ORONO, Maine- Sean Goldrich (West Haven, Conn.) threw for 283 yards and four touchdowns to lead the No. 12/14 University of New Hampshire football team to Saturday afternoon's come-from-behind 28-21 victory over Maine at Alfond Stadium in the 100th all-time meeting between the CAA rivals.
UNH (6-2, 4-1 CAA) registered its fourth straight victory to retain possession of the Brice-Cowell Musket, which goes to the winner of the annual gridiron battle.
Goldrich, who was making his first start since suffering an injured shoulder at Minnesota on Sept. 8, went 18 of 39 and rushed eight times for 13 yards with a team-long 12-yard rush.
Chris Setian (East Longmeadow, Mass.) carried a team-leading 17 times for 76 yards, including six straight carries for 24 yards as the Wildcats ran out the clock to preserve their ninth win in the last 10 meetings with Maine (2-5, 1-3).
UNH scored 28 unanswered points after falling behind, 14-0, in the first half. Alan Buzbee (Chester, N.J.) and Steven Thames (Fort Washington, Md.) each recorded an interception that led to a touchdown.
The Black Bears scored the only points of the opening quarter on Justin Perillo's 15-yard touchdown catch. Perillo (seven catches-68 yards, two TDs) hauled in Marcus Wasilewski's pass with 5:20 left for a 7-0 lead.
Perillo tallied his second TD of the contest with 10:57 left in the second quarter when he took a screen pass from Wasilewski (23-for-44, two INTs, 254 yards, three TDs) in the left flat, broke a tackle and registered a 16-yard score for a 14-0 Black Bears' lead.
The Wildcats got on the scoreboard with 9:09 remaining in the first half when an open Spears caught Goldrich's pass along the left hash marks and outran the Black Bears defense 79 yards for UNH's longest play of the season and a 14-6 deficit following the failed PAT.
New Hampshire compiled a 12-play, 81-yard drive on its game-tying drive. Harris, who had a potential 33-yard TD reception negated by a holding penalty, found his way to the end zone two plays later on a 22-yard pass from Goldrich. The Wildcats successfully added the two-point conversion on a Goldrich-to-Setian pass to square the score, 14-14, with 57 seconds left in the second.
The Wildcats would strike for the go-ahead touchdown just 38 seconds later when Buzbee picked off Wasilewski's first-down pass and rumbled 46 yards to the Maine 1. After an incompletion and a fumble, the 'Cats regrouped with Goldrich hitting Setian (three catches-21 yards, TD) for a five-yard TD and a 21-14 lead at halftime.
UNH's second interception of the game set up the only touchdown of the third quarter. Thames collected a tipped ball and dashed 17 yards to the Black Bear 18. Wasilewski's pass, intended for Arthur Williams, was broken up by Tim Pike (Bedford, Mass./two tackles), leading to Thames' second INT of the season and a red-zone opportunity that New Hampshire would cash in on Goldrich's fourth TD pass of the day –and second to Spears- a six-yard hookup with 2:44 left in the third for a 28-14 lead.
Maine snapped the 28-point UNH run with 14:22 left in the fourth quarter when Williams (three catches-46 yards, TD) was on the receiving end of a 23-yard slant TD pass from Wasliewski that trimmed the Bears' deficit to 28-21.
New Hampshire's bid to up its seven-point lead went by the boards when a 39-yard field-goal attempt by Mike MacArthur (North Hampton, N.H.) was blocked by Kendall James with 3:21 remaining.
UNH will take on Rhode Island at Meade Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 12 p.m. The Wildcats' next home game is slated for Saturday, Nov. 3, against William & Mary at Cowell Stadium (12 p.m.). For more information, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.