WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - Kevin Decker set career highs in passes, attempts and yards, but the sixth-ranked University of New Hampshire football team saw its four-game winning streak snapped with a 24-10 setback against No. 16/15 William & Mary at Zable Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Tribe improved to 4-3 overall, 2-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association, by posting its ninth straight win over the Wildcats, who fell to 4-2, 2-1 in the CAA.
Decker went 34 of 50 for 422 yards and a touchdown but was sacked six times, including five by Marcus Hyde, and intercepted twice by an opportunistic Tribe defense that forced four turnovers.
New Hampshire outgained William & Mary, 517 yards to 429 yards.
Jonathan Grimes compiled 323 all-purpose yards in the winning cause for the Tribe and, in the process, set the William & Mary all-time rushing record. Grimes carried 28 times for 169 yards and accumulated a career-high 126 receiving yards on three receptions –two of them for touchdowns.
Following a scoreless opening stanza, UNH grabbed a 3-0 lead on a 37-yard field goal from Mike MacArthur (North Hampton, N.H.), his longest of the season, with 2:30 left in the first half. That capped an 11-play, 60-yard drive.
The lead was short-lived, as on the second play of the next drive, quarterback Brent Caprio (7-for-11, 167 yards, 2 TD, INT) dumped off to Grimes, who shed a few tackles and then raced for a 72-yard touchdown, putting the Tribe in front, 7-3, with 1:35 left before the intermission.
Moving into their hurry-up offense, the Wildcats responded immediately by marching 90 yards on eight plays in just 1:27, reclaiming the lead, 10-7, with eight seconds left in the half when R.J. Harris (Odenton, Md./2 catches-23 yards, TD) out-leaped a defender in the left corner of the end zone for a 15-yard scoring reception from Decker.
Grimes struck again on the Tribe's opening possession of the second half, collecting a pass from Caprio and dashing 50 yards for the go-ahead score with 8:57 left in the third quarter, staking the home team to a 14-10 advantage.
William & Mary's third home-run scoring play came on running back Keith McBride's career-high 50-yard scoring rush with 12:42 left in the game, building the lead to 21-10. McBride finished the afternoon with nine rushes for 68 yards.
Drake Kuhn's 45-yard field goal with 6:06 remaining represented the game's final points.
The teams exchanged turnovers on their respective first possessions. The Tribe's opening drive was halted when Alan Buzbee (Chester, N.J./three tackles) intercepted Caprio's pass at the UNH 11, returning it 15 yards to the 25. William & Mary returned the favor, forcing a turnover at its own 27 when Jabrel Mines ripped the ball away from Dontra Peters (Annapolis, Md./seven carries-three yards/two catches-13 yards) following a pass reception.
The Wildcats had another opportunity to strike first go by the boards when MacArthur's 27-yard field goal try went wide left with 1:24 remaining in the first quarter. It was his first missed field goal (eighth attempt) this season.
New Hampshire threatened on its next possession, advancing to the Tribe 22 before Decker was sacked on 4th-and-3. However, William & Mary's subsequent drive was squashed courtesy of a fumble by Caprio that was recovered by true freshman Shane McNeely (Whitehall, Pa./two tackles) at the Wildcats' 37 midway through the second quarter.
Next Saturday, Oct. 22, UNH takes on Massachusetts in the Colonial Clash at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots. Opening kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m., and the game will be telecast live on Comcast SportsNew England. For tickets and more information, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.