DURHAM, N.H. - Senior quarterback Ryan Day (Manchester, N.H.) passed for two touchdowns and rushed for a game-high 88 yards to lead the University of New Hampshire to a 26-19 victory against James Madison University in Saturday afternoon's Atlantic 10 conference opener for both teams at Cowell Stadium.
Trailing 26-19 with 6:35 remaining in the game, James Madison (1-1 overall, 0-1 conference) called time out facing 4th-and-2 on the UNH 25-yard line. UNH's defense answered the challenge as Amir Sadaah (Fair Lawn, N.J.) and Czar Wiley (North Bergen, N.J.) stopped running back A.J. Minor (26 carries, 65 yards) at the line of scrimmage.
After JMU forced UNH to a three-and-out, the Wildcat defense once again preserved the seven-point lead. With 2:45 remaining, Brandon Taylor (Eatontown, N.J.) intercepted a Clayton Matthews pass at the UNH 10. The 'Cats then ran out the clock as the Dukes were powerless to stop the clock.
UNH (2-0, 1-0) trailed 12-7 at halftime but took a 15-12 advantage on an 80-yard pass play from Day to Michael Taylor (Allentown, Pa.) and a two-point conversion from Day to Stephan Lewis (Coatesville, Pa.). The strike occurred one play after it appeared as if JMU had stopped the UNH drive, as a bad snap to punter Shawn MacLean (Salem, Mass.) forced him to pull the ball down and run five yards for a first down.
James Madison regained the lead, 19-18 at 11:59 of the fourth quarter when Matthews (8x15, 117 yds) connected with Tahir Hinds on a 19-yard touchdown play and Burke George kicked the point-after-touchdown.
UNH went back in front, 26-19, on a 26-yard pass play from Day to Lewis at 9:14 and a two-point pass play from Day to Dan Burkhardt (Gloucester, N.J.).
The 'Cats took a 7-0 first-quarter lead when Mike Connelly (10x18, 124) made an errant pitch and Jon Oosterhuis (Guelph, Ont.) recovered the ball in the end zone. JMU pulled within 7-6 on a Minor three-yard run. Minor's second rushing touchdown, this time from the NH-1, gave the Dukes a 12-6 lead and the two-point conversion failed.
With his 238 yards passing, Day has moved into second place on UNH's all-time career passing yardage list with 5,468 yards. He passed both Jim Stayer and Matt Griffin during the game vs. James Madison.
New Hampshire returns to action Sept. 15 at Hofstra University. Kickoff is 6 p.m. The next Wildcat home game is Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 6 vs. Delaware. Starting time at Cowell stadium is 12 p.m.