TOWSON, MD.— The No. 6 University of New Hampshire football team jumped out to a 30-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back on its way to a 57-7 Colonial Athletic Association victory at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium Saturday afternoon in front of an attendance of 8,026.
Leading the squad was sophomore quarterback Kevin Decker (Armonk, N.Y.) who earned the first start of his career after replacing junior R.J. Toman (Mission Viejo, Calif.) who missed the game due to a “turf toe” injury. Decker finished the day with two touchdown passes and he ran for another, while also completing 11 of 19 pass attempts for 104 yards.
The UNH defense also got the job done for the Wildcats, creating eight turnovers, six of them interceptions. Two of the pickoffs were returned for touchdowns by Wildcat defenders.
The Wildcats improved to 4-0 overall on the season and are now 1-0 in the CAA, while the Tigers fall to 1-4 overall and 0-2 in the CAA.
UNH’s first posession started on the Towson 20 yard line after a blocked punt by sophomore Kyle Flemings (Forty Fort, Pa.). Five plays, 1:35 later senior running back Chad Kackert (Simi Valley, Calif.) put the Wildcats on the scoreboard with a 7 yard run giving UNH the early 7-0 lead with 11:06 to play in the first quarter.
On Towson’s next drive, junior safety Hugo Souza (Marshfield, Mass.) intercepted a pass on the Towson 32 yard line, Four plays later, Decker completed an 8 yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Scott Sicko (Stillwater, N.Y.) with 8:53 remaining in the first quarter and the Wildcats led by a 14-0 margin.
UNH recorded a safety following a Towson high snap. Tiger kicker Bill Shears kicked the football out of the end zone illegally resulting in the safety and UNH led 16-0 with 7:42 left in the first quarter.
On the next kickoff, junior Sean Jellison (Amherst, N.H.) returned the ball 81 yards for a touchdown to make it 23-0 in favor of UNH with 7:28 remaining in the first quarter. It was the first kick return for a touchdown in Jellison’s UNH career.
On the next drive for Towson, junior defensive back Dino Vasso (Crum Lynne, Pa.) intercepted a pass and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown to give UNH a 30-0 advantage with 7:16 remaining in the opening stanza. It was the second interception for a touchdown this season for Vasso, who also returned a pick 34 yards for paydirt vs. Dartmouth on Sept. 26.
The 30 points scored by UNH in the first quarter was short of the all-time mark of 35 points scored by the Wildcats in 1975 in the second quarter vs. Northeastern. The ‘Cats went on to defeat the Huskies, 56-7.
Towson got on the board at 12:35 of the second quarter when quarterback Peter Athens completed a 24 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Alex Blake and the Tigers closed the gap to 30-7.
Decker completed an 8 play 51 yard drive with a 1 yard touchdown run at 9:17 of the second period and the Wildcats took a commanding 37-7 advantage. The drive took 3:11 off the clock.
Junior defensive end Lance Mailloux (Bedford, N.H.) knocked the ball loose on a Towson pass and senior defensive end Dan Ruhl (Sanibel Island, Fla.) fell on the football to set up a 27 yard field goal by senior kicker Tom Manning (Rome, N.Y.) with 0:00 remaining to send the Wildcats to the lockerrom with a commanding 40-7 lead.
In the first half alone, UNH outgained Towson (162 yards to 103) and the defense recorded four interceptions and one fumble recovery for five turnovers.
Towson blocked a UNH punt and took over on the UNH 8 yard line. However, sophomore safety Ryan McGuinness (Howell, N.J.) picked off a pass on the left sideline and returned the football 96 yards giving the Wildcats a 47-7 lead with 12:47 remaining in the third quarter. It was the second interception returned for a touchdown in the contest for UNH and his first career interception return for a touchdown.
Decker threw his second touchdown pass of the game with 7:06 to play in the third quarter after 4 yard toss to sophomore tight end Chris Jeannot (Moon Township, Pa.) in the back of the end zone to push the UNH lead to 54-7.
Senior kicker Tom Manning (Rome, N.Y.) kicked his second field goal of the day, a 24-yarder with 58 seconds to play in the third quarter and UNH led 57-7, the final score.
The running game was led by redshirt freshman Dontra Peters (Annapolis, Md.) who had 13 carries for 50 yards. Looking at the receivers, UNH was led Sicko with three catches for 25 yards and a touchdown. In addition senior wide receiver J.T. Wright (Agoura Hills, Calif.) made two catches for 61 yards.
On the defensive side of the football, junior linebacker Devon Jackson (Williamstown, N.J.) led the squad with 10 tackles (7-3-10).
Up next for the
Wildcats is a Homecoming matchup vs. No. 2 Villanova on Sat., Oct.
10. Game time is at 12 p.m. at Cowell Stadium and tickets are still
available online at www.unhwildcats.com.