UNH Football: The Wildcats put on a show for Family Weekend


Rick Wilson

UNH Football team celebrates their 40-22 win over Elon

Spencer Marks, Sports Editor

Durham N.H.- The game with CAA championship implications drew in the largest crowd of the season at Wildcat Stadium when the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Wildcats (6-2, 5-0) took on the Elon University Phoenix (5-3, 3-2) on Family Weekend. 

There was no doubt that Wildcats head coach Rick Santos meant it when he said this would be “the biggest game we’ve played in five years. It’s championship implications on the line. We don’t wanna feel like we need to win the championship on Saturday, we wanna play like a champion.”

Champions are exactly how UNH played on Saturday after putting up a dominant final score of  40-22 on the #25 (FCS coaches poll) ranked team in the country. Although it looked easy, the Wildcats had to play perfectly in all sections of the game and that is exactly what they did according to Junior running back Dylan Laube. 

“Our offensive confidence was huge. Defensively, we played super well, it was so satisfying watching them go around and just play ball. Special teams wise, coach McLaughlin schemes up so well,” Laube said, “Overall, in all three phases, I think we outplayed them in every single aspect.”

Laube, who was out last week due to a shoulder injury, did not skip a beat after putting up 147 rushing yards on 22 attempts. This included a game-sealing 77-yard breakaway touchdown run with 6:28 remaining in the fourth quarter. 

The offense’s successful day was also credited to sophomore quarterback Max Brosmer. The key factor to his strong performance has been smart decision-making. This was shown by Brosmer’s passing stats going 19-32 with 220 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. His main target for the day was first-year wide receiver DJ Linkins who had five receptions for 58 yards. 

Linkins was given a big opportunity to showcase his reliability due to the absence of redshirt first-year wide receiver Joey Corcoran for Saturday’s game. The team’s top wideout suffered a high ankle sprain vs. Dartmouth last week and proceeded to get sick midweek. Coach Santos says he expects Corcoran to be ready to go on Nov. 5 vs. Richmond. 

Senior wide receiver Sean Coyne and junior tight end Kyle Lepkowski had big days as well. Coyne only caught two passes on the day but they were both key plays in the ‘Cats victory as he led the team in receiving yards with 61 and a touchdown. Lepkowski recorded four receptions for 50 yards. The tight end played an intricate part in continuing the offense’s drives as every pass that he caught converted a third or fourth down. 

The Wildcats converted 10 of 19 third downs while the Phoenix converted just two of nine. Sophomore linebacker Ryan Toscano had six total tackles consisting of two solo and four assisted. He spoke on the defense’s performance after the game. 

“The things that we haven’t done well in the past games we’ve fixed and gotten much better in the next game,” Toscano said, “In the first few games that was our weakness [opposing teams third down conversions]…but over the last three games we’ve done a great job and coach Gillick (associate head coach and defensive coordinator) and coach Santos have done a great job as well so credit to them and the guys around me.” 

The defense was flying all over the field and overwhelming the talented Elon offense that averaged 27 points per game before they faced UNH. Sophomore defensive ends Josiah Silver and Dylan Ruiz were credited with a quarterback hurry that resulted in an intentional grounding. The penalty took place inside Phoenix’s own endzone, which counts as a safety. 

Senior safety Joe Eichman recorded two solo tackles and his third career interception which he returned for 33 yards. This was Eichman’s third game in a row with an interception as he picked off the Stony Brook, Dartmouth, and Elon offense. 

UNH will take a much-needed bye week giving them extra time to not only prepare for their final three games of the season but it will give the players time to heal. Injuries haven’t been too large of an issue to this point but coach Santos expressed the team has been fighting through constant soreness. 

“We’re extremely beat up…the last couple weeks our guys have been limping through practice but they’ve been gunning it out and not complaining. We basically have a motto that if you’re truly committed, the purpose in your heart is gonna be stronger than any pain in your body.”

This is the Wildcats latest bye week into a season since 2019. Coach Santos mentioned that he loves where the team is going into the week off and that they can control their own destiny to put themselves in a position to win championships. But he ultimately stresses the fact that the win vs. Elon is excellent but the team needs to focus on the future. 

“Richmond is extremely talented, Rhode Island can beat anybody in the country, and you know what Maine does to us so throw their record out the window.”

It is also worth noting that following their dominant win, the ‘Cats now rank in at #25 in the FBS coaches poll and #19 in the Stats Perform FCS Poll. 

Following the bye week, the #25/19 ranked Wildcats will travel down to Richmond Virginia to take on the Richmond Spiders (5-2, 3-1) on Nov. 5 at 3:30 p.m.