INDIANAPOLIS – For a nation-leading 10th consecutive season, the University of New Hampshire football team has been selected to compete for the NCAA Division I Football Championship. The 15th-ranked Wildcats will play host to Patriot League champion Lafayette College at Cowell Stadium in a first-round game Saturday, Nov. 30 (12 p.m.) on ESPN3.
UNH, which finished the regular season with a mark of 7-4 overall and 6-2 in the CAA, was tabbed as one of 13 at-large qualifiers in the newly expanded 24-team championship field. The Wildcats punched their postseason ticket with a convincing 24-3 defeat of CAA champion and No. 5 seed Maine (10-2, 7-1) on Saturday.
New Hampshire will play a postseason game at Cowell Stadium for the fifth time ever and the first time since 2005, when the Wildcats were the No. 1 team in the country. The 'Cats downed Patriot League champion Colgate (55-21) in the opening round before falling to Northern Iowa (24-21) in a second-round matchup Dec. 3, 2005.
UNH is 6-9 under head coach Sean McDonnell in NCAA playoff games and is 5-1 in first-round contests.
Lafayette (5-6, 4-1 Patriot League) closed the regular season with four wins in its last five games. The Leopards claimed their seventh PL championship and secured the league's automatic NCAA bid following Saturday's 50-28 win at Lehigh. They will make their fourth playoff appearance in school history and the first since three straight NCAA berths from 2004-06.
UNH leads the all-time series, 5-1, though the two schools have not met on the gridiron since the Wildcats' 21-19 home triumph Oct. 24, 1987. All six meetings between the programs occurred in the 1980s, and the Leopards' lone win in the series was a 20-7 decision at Cowell Stadium on Sept. 14, 1985.
The winner of the UNH/Lafayette first-round game will travel to Orono, Maine, to meet the Black Bears on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 2 p.m.
Ticket prices for the UNH/Lafayette NCAA playoff game are $25 for reserved seats, $19 for general admission adult tickets and $11 for UNH students, children (age 5-17) and senior citizens. Tickets will go on sale to the general public Monday, Nov. 25, beginning at 12 p.m. at the Whittemore Center Box Office, online at www.unhwildcats.com or www.ticketmaster.com, and by calling 1-800-745-3000. Tickets may be purchased in advance or on game day.
UNH season ticket holders will be able to purchase their same seats for a limited time before tickets go on sale to the general public.
Gates will open Saturday at 8 a.m. For more information about tickets, visit www.unhwildcats.com.