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Allen Lessels' UNH Notebook: JMU game viewed as must-win
The University of New Hampshire football team must win Saturday’s home game against James Madison or that’s it.
If the Wildcats don’t win, there will be no need to worry about playoff possibilities, no need to wonder if a selection committee will deem the Wildcats worthy of an at-large berth in the FCS tournament.
“We’re 4-4 and we’re .500 in the best league in the country and if we don’t win this game, we’re nowhere,” said UNH coach Sean McDonnell.
If they can knock off No. 22-ranked James Madison — which is 6-3 overall and 3-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association and also fighting for its playoff life — the Wildcats must still win next week at Albany and the week after that back home against a powerful Maine team to close out the regular season.
“It’s important that we win this football game just to get to 5-4,” he said. “And nothing else.”
The Wildcats rallied and fought back from a 1-3 start to the season with three straight wins. They were shut out for the first time since 1995, a span of 220 games, last week at William & Mary, 17-0, and that leaves no room for error.
“Personally, I have four more years here,” he said. “This could be it for them. We don’t want to let them go out this way.”
Sophomore Sean Goldrich will start again at quarterback, if he’s ready to go, McDonnell said. Goldrich and Andy Vailas, a junior out of Bedford and Bishop Guertin of Nashua, both played against William & Mary and both have been dealing with injuries this week.
FACT IS, the men’s hockey team has competed hard and well this season.
But the Wildcats have a 1-5-1 record, have lost their last four games and are winless in their last six.
“Overall, we’ve played pretty good, but we don’t have a whole lot to show for it,” said coach Dick Umile. “I’m not disappointed with the way the team has played, but I’m frustrated and I’m sure they’re frustrated. But that cannot interfere with how we prepare and look forward to the next week. And that’s what we’re doing. It’s about now. The present.”
The Minutemen are 3-4-1 overall and 1-1-1 in Hockey East. They are 3-0-1 at home and are 0-4-0 on the road.
“They’re a very good team,” he said. “They’re fighting for Hockey East points, just like we are.”