Wildcat gameday

No. 22 UNH vs. Dartmouth

Saturday at 7 p.m.; Memorial Field in Hanover, N.H.

UNH is 1-1; Dartmouth is 0-0

UNH passing game:

Trevor Knight

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UNH secondary

Casey DeAndradedeandrade-cutout

Keys to the game:

With senior wide receiver Kyon Taylor potentially out for the season with a torn ACL in his knee, the door is open for some young talent to make some noise. Sophomores Neil O’Connor and Rory Donovan both stepped up at home last week, hauling in four catches for 56 yards and one touchdown and two catches for 98 yards and one touchdown, respectively. Redshirt freshman Malik Love also saw extended action against the Crusaders and is expected to start alongside O’Connor and Donovan.

Outside of senior captain Casey DeAndrade, there are very few career starts combined in the Wildcat secondary. Redshirt freshmen Michael Balsamo and Rick Ellison start at two of the safety spots for UNH,. True freshman Lacey took snaps for Ellison and finished with a team-high 14 tackles and one pass breakup. With Dartmouth quarterback Jack Heneghan making his first career start, the ‘Cats secondary have an opportunity to continue their momentum from last week.

Four Quarters

UNH rushing attack

After struggling to run the ball in the opener in San Diego, the Wildcats torched Holy Cross for 362 yards on the ground. Sophomore quarterback Trevor Knight’s ability to use his legs, whether on a designed run or scrambling from the pocket, is a key part of the UNH offense. Knight ran 18 times against Holy Cross, rushing for 87 yards to go with his 190 passing yards.  Junior running back Trevon Bryant added 79 yards and a touchdown of his own in the home opener.

UNH passing offense

The UNH passing attack fed off the running game last week as part of the winning formula. With tight end Jordan Powell suspended and wide receiver Kyon Taylor injured, Coach McDonnell will be counting on multiple guys who saw little to no action last season. A Wildcat tight end has failed to catch a pass through two games. A focal point Saturday will be protecting Knight. The offensive line, anchored by three seniors, has allowed seven sacks this season.

Dartmouth rushing attack

In 2015, Dartmouth College ranked 72nd in the FCS for rushing yards per game, averaging 144.6. Junior Ryder Stone and senior Abrm McQuarters will be receiving the handoffs from Heneghan. Over his first two years Stone carried the ball 100 times, yielding 550 yards and 12 touchdowns. Meanwhile, McQuarters has accumulated 155 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries over his career at Dartmouth. Stone is expected to get the bulk of the carries for the Big Green.

Dartmouth passing offense

Dartmouth doesn’t just have to replace their quarterback from last season. They also lost their top two wide receivers and three offensive linemen to graduation. Senior receiver Houston Brown will look to fill the void this year for the Big Green alongside juniors Charles Mack and Emory Thompson. Entering his first college start against the Wildcats, quarterback Jack Heneghan has thrown 10 career passes, connecting on five of them for 39 yards.

Impact Player: Dalton Crossan

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Following a career night against Holy Cross, the Wildcat running back will look for a similar encore in Hanover, NH. Crossan ran for a career-high 199 yards and two touchdowns against the Crusaders, but faces a Dartmouth defense that limited opposing offenses to 86.5 rushing yards per   in 2015.

Dartmouth lost a lot of seniors on defense to graduation in the spring, but do return preseason All-America selection Folarin Orimolade. The senior linebacker is serving as captain for the third year and will be largely responsible for the Dartmouth run defenses effort to slow down Crossan. UNH will use a variety of ways to make sure Crossan gets the football, they’ll have him returning kickoffs, catching the ball out of the backfield, as well as handing off the ball. After a career-high 24 carries against Holy Cross, expect a large dosage of Crossan.

Executive Editor