Crossan scores pair of TDs in No. 23 Football's 37-20 Win at Albany

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ALBANY, N.Y. Dalton Crossan (Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) returned a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown and tacked on a 51-yard rushing score in the 23rd-ranked University of New Hampshire football team's 37-20 victory Saturday over the University at Albany at Bob Ford Field.

UNH won for the fifth time in six games to improve to 6-4 overall and 5-2 in the CAA. Albany slipped to 1-10, 0-7 CAA.

Crossan finished with a career-high and game-high 185 all-purpose yards, while Justin Mello (Dartmouth, Mass.) registered a pair of touchdown receptions as part of his six catches for a team-leading 71 yards. Chris Setian (East Longmeadow, Mass.) led the rushing attack with 10 carries for 69 yards.

Shane McNeely (Whitehall, Pa.), who notched an interception at the UNH 2 to snuff out Albany's final drive of the game, amassed 12 tackles to share team-high honors with Akil Anderson (Morristown, N.J). Manny Asam (Bloomfield, N.J.) chipped in with 11 tackles, including 2.5 for loss.

After forcing Albany to punt on its first possession, UNH strung together a 12-play, 66-yard drive that resulted in a 31-yard field goal from Mike MacArthur (North Hampton, N.H.) at 7:19 of the first quarter for a 3-0 lead. The key play of the drive was a 26-yard pass from Sean Goldrich (West Haven, Conn./6-for-18, 114 yards) to R.J. Harris (Odenton, Md./4 catches-85 yards) on 3rd-and-10 from the UNH 46.

Andy Vailas (Bedford, N.H./7-for-14, 87 yards, 2 TDs), who took the reins at QB for the Wildcats on their second possession, orchestrated a seven-play, 54-yard scoring drive that culminated in a 3-yard TD pass to Mello on a quick slant for a 10-0 lead at 3:45 of the first.

New Hampshire bumped its lead to 17-0 with 13:10 to go in the second quarter on a highlight-reel 51-yard TD scamper from Crossan. On his only carry of the game, Crossan ran a counter to the right, cut back sharply left and shook off numerous UAlbany tackle bids while maneuvering downfield for his third rushing touchdown of the season.

The Great Danes got on the board with 4:46 remaining in the second quarter to slice UNH's lead to 17-7. One play after Will Fiacchi (21 of 34, 251 yards) completed a 32-yard pass down the left sideline to Brian Parker (4 catches-71 yards), Albany wide receiver Jake Meek (7 rushes-31 yards, TD) took a direct snap and scampered around the right end for an 8-yard TD.

MacArthur's second field goal, a 33-yarder with six seconds remaining in the second, closed an 11-play, 55-yard drive that gave UNH a 20-7 halftime lead.

Albany clawed back within 20-14 with 4:23 left in the third courtesy of a 10-play, 80-yard scoring march. On 3rd-and-1 from the UNH 20, Meek lined up in the Wildcat formation and gained the edge along the left side for a 19-yard pickup. One play later, Omar Osbourne (28 rushes-109 yards, TD) bulled his way in for the 1-yard TD rush.

Tom O'Riordan kicked a 29-yard field goal with 14:51 left in the fourth to draw Albany within 20-17.

The game's first turnover shifted momentum into UNH's direction. A 48-yard punt from Brad Prasky (Groton, Mass.) grazed the leg of an Albany player. Dougie Moss (Hunntsville, Ala.) alertly pounced on the loose ball at the Danes' 35.

On the subsequent possession, Vailas converted a 4th-and-7 by rushing 8 yards to the 22. Setian carried for 5 yards and again for 15 yards to the 2. Two players later, Vailas called for a quick snap while the Danes were changing personnel; the QB lofted a pass to an open Mello to rebuild New Hampshire's lead to 27-17 at 11:45 of the fourth. Mello paces the CAA with eight TD receptions.

Albany retaliated with O'Riordan's 32-yard field goal with 8:17 left to trim UA's deficit to 27-20.

Thirteen seconds later, Crossan was in the end zone with a 93-yard kickoff return for a TD and a 34-20 lead. It was UNH's first kickoff return for a score since Terrance Fox's 91-yard return against Central Connecticut State on the 2010 season-opening kickoff (Sept. 4, 2010).

MacArthur capped the scoring with his career-high-matching third field goal of the game, a 34-yarder with 2:55 left. With his 47th career field goal, including 11-for-13 this season and 10 in a row dating back to Sept. 14, MacArthur moved into sole possession of seventh place all-time in the CAA.  

UNH will wrap up the regular season Saturday, Nov. 23, at 12 p.m. with its annual Battle for the Brice-Cowell Musket against No. 6 Maine (10-1, 7-0 CAA), which has already clinched the CAA championship. Game time is 12 p.m. at Cowell Stadium, and the game will be televised live on Comcast SportsNet New England. For tickets, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.

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