College Football: Wildcats desperate for a win
Through four games, the University of New Hampshire football team is just about where it was last year in a couple of important offensive statistics.
The problem is, the Wildcats are off the mark a bit in the most important category.
UNH heads into today’s Homecoming game against Rhode Island (noon, Cowell Stadium) clinging to the No. 25 ranking in The Sports Network poll with a 1-3 record. The Wildcats lost their only Colonial Athletic Association game, at Towson 44-28, last weekend.
Last year, UNH was 2-2 through four games and took off on a six-game winning streak on the way to nailing down a ninth straight FCS tournament appearance.
UNH scored 34.1 points a game last year and is at 32.2 through its first four.
Rhode Island, which went 0-11 last year, is 2-4 overall and 1-2 in the CAA.
“They’re a good football team,” said UNH coach Sean McDonnell. “They’re a lot like us. They haven’t been able to put their finger on some things and get rolling.”
URI coach Joe Trainer thinks the Wildcats, who consistently have one of the best offenses in the league, may be more dangerous this year than last.
“I think they’re better offensively than they were a year ago,” he said. “They have so much balance. They have so many weapons. They legitimately go four deep at running back.”
He mentioned the wide receivers and junior tight end Harold Spears, too.
One of the top Wildcat weapons, junior quarterback Andy Vailas of Bedford, has been slowed in practice this week by a knee injury sustained last week against Towson. He sat out a couple of series in the game and then returned.
Sophomore Sean Goldrich, who started UNH’s first game last year and half the games during the season, gets the start today.
Goldrich has completed 13 of his 20 passes this season for 204 yards and two touchdowns and has thrown one interception.
Vailas may be available to play some today.
The Wildcats are allowing 32.2 points a game this season. Last year, they gave up 30.2.
“Defensively, they’re a little like us,” Trainer said. “Sometimes you watch them and they’re brilliant. Other times, people are getting big plays on them.”
The Rams have improved their offensive and defensive numbers over last year. They scored only 9.5 points a game last year and gave up 39.3.
This year they are scoring 16.8 and allowing 24.3.
Rhode Island lost one of its key offensive players when senior running back Justin Semmes went down with a season-ending knee injury in a 31-14 loss at Brown last week.
“He was really starting to heat up,” Trainer said.
Rhode Island senior quarterback Bob Bentsen has completed 99 of his 167 passes (59.3 percent) for 918 yards and five touchdowns with four interceptions.
Dartmouth looks for its first Ivy League win of the season today in a home game against undefeated Yale.
The Big Green are 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the league and lost at Penn, 37-31 in four overtimes, last week.
Yale is 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the Ivy League and won at Cal-Poly, 24-10, last week.