NO. 5 FOOTBALL REMAINS UNDEFEATED AT 5-0 AFTER UPSETTING NO. 2 VILLANOVA, 28-24
N.H.— The undefeated and No. 5 ranked University of
New Hampshire football team used a pair of fourth quarter field
goals by senior kicker Tom Manning (Rome, N.Y.)
and a key interception by senior linebacker Terrence
Klein (Westwood, N.J) to upset No. 2 Ranked Villanova on
Saturday afternoon in front of 14,811 fans at Cowell Stadium.
Villanova, now 5-1, 2-1 CAA, held a 24-22 lead with 10:58 to go in the third quarter after a 58 yard TD run by Matt Szcur. However, UNH (5-0, 2-0 CAA) responded at 11:49 of the fourth quarter when Manning booted a key, game-winning, 35 yard field goal with 11:49 to play in the contest that gave UNH a 25-24 lead.
However Villanova threatened to come back for the win several times and began a late drive deep in their own territory to try and steal the win, but quarterback Chris Whitney was intercepted by Klein after a tipped pass by junior safety Hugo Souza (Marshfield, Mass.) that gave UNH the football. UNH was unable to score a touchdown, but Manning struck again, this time with a 22 yard field goal that gave UNH a 28-24 lead with 4:11 to play Villanova’s final drive failed to result in a score and UNH celebrated a key CAA victory.
One of the key performers of the game for UNH was senior receiver Scott Sicko (Stillwater, N.Y.), who made three catches for 135 yards, one for a touchdown and two of the catches sparked other UNH scores. Junior quarterback R.J. Toman (Mission Viejo, Calif.) engineered several impressive scoring drives and completed 15 of 28 passes for 292 yards and one touchdown as he returned from a turf toe injury and started for the first time since Sept. 26 when he was injured vs. Dartmouth.
After the UNH defense stopped Villanova on its opening drive forcing a punt, UNH drove down the field in 7 plays for 61 yards capped off by a 12-yard run by senior running back Chad Kackert (Simi Valley, Calif.) at 10:45 of the first quarter to give the Wildcats the early 7-0 advantage.
The UNH defense was up to the task and stopped another Villanova drive on fourth down at the UINH 24 yard line. UNH then put together an 8 play 67 yard drive and capped it off with a 27 yard field goal Manning, his first of three on the afternoon,.giving the home team a 10-0 advantage over the other Wildcats with 5:24 to play in the first quarter..
Villanova got on the scoreboard with 2:19 remaining in the first quarter following an impressive 18 yard TD run by quarterback Antwon Young. The rush capped off a 7 play 52 yard drive that cut the UNH lead to 10-7.
After a long return by Kackert that put the football on the Villanova 32 yard line, junior quarterback R.J. Toman made a pretty pass up the middle to a reaching Sicko and UNH was back up by 10 with 2:06 left in the first quarter, 16-7, after a missed PAT by Manning.
Toman engineered another drive that took the ball to the Villanova 1 yard line where he dove in for six points at 12:35 of the second quarter to give UNH a 22-7 advantage. The drive was 10 plays, 68 yards and used 2:54. UNH attempted a two-point conversion pass that went incomplete in the back of the end zone.
Villanova scored again at 10:12 of the second quarter on a 26 yard TD pass from junior Chris Whitney to wide receiver Matt Szczur that cut the UNH lead to 22-14 after the made PAT.
Villanova’s Nick Yako then booted a 49 yard field goal with no time left before the half to pull the visitors to within five points (22-17) at the intermission
Leading the UNH defense were three players with 10 tackles apiece including sophomore safety Ryan McGuinness (Howell, N.J.), senior linebacker Sean Ware (Bristol, Conn.) and junior linebacker Devon Jackson (Williamstown, N.J.). As a team, UNH recorded five sacks for a loss of 35 yards by five different players and had the one key interception by Klein. UNH outgained Villanova for the day with 368 yards to 352.
The Wildcats return to action next week when they travel to play CAA North Division rival Massachusetts. Game time is 3:30 p.m. The UNH football team will play their next home contest on Sat., Oct. 31 vs. Northeastern. Game time is 12 p.m. at Cowell Stadium and tickets are still available at www.unhwildcats.com.