WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- The No. 16/17 University of New Hampshire football team saw its three-game win streak end with Saturday afternoon's 17-0 loss to William & Mary at Zable Stadium.
UNH is now 4-4 overall and 3-2 in the CAA. William & Mary, which improved to 14-3 lifetime against the Wildcats, is now 6-3, 3-2.
Andy Vailas (Bedford, N.H.) completed 17 of 29 passes for 122 yards and one interception; he was UNH's top ground gainer with 19 yards on three carries. Starting quarterback Sean Goldrich (West Haven, Conn.) went 12 of 17 for 106 yards and one interception. Justin Mello (Dartmouth, Mass.) had four catches for a team-high 70 yards. Harold Spears (Perkasie, Pa.) and Jared Allison (Cliffwood, N.J.) shared the team lead for receptions with six; Spears compiled 40 receiving yards and Allison finished with 37.
The defense, which held the Tribe scoreless in the first and fourth quarters, was led by DeVaughn Chollette (Scranton, Pa.) who recorded a career-high 12 tackles. Casey DeAndrade (East Bridgewater, Mass.), who leads the CAA in pass breakups, broke up four passes. Akil Anderson (Morristown, N.J.) recorded two sacks as part of a six-tackle effort.
W&M quarterback Brent Caprio went 14x24 for 241 yards and a six-yard TD pass to Tre McBride. Christian Reeves had four catches for 109 yards. Jarrell Cooper had 18 rushes for 90 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown run.
UNH escaped poor field position each of its first two possessions to advance the ball near midfield before being forced to punt. The Wildcats' defense stopped William & Mary on its opening drive on a Jay Colbert (Langhorne, Pa.) sack on third down, then Anerson's sack ended the Tribe's next possession to keep the game scoreless.
With 2:02 on the clock, the 'Cats had their best starting position to that point at the UNH 23. A defensive pass interference call on 3rd-and-20 extended New Hampshire's drive. On the opening play of the second quarter, Goldrich rumbled into Tribe territory but Jared Velasquez stripped the ball and teammate Mike Reilly recovered the fumble to give the home team the ball at the W&M 35.
On the strength of a 22-yard screen pass from Caprio to Mikal Abdul-Saboor, the Tribe marched 54 yards and took a 3-0 lead on John Carpenter's 28-yard field goal at 10:04.
With Vailas inserted at QB, UNH recorded a pair of first downs to advance the ball to the UNH 47, but the Wildcats were forced to punt on 4th-and-2.
Lamar Edmonds (Worcester, Mass.) nearly had a pick-six when he broke on an out pattern to the right side, but one play later Caprio lofted a pass over the secondary to connect with Christian Reeves for a 61-yard play that set up 1st-and-goal at the UNH 3. Following a holding call against the Tribe, a Jarrell Cooper six-yard run made it 2nd-and-goal at the 7. Steve Cluley, on a quarterback rollout to the right, was stopped by DeAndrade for a loss of two yards. Caprio reentered the game at quarterback and his pass attempt to Jonathan Dunn at the back of the end zone was broken up by DeAndrade. Carpenter's 26-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left to keep the score 3-0 at 4:04 of the second quarter.
UNH, powered by a Dalton Crossan (Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) 18-yard carry, quickly advanced the ball to the W&M 47. Two plays later, however, DeAndre Houston-Carson intercepted Vailas' pass at the W&M 49 and returned it 14 yards to the UNH 37. On 3rd-and-17, Reeves broke through a pair of defenders for a 33-yard pass play. Two plays later, Caprio found McBride for a six-yard TD pass that extended the advantage to 10-0 with 20 seconds left in the half.
William & Mary marched 84 yards on 10 plays to build a 17-0 lead on Cooper's run behind the right guard on 2nd-and-goal at 9:23 of the third quarter.
With Goldrich back in the game as the signal caller for the 'Cats at 6:27, a 39-yard completion to Mello advanced the ball into Tribe territory. On 3rd-an-10 at the W&M 30, Goldrich's pass was intercepted by Ryan Smith.
UNH's defense forced a 3-and-out to give the Wildcats the ball at the UNH 45 at 3:59 of the third quarter. Facing 3rd-and-13 at the W&M 44, Vailas found Chris Setian (East Longmeadow, Mass.) in the flat and he rumbled 14 yards down the right sideline. The 'Cats were flagged for holding on the next play, however, and the drive stalled.
New Hampshire pinned the home team at its 1-yard line and forced a second consecutive 3-and-out to regain possession at the Tribe 49 with 14:10 left in regulation. On 4th-and-3 from the 30, Mello beat his defender down the left sideline but couldn't haul in Vailas' pass to end the drive.
UNH got the ball back with 8:08 on the clock. The Wildcats gained 27 yards on the next six plays to set up 4th-and-5 at the UNH 40. Vailas and Spears connected for a 20-yard pass play to extend the drive and give the 'Cats first down at the W&M 34. UNH faced another fourth down, but this time Vailas was forced out of the pocket and his five-yard rush to the 15 left the Wildcats short by two yards, which gave possession back to the Tribe at 3:57.
The previous time UNH was shut out occurred Sept, 23, 1995 by William & Mary at Cowell Stadium.
New Hampshire returns to action Nov. 9 at home against James Madison University. Opening kickoff for the game, which will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network, is 12:30 p.m. Tickets are available at www.unhwildcats.com or by calling (603) 862-4000.