounce at the UNH 47 yard line. With just 1:31 remaining and Delaware out of timeouts, the Wildcats ran out the clock on three plays to secure the win.
Flacco went 40-of-51 for 419 yards and two TDs. Both the attempts and completions are school records and the passing yardage ranks third for a single game.
Pammer finished with 11 tackles to pass both Czar Wiley (199-2002; 273 tackles) and Scott Curtis (1984-87; 278) on the program’s career leaderboard with 281.
Looking at UNH’s other statistical leaders, quarterbacks Santos and Toman were the top rushers on the day with 51 and 47 yards apiece, while the combo of Boyle (4-96 yds) and LeVan (4-90) led the way in receiving for the ‘Cats.
In the overall team numbers, Delaware produced 496 yards of total offense as compared to 413 by UNH.
New Hampshire returns to action Oct. 13 against Iona College as part of Homecoming Weekend. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. Tickets are available online at www.unhwildcats or by calling 1-866-WILDCAT. Fans will also be able to watch the game online at UNHwildcats.tv.