NO. 8 FOOTBALL UPENDS ST. FRANCIS (PA.), 24-14
DURHAM, N.H. – Sean Jellison (Amherst,
N.H.) rushed for 125 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown run, and
also had a 30-yard TD reception to lead the eighth-ranked
University of New Hampshire football team to Saturday
afternoon’s 24-14 non-conference victory against St. Francis
(Pa.) University at Cowell Stadium.
The game marked the season opener for both teams. UNH has now won five consecutive home openers and six of the last seven season openers.
UNH quarterback R.J. Toman (Mission Viejo, Calif.) completed 11 of 23 passes for 95 yards and two TDs. Jellison was the team’s top receiver with three catches for 24 yards. Kevon Mason (Quincy, Mass) had three catches for 17 yards, including a five-yard scoring play. Hugo Souza (Marshfield, Mass.) tallied six tackles (five solo), two pass breakups, recovered a fumble and blocked a 45-yard field goal attempt to spearhead the defensive effort.
The Red Flash offense was led by Antoine Rivera, who recorded six receptions for 72 yards. John Kelly finished 13-for-30 for 133 yards and a 15-yard TD pass to Anthony Howze. Calvin Williams was SFU’s top ground gainer with 46 yards on 15 carries. Matthew Parker highlighted the defensive effort with 13 tackles (nine solo), including a sack, and a pass breakup.
New Hampshire scored a touchdown on each of its initial three possessions of the game to build a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. The ‘Cats marched 66 yards on 10 plays on the opening drive and took a 7-0 advantage at 10:12 when Toman found Mason in the back-right corner of the end zone from five yards out.
Following a three-and-out by SFU, the Wildcats went 49 yards on six plays to extend the lead to 14-0 at 6:06. The ‘Cats faced 4th-and-2 on the SFU 30 and Toman beat the blitz with a quick pass to Jellison in the flat, and he raced untouched along the left sideline for the score.
UNH regained possession at 1:36 and needed just 29 seconds to push the lead to 21-0. Toman’s 11-yard completion to Dontra Peters (Annapolis, Md.) advanced the ball to the UNH 30, then Jellison broke through the middle of the line of scrimmage and raced down the right side for the score.
On the ensuing kickoff, Kyle Harbridge caught the ball at the SFU 14, followed the wedge up the middle, eluded two UNH defenders and went untouched for an 86-yard kickoff return that trimmed the deficit to 21-7 with 56 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The ‘Cats increased their lead to 24-7 when Tom Manning (Rome, N.Y.) made a 35-yard field goal at 7:11.
SFU scored on its last possession of the first half to close within 24-14. The Red Flash began the drive with 1:40 on the clock at the UNH 41. Following a pass interference call that moved the ball 15 yards, a pair of Jude Yearwood runs advanced the ball to the UNH 17. The next two plays netted zero yards, but on third down Kelly lofted a pass to the right side of the end zone, where Howze leapt in the air, tipped the ball and then corralled it as he fell to the ground with :05 on the clock.
Both teams had nine scoreless possessions in the second half.
New Hampshire returns to action Sept. 12 (7 p.m.) at Ball State. The Wildcats’ next home game is Sept. 26 (12 p.m.) against intrastate rival Dartmouth College.