Home cooking appeals to UNH
DURHAM — They want their swagger back.
The Wildcats of the University of New Hampshire take great pleasure in the way they have turned Cowell Stadium, their soon-to-be-renovated facility with few frills, into a house of horrors for visiting teams in recent years.
"No one likes to play here except us," said senior wide receiver Justin Mello.
Colgate, the defending Patriot League champion, which has lost its first two games, gets its latest chance in Cowell when it takes on UNH at noon today.
"It's your house," said senior safety and co-captain Manny Asam. "You protect your house. It's as simple as that."
But UNH has its own nightmares of its last home game.
Sean McDonnell's team had won 10 straight games in Cowell — the place the Wildcats call "The Dungeon" — when Towson came to town for the last game of the regular season in November, Towson led 30-28 at halftime and scored the next 27 points on the way to a 64-35 crushing of the Wildcats.
"We want to forget it, but it stays with you," Mello said. "We got beat up pretty bad. Not only did we get beat on our home turf, we got pretty much embarrassed and we have to change that this year."
UNH gets a shot at revenge when it plays its first Colonial Athletic Association game at Towson on Oct. 5.
First, though, there's the business of trying to get another home winning streak started against Colgate.
The Wildcats have won 22 of their last 24 games at Cowell.
They dropped their opener at Central Michigan, 27-24, last Saturday and coupled with a pair of losses at the end of last season have now lost three straight games for the first time since October 2003.
Junior wide receiver R.J. Harris has a broken hand, but is expected to play with his hand in a cast, McDonnell said.
Sophomore wide receiver Mike Detroia, senior defensive back Chris Houston, offensive lineman Sean Ryan, a senior out of Londonderry, and senior long-snapper Steve Collister are also sidelined with injuries.
Senior Chris Setian and junior Jimmy Owens, both running backs, are out as well.
That should open playing time for Dalton Crossan, a 5-foot-11 and 205-pound redshirt freshman who missed the first game with a foot injury. He's not 100 percent, but should be ready to go as a backup to junior Nico Steriti, McDonnell said.
"He's a very, very dynamic player," Asam said of Crossan. "I can't wait to see him out there. He's fun to watch. He can shake you and he can run through you. He can catch and he can line up in the slot and run corner routes and beat you. He's a kid that can do a lot of things on the field."
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St. Anselm plays at Stonehill tonight at 6. Both teams are 0-1. The Hawks fell in their opener, 42-28 to Bowie State, and Stonehill lost at Bloomsburg, 41-13. Stonehill won last year's game, 35-20. . .
Plymouth State plays at Mt. Ida today at 1. The Panthers fell in their opener, 35-31, to Castleton. Mt. Ida beat UMass-Dartmouth, 21-20, in its opener.