Football

 
Hatchell Star As No. 3 UMass Holds Off No. 9 New Hampshire, 28-20

Eric Dickson

Eric Dickson

Nov. 4, 2006

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DURHAM, N.H. - No. 3 UMass won its seventh game in a row holding on for a 28-20 victory at No. 9 New Hampshire before a sold-out Cowell Stadium crowd and national-TV audience on CSTV. The Minutemen all but locked up a berth in the Division I-AA Playoffs with their eighth win of the season as UMass moved to 8-1 overall, 6- 0 in the A-10. New Hampshire fell to 6-3, 3-3 in the league as they have lost three of their last four games after being No. 1 for most of the year. The last time UMass won at least seven games in a row was 2003 - the year of their last playoff appearance.

UNH rallied from a 28-3 defecit in the third quarter to cut the lead to 28-20 and had a chance to get even closer and possibly tie the game in the final seconds, but UMass' defense rose to the challenge to save the game.

New Hampshire took over possession in the fourth quarter with 3:40 to play and trailing by eight points. The Wildcats drove down to the UMass 3-yard line where they called timeout with 23 seconds remaining.

After setting up their offense, Santos lined-up in a shotgun formation and rolled to his left. Santos lost ground back to the 13-yard line before trying to pitch the ball on a busted play. John Hatchell, as he did all game, came up huge forcing a fumble on the lateral that the Minutemen recovered. Despite having two remaining timeouts, UNH allowed the final seconds to roll of the clock on the change of possession.

Senior Payton Award Candidate Steve Baylark ran for 89 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Liam Coen threw for 193 yards on 11-of-15 and two touchdowns. Senior receiver Brandon London moved to third on UMass' career catches and receiving yards charts with four catches for 89 yards. London now has 125 career catches and 1,725 yards.

The defense and special teams were on top of their games most of the afternoon. UMass had four sacks and seven tackles for minus yardage. Junior linebacker Jason Hatchell led the team in tackles for the 15th time in 20 games with a career-high 18 stops. Senior linebacker Brad Anderson made 15 tackles, including 10 in the first half. Brandon Freeman and Michael Meggett made a major impact in the secondary and on special teams combining for 10 tackles.

The Minutemen held at 28-3 lead with 8:49 left in the third quarter before the Wildcats started to mount a comeback.

UNH cut the UMass lead to 28-20 on a pair of TD passes from Ricky Santos to David Ball. The duo hooked up from six yards out on 4th-and-2 with 6:48 left in the fourth quarter. That drive was kept alive as UMass was called for a running into the kicker penalty when UNH was punting from deep in their end zone.

The Wildcats scored their first TD of the game on a Santos-to-Ball 33-yard hook-up with 6:50 left in the third quarter making it 28-10.

Baylark plunged in from 1-yard out to make it 28-3 with 8:49 left in the third quarter. It was Baylark's second score of the game giving him 12 career two- touchdown games. UMass is now 11-1 in those games.

Baylark busted up the middle for a 38-yard TD run with 3:09 left in the first half to make it 21-3. It was his 41st career touchdown, 36th rushing - which is now third all-time at UMass.

UNH got on the board as Tom Manning made a 27-yard field goal with 4:47 left in the second quarter making it 14-3.

UMass took a 14-0 lead as Coen escaped numerous UNH defenders and lofted a 15- yard TD pass to J.J. Moore with 10:05 left in the second quarter. That TD pass tied Tim Day - a New Hampshire native - for fifth on the UMass' career TD passing list with 27.

Tim Washington blocked UNH punter Matt Henry's punt with 10:33 left in the second quarter. The ball was recovered by sophomore George Byrd at the 17-yard line.

UMass opened the scoring as Coen hit the 6-foot-5-inch Rasheed Rancher in the left corner of the end zone from eight yards out with 2:18 left in the first quarter. The drive was keyed by a 29-yard pass play from Coen to tight end Brad Listorti.

The Minutemen thwarted UNH's first two drives. The second ended with a busted fake punt as UMass sophomore Wilner Alexis and junior David Burris combined to sack Matt Henry for a 13-yard loss as the UNH punter was attempting to pass.

New Hampshire took over possession in the fourth quarter with 3:40 to play and trailing by eight points. The Wildcats drove down to the UMass 3-yard line where they called timeout with 23 seconds remaining.

After setting up their offense, Santos lined-up in a shotgun formation and rolled to his left. Santos lost ground back to the 13-yard line before trying to pitch the ball on a busted play. Jason Hatchell, as he did all game, came up huge forcing a fumble on the lateral that the Minutemen recovered. Despite having two remaining timeouts, UNH allowed the final seconds to roll of the clock on the change of possession.

NOTES * UMass has its first seven-game win streak since an eight-game run in 2003. With eight wins this season, the Minutemen have their most in a season since 2003, when they went 10-3.

* UMass had a season-best four sacks including a career-best 1.5 from David Burris.

* Steve Baylark now has 42 career touchdowns (fourth at UMass) and moved to third in career rushing TDs with 37. He passed Garry Pearson (35). Baylark is also fourth in total TDs and fourth in career points with 254.

* Baylark now has at least one touchdown in 13 of UMass' last 15 games. Over those 15 games, he has 22 TDs.

* Brandon London moved to third all-time at UMass in career catches with X. He moved past Jason Peebler (123) and now has 122+TODAY. He also moved to third on the career receiving yardage list with XX in the game, giving him 1636+TODAY for his career. He passed Chip Mitchell (1680).

* James Ihedigbo had his fourth sack of the season on a third-down blitz midway through the second quarter. He has 11.5 sacks in his last 20 games.

* Liam Coen tied Tim Day for fifth on UMass' career TD list with his pass to J.J. Moore in the second quarter with 27 TD passes.

* J.J. Moore had his ninth career TD reception in the second quarter.

* Rasheed Rancher had his sixth career TD and third this season to open the scoring for UMass on an 8-yard pass from Liam Coen.

* Wilner Alexis and David Burris combined to sack UNH punter Matt Henry for a loss of 13 yards as the Wildcats attempted a fake punt on 4th-and-3 midway through the first quarter.

 

 

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