action:article | category:SPORTS22 | adString:SPORTS22 | zoneID:40

Home » Sports » College Sports

December 14. 2013 10:34PM

College Football: UNH in FCS semifinals for first time ever

UNH players run onto the field in celebration after defeating the Southeastern Louisiana Lions 20-17 at Strawberry Stadium on Saturday night. (Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports)

New Hampshire Wildcats quarterback Sean Goldrich (5) carries the ball into the end zone for a touchdown in front of Southeastern Louisiana Lions defensive back Marice Sutton (7) in the first half at Strawberry Stadium. (Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports)

HAMMOND, La. – Semis. Sweet.

So sweet.

Sophomore quarterback Sean Goldrich drove his team 80 yards down the field and scored his third touchdown on a 2-yard run with 47 seconds left in the game to lift New Hampshire to a wild 20-17 win over Southeastern Louisiana in an FCS tournament quarterfinal game at Strawberry Stadium on Saturday night.

The win sends the Wildcats to the NCAA tournament semifinals for the first time.

"It's special," said UNH coach Sean McDonnell. "I'm so proud of the kids the way they fought and their resilience. Resilience is a word that's going to keep jumping up. These kids believe they could do stuff like that. That's what's great about this team."

UNH plays at two-time defending national champion North Dakota State on Friday night at 8 p.m. The Bison earned their spot in another semifinal with a 48-14 demolition of Coastal Carolina on Saturday.

North Dakota is 13-0 this year and has won its last 22 games.

The Wildcats, led by Goldrich and a superb effort on defense, won their sixth straight game and their ninth time in their last 10 tries. Goldrich completed 24 of his 35 passes for 276 yards. He ran 21 times for 99 yards and the three scores.

"Goldy played a tremendous game," said senior running back Chris Setian. "Just his presence in the pocket, his scrambling, making things happen. It was an unbelievable effort by him."

UNH, which started the season 1-3, improved to 10-4. The Lions had their 10-game win streak snapped and finished the season at 11-3.

The Lions took the lead at 17-14 on a 5-yard Bryant Bennett touchdown pass to Marquis Fruge with 5:17 left in the fourth quarter. Bennett escaped all sorts of trouble on the play before he found Fruge in the back of the end zone.

No problem. Goldrich and the offense responded.

"We've been in that position before," Setian said. "Villanova was a perfect example and we had even less time."

The Wildcats took 14 plays to cover the 80 yards.

They were faced with a 2nd and 18 from the SE Louisiana 32 with 1:55 to go and Goldrich ran for 9 yards and then 8 yards and change. On 4th and inches the quarterback kept for 5 yards.

He hit Jimmy Giansante for 7 yards and then Goldrich ran it in from the 2 and UNH had the lead back.

The Lions blocked Mike MacArthur's extra point attempt – they had already blocked two field goals – to stay within a field goal.

Bennett drove them back the other way and they got as far as the UNH 43. But that was it.

UNH led 14-10 and had a golden chance to extend the lead with on a 2nd and goal from the Southeastern 3-yard line with 10 minutes. But Maurice Sutton intercepted a fade pass intended for R.J. Harris in the left corner of the end zone.

Southeastern went back the other way for its score.

The Lions scored on their opening possession of the game.

The UNH defense took over from there.

The Lions had 12 plays in the initial drive and covered 81 yards. They managed a total of 70 yards in their other 29 offensive plays in the half.

Goldrich and the Wildcats answered the opening score with their own drive and his 32-yard TD run. UNH scored again on a possession that extended early into the second period. Goldrich scored this one, too, on a 1-yard run.

The Wildcats collected 479 yards of offense in the game and held Southeastern to 344.

UNH had 203 rushing yards and held the Lions to 75.

They bottled up Bennett, a 1,000-yard rusher during the season, for most of the game.

The longest rushing play for the Lions covered12 yards and their longest pass went for 30.

"It's just one of those games you never quit on and it comes down to the last minute," said Seamus O'Neill, the senior left tackle and captain out of Manchester Central. "It's a little nerve-wracking, but we got the win and we're going to North Dakota."

- - - - - - -

UNH was originally scheduled to land by charter at Pease at 3:30 a.m. The flight was delayed by the snowstorm, though and the team spent the night at a hotel near the New Orleans Airport and was due to leave Louisiana in the morning. . . . Harris had 11 catches for 110 yards and Justin Mello 5 for 84. Steriti rushed 14 times for 75 yards. . . . Defensive back Manny Asam and linebacker Akil Anderson each had 10 tackles to lead the Wildcats.

 NH Sports Angle Ľ more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

Itís show time in Chicago for Dartmouthís Hendricks

State sells Windham golf course site for $3.06M

Ex-minor leaguers sue MLB over low salaries

$14M to beaten Giants fan returns security focus

Matt Bonner and brother bring rock show back to Redhook

GM: Twin State Speedway progressing with revival

Foot golf arrives on Seacoast

New Hampshire's Burns gets more than he could ever ask for

Pro runner's yoga class will raise money for clean Kenyan water

Menard wrecks as New Hampshire testing concludes

Lawyers try to bar Patriots from paying Hernandez $3.2M bonus

Pease Golf Course celebrates opening of lower nine holes

NFL rule could signal end of Justin Tuck signature facemask and that's a good thing according to UNH findings

NH man almost wins first $500k winner-takes-all open basketball tournament

Blue Jays move Dalton Pompey up to New Hampshire

Field set for 110th anniversary ĎClimb to the Clouds' car race

Contractors volunteer to complete renovations for 5th Annual Jericho ATV Festival

Dartmouth dismisses menís lacrosse coach

Jay Perrin looks to take his MMA career to the next level at Combat Zone 49

Dartmouth runner poised for long-term success on pro circuit

'Great Race' makes pit stop in Rochester


Chip Kelly: Last practice not Fred Flintstone leaving work

Traffic jams expected with 30,000 fans at Epping dragway

Calgary Stampsí St. Pierre, complete with tattoos and plenty of brawn, not your typical NH wedding planner

Laconia man wins grueling 500-mile race in 9 days


 New Hampshire Events Calendar


Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory