#18 Football Topples #4 UNH, 23-17, In Homecoming Thriller
Oct. 17, 2009
AMHERST, Mass. - Subbing for the CAA's leading rusher Tony Nelson, UMass sophomore Jonathan Hernandez rushed for a career-high 166 yards including the game-winning 42-yard dash with 5:23 left in regulation to hand the previously unbeaten No. 4 New Hampshire a 23-17 loss on Saturday night at McGuirk Stadium before 13,108 fans on Homecoming. UNH had a chance late, but Kumar Davis intercepted a pass in the end zone on the game's final play to seal the victory. UMass stands at 4-2 overall, 2-1 in the CAA heading into a clash at defending NCAA Champion and top-ranked Richmond, next Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
The win gave the No. 18 Minutemen their seventh win over a Top 5 team in their last 11 games dating to 2002.
Hernandez was named the Bill Knight MVP as the game's top player as he had his second-career 100-yard rushing game.
Eric Dickson led the UMass defense with 18 tackles on the day.
UMass senior receiver Victor Cruz became the ninth player in school history to reach the 100-yard receptions mark with six catches for 83 yards. He also moved to seventh on both the career receptions list with 101 and career receiving yards 1,573.
UNH's J.R. Toman threw for 284 yards on 23-of-45 and two touchdowns to Scott Sicko. The tight end caught 10 passes 145. Reigning CAA Defensive Player of the Week Terrence Klein had two interceptions.
After UMass tooka 23-17 lead on senior Armando Cuko's 41-ayrd field goal with 1:26 left, the Wildcats drove down the field and had one last chance from the Minutemen's 13 yard line with three seconds left, but Davis was able to step in front of Toman's pass in the end zone as the clock expired.
New Hampshire took a 17-10 lead on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Toman to Sicko with 12:48 left in the fourth quarter. That drive was keyed by a Chad Kackert 31-yard reception down the right sideline after Klein intercepted his second pass of the half to start the drive. It was the second Toman-to-Sicko scoring play of the game.
Cuko kicked a 36-yard field goal with 7:15 left in the fourth to bring UMass to within 17-13.
The teams traded interceptions early in the third quarter, first UMass' Michael Hanson had his first-career pick with 11:07 left in the quarter. Just four plays later Klein intercepted a Kyle Havens' pass with 8:10 left in the quarter to give UNH the ball at the Minuteman 40-yard line.
The Wildcats made good on the turnover as Tom Manning kicked a 31-yard field to tie the game at 10-10 with four minutes left in the third quarter.
UMass' offense was able to penetrate UNH's side of the field on its first three possessions of the game, but was unable to score until its fourth chance. Cuko, who leads the NCAA in field goals per game, booted home a 31-yard field goal with 11:42 left in the second quarter. That cut the Wildcats' lead to 7-3.
New Hampshire opened the game's scoring as Toman connected with favorite target Sicko on a 58-yard strike to give UNH a 7-0 lead 6:34 into the game.
The Minutemen continue their gauntlet of a schedule at defending NCAA Champion No. 1 Richmond next Saturday, October 23 at 3:30 p.m.
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