DURHAM, N.H. - Stephan Lewis (Coatesville, Pa.) compiled 260 all-purpose yards and scored three touchdowns to propel the University of New Hampshire football team to Saturday afternoon's 31-14 Atlantic 10 victory against 12th-rankeed University of Massachusetts at Cowell Stadium.
Lewis, who won the Bill Knight Trophy that is bestowed to annually to the MVP of the UNH-UMass game, rushed for 186 yards and two touchdowns on 47 carries, caught five passes - including one for a touchdown - for 50 yards and returned a kickoff for 24 yards. The only other player to win the Trophy three straight years is former UNH running back Jerry Azumah, who is currently a starting defensive back on the NFL's Chicago Bears.
UNH (3-6 overall, 2-5 Atlantic 10) outscored the visitors 24-0 in the second quarter to take a 31-7 lead into halftime. A three-yard touchdown run by Lewis put the Wildcats back in front, 14-7, at 13:28 of the quarter. An interception by UNH's E.J. DeWitt (Newport, R.I.) on the ensuing UMass possession led to a five-yard scoring play from Mike Granieri (Linwood, N.J.) to Carl Betz (Chatham, N.J.) at 9:44 that gave UNH a 21-7 advantage. Connor McCormick (Forty Fort, Pa.) connected on a 23-yard field goal attempt at 1:39, then a George Yasso (Bethlehem, Pa.) interception led to a 32-yard touchdown pass from Granieri to Lewis with 38 seconds remaining in the half.
The Minutemen (7-3, 5-2) trimmed the deficit to 31-14 on a seven-yard pass play from Tim Day (16-for-35, 166 yards, TD) to R.J. Cobb (15 carries, 64 yards) at 4:46 of the third quarter.
UNH's defense, which generated five turnovers, made a key stop with 9:27 remaining in the game. With UMass facing 4th-and-10 at the UNH 24, Giovanni Benson (Hyde Park, Mass.) intercepted Day's pass intended for Adrian Zullo at the eight yard line.
Lewis opened the game's scoring at 7:34 of the first quarter on a one-yard run. The Minutemen tied the game on a 96-yard interception return by Anton McKenzie with 2:51 remaining in the opening quarter.
Granieri finished the game 16-for-27 with 147 passing yards and two touchdowns.
UNH's ball-control offense, which featured 65 rushes for 258 yards, led to a sizable time-of-possession advantage of 41:02 to 18:58 in favor of the 'Cats.
New Hampshire returns to action Nov. 16 for its final home game of the season. Game time vs. Northeastern is noon.