UNH football (4-3, 3-1) took its first in-conference loss of the season last Saturday at Delaware (4-3, 2-1). Sloppy offensive play and late-game mistakes led to the Wildcats losing their first game since week two as they head into the bye week. Those sloppy plays included dropped passes, fumbles, and interceptions, and those told the story in the 10-16 loss.
The troubles started on the opening drive of the game when first-year quarterback Max Brosmer pushed the ball down the field all the way to the Delaware 27-yard line. The balanced offensive attack looked promising as UNH had scored first in four of their first six games. The drive would amount to nothing however, as redshirt first-year linebacker Matt Palmer intercepted Brosmer on a third-and-fourteen play.
Delaware got on the board first as they took a 10-play drive into the early stages of the second quarter. Senior kicker Jake Roth gave his team three points less than a minute into the frame.
After the teams traded punts, senior cornerback Prince Smith Jr. collected his second and third interceptions of the season on back-to-back Delaware drives.
In between the two picks, UNH was able to muster up three points. The Wildcats took over in opponent territory which set up junior kicker Jason Hughes for a 45-yard field goal – tying the game at three.
Following the second of Smith Jr.’s interceptions, UNH took over on offense at the Delaware 34-yard line. A 24-yard catch by sophomore wide receiver Benyeal Hill Jr. set up sophomore running back Carlos Washington Jr. to run it in for the score.
Washington Jr. ended his day with 60 yards and found the end zone for the second time in his sophomore season.
The Wildcats wouldn’t hold the lead for long as redshirt junior running back DeJoun Lee and redshirt first-year running back Will Knight torched the UNH front for 74 yards leading to a touchdown to tie the game.
The Blue Hens regained the lead in the third quarter. The Delaware backs continued to gash the Wildcat defense for 33 yards on this drive, leading the team to the UNH 16-yard line. Roth converted a 33-yard field goal to put his team ahead 13-10.
Each of the Delaware running backs gained over 100 yards on the ground on Saturday. Lee ran for 103 yards and a touchdown, while Knight added 101.
Roth and the Blue Hens had a chance to extend the lead at the start of the final period, but the 52-yard attempt hit the upright, leaving the UNH deficit at just three points.
Washington Jr. led UNH deep into Blue Hen territory with a chance to take the lead. Brosmer dropped back to pass on a third-and-eight from the Delaware 12-yard line, but redshirt first-year defensive back Amonte Strothers jumped the route to intercept Brosmer, shifting the momentum back to the home team.
After the costly turnover, the UNH defense remained stout and stopped Delaware before it was too late. The Wildcats got the ball back at their own 31-yard line after a Blue Hen punt.
What looked like UNH’s second chance to win the game ended before it even started. On the first play of the drive, Brosmer was swarmed in the pocket and redshirt senior Cam Kitchen forced the fumble and secured possession for his team.
The Delaware defense totaled three sacks, two interceptions, one fumble recovery and six tackles for loss on the afternoon. The unit was led by Kitchen who had eight tackles, two sacks, and one forced fumble.
Brosmer’s day ended with 160 yards while completing 16-of-33 passes. The quarterback was also on the hook for two interceptions and a fumble.
The Blue Hens secured the win with a 29-yard field goal by Roth, his third of the day, extending the lead to six points, and this left UNH with no time to make a comeback.
This loss dropped UNH outside of the FCS top-25 rankings, where they previously ranked #22. Delaware on the other hand, jumped from #24 to #19.
After the bye week, the Wildcats will welcome #6 ranked Villanova into Wildcat Stadium before they head back on the road for two more.