MOUNT PLEASANT, MICH. — Thanks in large part to Mike Granieri’s (Linwood, N.J.) 287 yards of total offense —75 rushing and 212 passing — the University of New Hampshire football team came within a touchdown and a two-point conversion of defeating Division I-A Central Michigan.
The Wildcats trailed by 14 points with under two minutes to play before Granieri connected with David Bailey (Bronx, N.Y.) for a 48-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to seven. UNH then recovered the ensuing onside kick and drove to the Chippewas’ 24 before time expired as Central Michigan held off the ’Cats for a 40-33 victory on Saturday.
Jerry Seymour led the CMU rushing attack with 166 yards on 27 carries, scoring three touchdowns . Overall, the Chippewas rushed for 352 yards on the day.
Terrence Jackson added 79 yards on the ground for the CMU with one touchdown while Granieri led the Wildcats with a career-high 75 yards rushing and one touchdown. Bailey also had a career-high day with 101 yards receiving on seven catches.
UNH (1-1) led 23-19 at halftime, but were outscored by the Chippewas (1-1) 21-10 in the second half. Seymour had only 27 yards at halftime before adding 139 in the second half.
Central Michigan took a 16-7 lead in the first quarter when Seymour scored from 13 yards out on his first carry of the game.
The Wildcats cut the score to 16-14 on a 3-yard run by Granieri and took a 17-16 lead on a 42-yard field goal by Connor McCormick (Forty Fort, Pa.).
Central Michigan regained the lead with 1:49 left in the first half on Mike Gruzwalski’s 42-yard field goal, but the Wildcats scored with 12 seconds remaining on a pass from Granieri to Sean Lynch (Salem, N.H.).
The Chippewas took the lead for good with 6:40 left in the third quarter on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Perry to Tory Humphrey. Seymour scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter on runs of 1 and 2 yards.
Perry finished with 172 yards on 19-of-28 passing with one touchdown, while Granieri was 25-of-43 for 212 yards, one interception and two TD passes.
Aaron Brown (Central Square, N.Y) had five catches for 48 yards and John McCoy (Groton, Conn.) had six catches for 39 yards. McCoy also gained 38 rushing yards on 14 carries.
Josh Polgar (Rutland, Vt.) averaged 49 yards a punt, including a long of 62. Aaron Thomas (Lansdale, Pa.) finished with 20 tackles, 10 solo.
The Wildcats return to action Saturday, Sept. 13 when they play hosts to the Villanova University at Cowell Stadium for a noon time kick-off.