DURHAM, N.H. – Sean Goldrich (West Haven, Conn.) rushed for a 4-yard touchdown with 14 seconds left in the fourth quarter and Chris Setian (East Longmeadow, Mass.) powered his way in for the ensuing 2-point conversion to cap the No. 25/23 University of New Hampshire football team's come-from-behind 29-28 upset victory over No. 12/11 Villanova on Saturday afternoon at Cowell Stadium.
UNH, which improved to 25-2 in its last 27 home games, registered its second straight victory to up its record to 3-3, 2-1 in the CAA. Villanova, which saw its four-game winning streak snapped, fell to 4-3, 3-1.
Jared Allison (Cliffwood, N.J.) led the receiving corps with six receptions for 56 yards – both career highs -- and his first career TD catch, which was an 8-yard reception that ended a 14-play, 99-yard drive with 5:03 left in the fourth to give UNH a 21-14 lead. The PAT was no good.
On the ensuing drive, Villanova quarterback John Robertson, who rushed 27 times for a career-high 256 yards and three touchdowns, knotted the score, 21-21, with a 2-yard keeper on 4th-and goal with 1:55 left.
After Villanova's defense forced a three-and-out, the visitors reclaimed the lead, 28-21, on Robertson's 42-yard touchdown burst with 1:09 remaining. But a 35-yard kickoff return from Dalton Crossan (Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.), combined with a VU personal foul penalty, gave UNH possession at the 50 with 1:02 left.
During the game-winning drive, Allison recovered a fumble on a botched hook-and-ladder play at the 'Nova 46, and then made an 18-yard reception to the 'Nova 28. Goldrich completed back-to-back passes to Setian for 10 and 14 yards to stake the Wildcats to 1st-and-goal at the Villanova 4. Goldrich then faked a jump pass, pulled the ball down and fought his way into the end zone to draw New Hampshire within 28-27. Setian completed the victory with the conversion rush.
Shane McNeely (Whitehall, Pa.) posted a team-leading eight tackles, including five solo stops and a half-sack. Cody Muller (Telford, Pa.) racked up seven tackles –all solo—and snuffed out Villanova's last-gasp drive by sacking Robertson, which forced a fumble at the 'Nova 28 on the game's final play. Matt Kaplan (Franklin, N.H.) amassed a pair of sacks.
Villanova jumped out to a 7-0 lead courtesy of a 5-yard touchdown run from Kevin Monangai (12 carries-30 yards, TD) with 1:52 to go in the first quarter.
Crossan (five rushes-41 yards, TD) responded with a 17-yard TD run, but the PAT was blocked by Rakim Cox (six tackles, two sacks, blocked kick), allowing VU to hold a 7-6 lead with 13:28 to go in the first half.
Robertston's first scoring run, a 14-yard carry, built Villanova's lead to 14-6 with 8:34 left in the second quarter.
With 8:13 left in the third, Goldrich called his own number for a 6-yard TD to draw New Hampshire within 14-12 after the failed 2-point try.
The 'Cats took their first lead, 15-14 when Mike MacArthur (North Hampton, N.H.) kicked a 23-yard field goal with 13 seconds left in the third. MacArthur's 41st career field goal lifted him to UNH's all-time lead in that department and moved him into a tie for 10th place on the CAA all-time list.
The Wildcats travel to Stony Brook (3-3, 1-2) for a CAA matchup against the Seawolves on Saturday, Oct. 26, at 4 p.m.
New Hampshire's next home game is against No. 20/19 James Madison (5-2, 2-1) on Saturday, Nov. 9 (12:30 p.m.). The game will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network. For tickets visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.