AMHERST, MASS-- The No. 14 ranked University of New Hampshire football team (6-4 overall, 3-4 CAA) was defeated at No. 8 ranked Massachusetts on Saturday afternoon at McGuirk Stadium, 27-7.
UMass improves to 8-2 on the season and should be a lock for the NCAA FCS playoffs. UNH will play its final regular season game on Nov. 17 in a Senior Day matchup vs. Maine at Cowell Stadium (12 p.m.)
UNH opened the game with a long drive but Senior QB Ricky Santos was intercepted in the endzone to end the drive with a touchback for UMass.Senior linebacker Justin Wright blocked a punt that was recovered by junior defensive back to give UNH 1st and 10 on the UMass 13 yd line, but UNH was unaable to take advantage and punted.
UMass got on the board first at 2:07 of the first quarter on a 51 yard field goal by Chris Koepplin to give the Minutemen a 3-0 advantage.
UMass' Michael Meggett returned an interception 23 yards and that was followed by a 9 yard TD run by Matt Lawrence with 25 seconds to play in the first quarter
and the Minutemen jumped out to a 10-0 lead.
The Wildcats got back in the game on a 1 yd run by sophomore running back Chad Kackert to cut the UMass lead to 10-7 following the PAT by sophomore kicker Tom Manning that capped the 14-play 71 yard drive.
UNH had a chance to tie the game with 05 seconds left before the intermission but a 35-yard field goal attempt by Manning went wide right and UMass held a 10-7 advantage heading into the lockeroom.
UMass opened the second half with a hard-hitting drive that featured Matt Lawrence, who scored his second TD of the day on a 5 yd run at 9:29 of the third quarter. The drive featured 11 plays for 88 yards and the time of possession was 5:31. After the PAT UMass led 17-7.
Liam Coen completed a 21 yd TD pass to Michael Omar to give UMass a 24-7 advantage with 5:17 to go in the third quarter.
UMass'Koeplin capped the scoring on the afternoon with a 29 yd field goal at 6:05 of the fourth quarter to make the final score 27-7.
Looking at the statistics, Santos finished the afternoon with 221 passing yards and no TDs after completing 27 of 40 attempts. Senior wide receiver Keith LeVan made nine catches for 100 yds and the squad's leading rusher was Kackert with nine carries for 30 yards.
Defensively, UNH had four players in double-digit tackles and the Wildcats were led by junior defensive back John Clements and senior free safety Jeff Pammer with 12 tackles apiece. Clements also recovered a blocked punt.
Tickets for UNH's final regular season home game vs. Maine are still available at www.unhwildcats.com. The game will not be shown live on NESN but fans can tune in to the game at www.wildcattv.com.