By GREG LAUDANI
The UNH football team needed a fast start on Saturday night at Colgate University after a potentially demoralizing loss at San Jose State in the season opener.
And that’s exactly what UNH did.
The Wildcats controlled the game right from the get-go against Colgate, earning a convincing 26-8 road victory for their first win of the season. UNH improved its record to 1-1 in 2015.
“It felt great to get that first win,” UNH quarterback Sean Goldrich said. “This win was good for us because it was the next one [after opener loss] and we needed this to get our confidence going. I think overall we played great and this game got us going.”
UNH seized a 20-0 lead with 1:13 to play in the second quarter after quarterback Sean Goldrich connected with receiver Jared Allison on a 12-yard touchdown pass. The score, which came right before halftime, solidified the Wildcats’ lead and provided the team with the confidence they lacked after losing its first game.
“We needed this as a boost to get us going,” Goldrich said. “We were moving the ball really well out there and there was a lot of great energy around our team.”
Goldrich completed 17 of 23 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown. He did not play in the fourth quarter after tweaking his ankle late in the third. But Goldrich said he does not believe the injury will keep him out of next weekend’s matchup with Stony Brook University. Chris McCormick filled in for Goldrich and completed four of 10 passes for 27 yards and threw an interception.
Colgate did not score until early in the fourth quarter when quarterback Jake Melville completed a 13-yard touchdown pass to Alex Greenawalt to cut UNH’s lead to 23-8.
The Wildcats’ defense held the Raiders scoreless for the rest of the game. Christian Breda later booted a 35-yard field goal with 2:04 remaining to seal the 26-8 win. Breda also hit a 44-yarder in the third quarter that boosted the Wildcats’ lead to 23-0.
Last week against San Jose State, UNH gained 139 rushing yards and just 60 total passing yards. But UNH stepped up its running game in a big way against Colgate, thrashing the Raiders with 218 yards on the ground. The Wildcats also gained 193 yards through the air Saturday night with an improved passing attack.
Dalton Crossan and Trevon Bryant steered the Wildcats’ rushing attack against Colgate.
Crossan gained a team-high 96 rushing yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. His 4-yard touchdown run with 4:55 left in the second quarter extended UNH’s lead to 14-0.
“Dalton [Crossan] is a force every time he’s out there,” Goldrich said. “He’s always capable of making a big play whenever he touches the ball.”
Bryant dashed for 70 yards and a touchdown on just 10 attempts, averaging a whopping seven yards per carry. The sophomore opened the scoring for UNH with his one-yard touchdown in the first quarter to give his team a 7-0 advantage.
Goldrich spoke following the win about Bryant’s ability to change the game with his speed and quickness.
“Trevon [Bryant] is another guy who we always have confidence giving the ball to,” Goldrich said. “He’s very explosive.”
The Wildcats stepped things up on defense as well. A week after allowing the San Jose Spartans to gain 707 yards of total offense, the ‘Cats defensive unit held a shutout for three full quarters. Colgate managed 336 total yards of offense—195 in the air and 141 on the ground.
Daniel Rowe and DeVaughn Chollete spearheaded the effort, with eight tackles each. Rowe also forced a fumble for the ‘Cats. Cornerback Casey DeAndrade logged three tackles and four pass breakups, three of which came consecutively, with the Raiders in Wildcat territory in the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats next head to Stony Brook on Saturday, Sept. 19 to take on their Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) rivals. UNH looks to start its conference record at 1-0 before returning to Durham for its home opener on Sept. 26 when it faces Central Connecticut State University.