No. 15 Football Rolls Past Lafayette, 45-7, In FCS First Round Playoff Game
DURHAM, N.H. – Jay Colbert (Langhorne, Pa.) notched three of the 15th-ranked University of New Hampshire football team's season-high 10 sacks and R.J. Harris (Odenton, Md.) recorded eight catches for 173 yards and a touchdown in Saturday afternoon's 45-7 NCAA first-round victory against Lafayette College at Cowell Stadium.
UNH, which won for the seventh time in eight games to improve to 8-4 overall, advances to the second round, where it will meet fifth-seeded and No. 8 Maine (10-2) on Saturday, Dec. 7 (2 p.m., ESPN3) at Alfond Stadium. The Wildcats defeated the Black Bears, 24-3, at home Nov. 23 to retain the Brice-Cowell Musket and hand Maine its only CAA loss of the season.
Sean Goldrich (West Haven, Conn.) went 15-for-30 for a season-high 267 yards and two touchdowns and added four rushes for 31 yards. Harris, who registered his second 100-yard receiving game of the season and 10th of his career, moved into fifth place on the University's all-time receptions list (188).
The Wildcats rushed for 283 yards, led by a game-high and career-best 84 yards on six carries for Dalton Crossan (Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.). The redshirt freshman, who compiled 131 all-purpose yards, scored on a 17-yard reception that staked the Wildcats to a 21-0 lead with 12 seconds left in the first quarter and a 56-yard rush with 8:30 left in the fourth that built the lead to 45-0.
Jimmy Owens (West Deptford, N.J.) carried nine times for 69 yards, while Chris Setian (East Longmeadow, Mass./four rushes-46 yards, TD) and Nico Steriti (Toms River, N.J./11 rushes-46 yards, TD) added rushing TDs.
Shane McNeely (Whitehall, Pa.) shared game-high honors with seven tackles, which included 1.5 sacks. On his full sack, McNeely forced a Drew Reed fumble that was recovered by Sean McCann (Avon Lake, Ohio) at Lafayette's 22. Goldrich hit Harris for a 22-yard scoring strike on the very next play for a 14-0 lead with 6:26 left in the first.
Hayden Knudson (Alexandria, Va.) amassed seven tackles, including 0.5 sacks, and four of Colbert's five tackles went for loss. UNH totaled 14 tackles for loss for a combined 87 yards, which included 75 yards on 10 sacks.
New Hampshire jumped out to a 7-0 lead with 12:28 left in the opening stanza on Steriti's 1-yard run.
Nick Cefalo (Basking Ridge, N.J.) returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown with 11:42 remaining in the second to increase the lead to 28-0. It was New Hampshire's first punt return for a TD since Joey Orlando's 56-yard return at Lehigh on Sept. 10, 2011.
The advantage ballooned to 31-0 lead on the final play of the first half courtesy of a 23-yard field goal from Mike MacArthur (North Hampton, N.H.). MacArthur's 49th career field goal lifted him into a tie for fourth all-time in CAA history (Rob Zarrilli, Hofstra/2005-07).
Setian rumbled for a season-high 28-yard TD run to stake UNH to a commanding 38-0 lead with 35 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Leopards avoided the shutout on a 6-yard pass from Blake Searfross to Mike Duncan (six catches-67 yards, TD) with 4:50 left in the game. That score snapped New Hampshire's streak of seven consecutive shutout quarters and was the first TD against the 'Cats in eight periods.
Reed went 20 of 30 for 206 yards, and Ross Scheuerman paced the Leopards' ground attack with 14 carries for 79 yards.
UNH outscored opponents, 243-97, in going 6-0 at The Dungeon in 2013.
Tickets in the designated visitor's section (UNH) for the Dec. 7 game will be available through the UNH box office. Cost and on-sale date will be announced. For more information, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.