Quick Hole Too Much As UMass Falls To UNH, 52-21
Nov. 15, 2008
DURHAM, N.H. - UMass fell behind early and couldn't dig itself out of a 31-0 hole, as the New Hampshire Wildcats cruised to a 52-21 win on Saturday afternoon, all but ending the Minutemen's (6-5, 3-4 CAA) postseason hopes. After the Wildcats (8-2, 5-2 CAA) scored the game's first 31 points, UMass played even the rest of the way (21-to-21), but could never build momentum. Tony Nelson had a monster day on the ground with 154 yards on 24 carries. The Minutemen head home to face Hofstra in the regular season finale next Saturday at 2:30 p.m., a game scheduled to air on CN8.
Nelson's 154 yards were only 21 yards shy of his career-high of 175 set earlier this season at Northeastern. He also surpassed the 1,000 yard mark for the season, giving UMass seven-consecutive seasons of 1,000 yard rushers.
Quarterback Liam Coen struggled for the second-consecutive week, finishing 22-for-41 for 211 yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions.
Victor Cruz led the way on the receiving end with 80 yards on nine catches. In the process, he also went over 1,000 yards on the season. Four other receivers had 30 yards or more through the air: Jeremy Horne (35) and Joe Sanford, Julian Talley, and Ian Jorgenson (all with 30).
Total yards were 621-377 in favor of the Wildcats, as were passing (295-211) and rushing (328-166).
UNH's Chris Jeannot's 15-yard touchdown reception closed out the game's scoring midway through the fourth quarter.
UMass scored its second-straight touchdown to pull within 45-21 when Nelson scampered in from three yards out with 10:38 remaining in the fourth.
The Minutemen used a seven-play, 72-yard drive late in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 45-14. The key plays came on consecutive runs by Nelson (35 yards) and Chris Zardas (16 yards) to set UMass up deep in Wildcat territory. The touchdown came from inside the one yard line when Coen play-faked and found Silver wide open.
The Wildcats struck first in the second half when Mike Boyle's 20-yard touchdown reception made it 45-7.
The Minutemen took advantage of a Terrance Farris blocked punt to get on the scoreboard and make it 31-7 with 9:20 remaining in the second quarter. UMass was set up at New Hampshire's 11 yard line and converted in three plays, finished off with Zardas' fifth touchdown of the season (fourth rushing) from one yard out.
UNH handed the Minutemen a devastating blow with 56 seconds remaining in the second quarter, as on a 3rd-and-7, quarterback R.J. Toman found Jeannot for a 77-yard touchdown and a 38-7 lead heading into halftime.
Chad Kackert picked up his second touchdown of the game (first receiving) when Toman rolled to his left then found him towards the right side of the endzone for the 30 yard pass-and-catch to make it 31-0 with 13:10 to go in the second quarter.
The Wildcats came out strong with scores on all four first quarter possessions. It all started with the first drive of the game that culminated with a Tom Bishop 46-yard field goal for the 3-0 lead less than two minutes into the contest.
New Hampshire then took advantage of two-consecutive interceptions, turning them into a pair of touchdowns for the 17-0 advantage. After a nine-play, 55-yard drive, it looked like the Minutemen would take a 7-3 lead, but Coen's pass was deflected then intercepted by Parent, who returned it 100 yards among a sea of blockers to make it 10-0 with 9:30 remaining in the first.
After Coen was picked off on the next drive, Toman ran the first play up the middle for the 43-yard touchdown run.
UNH mounted its second-consecutive one-play scoring drive when Kackert took a pitch from Toman and found the endzone from 48 yards out to make it 24-0 with 2:43 remaining in the first.
UMass returns home next Saturday at 2:30 p.m. for a tilt with Hofstra.