DURHAM - Andy Vailas, the junior quarterback out of Bedford, took care of things in the first half and sophomore Sean Goldrich handled them in the second and the defense shined throughout as No. 21-ranked New Hampshire knocked off No. 4 Maine in front of 10,333 in a breezy and chilly Cowell Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
UNH made the best case possible for a spot in the FCS tournament.
The 24-team field for the tournament will be announced this morning at 11:30 on ESPNU.
UNH's chances improved when William & Mary lost to Richmond last nigt. The Wildcats have won six of their last seven games and improved to 7-4 overall and 6-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association.
UNH snapped Maine's seven-game win streak and its bid for a perfect record in the CAA. The Black Bears clinched the league championship and automatic berth in the playoffs last week.
New Hampshire retained the historic Brice-Cowell Musket that is goes to the winner of this series each year and has now held onto the rifle for 10 of the last 11 years.
"Hats off to the defense," said UNH coach Sean McDonnell. "They've been much-maligned around here for years and they showed up today." UNH held Maine to 215 yards of total offense.
Vailas connected with redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Powell for the 5-yard score with 7:02 left in the quarter. It was Powell's second career catch and first for a score.
Maine drove and had a second down on the UNH 4-yard line early in the second period, but an incomplete Wasilewski pass and a sack left Maine trying a 27-yard field goal into the wind. Sean Decloux's kick was wide left.
UNH went back the other way and Mike MacArthur, a senior from Exeter, kicked a 25-yard field goal to make it 10-0 with 9:52 left in the half. The kick made MacArthur perfect in his last 11 kicks.
The defense held and Maine blocked a 31-yard McArthur field goal attempt.
Wasilewski drove Maine down the field to a Decloux 22-yard field goal that cut it to 10-3 at the break.
Vailas took a hit and hurt his knee late in the half and Goldrich replaced him in the second.
UNH turned a second Maine turnover into a touchdown late in the third quarter.Junior linebacker Shane McNeely sacked Wasilewski and slapped the ball away from him and defensive tackle Sean McCann covered the ball on the Maine 20.Three plays later, Sean Goldrich teamed with Jimmy Giansante for a 6-yard scoring pass on a 3rd down and goal play. MacArthur's kick made it 17-3 New Hampshire with 3:13 left in the third.
The UNH defense forced a three-and-out and forced a punt. The Wildcats quickly struck again when Steriti broke through the line of scrimmage and ran 68 yards for a score. Steriti rushed 18 times for 139 yards.
Dartmouth 28, Princeton 24: At Hanover, the Big Green spoiled Princeton's undefeated Ivy League season and its shot at an outright conference title.
Dartmouth beat Princeton for the fourth straight time.
Dartmouth finished 6-4 overall and was 5-2 and in third place in the league. Princeton dropped to 8-2 overall and 6-1 and shared the title with Harvard. The Crimson beat Yale, 34-7.
Sophomore quarterback Dalyn Williams scored a pair of touchdowns for Dartmouth on runs of 5 and 17 yards and senior running back Dominick Pierre had a 1-yarder. Williams also connected wth Bo Patterson for a 56-yard passing TD.