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UNH Notebook: Holy Toledo! Only 130 days until football opener

New Hampshire Union Leader

April 20. 2014 11:20PM

DURHAM -- They're counting it down in Toledo.

Did you know it’s 130 days until the University of New Hampshire football teams opens the 2014 season against the Rockets of Toledo in the Glass Bowl on Aug. 30? There the Wildcats will square off against a team that went 7-5 last season and returns 19 starters, 10 of them on the defensive side of the ball, in a rematch of their 2011 opener.

Toledo won the game, back when Nico Steriti and R.J. Harris and most other UNH seniors were redshirt freshmen, 58-22.

Steriti, in fact, ran for an 87-yard touchdown late in that game and Harris caught four passes for 46 yards in their collegiate debuts.

The reminiscing and worrying about Toledo will come later.

Coach Sean McDonnell and his crew are more concerned about another countdown at the moment.

There are 12 days of spring remaining until the annual Blue-White game on May 3 wraps up this round of spring football.

One of the chores this spring has been to revamp the offensive line with Manchester’s Seamus O’Neill, a four-year starter, gone to graduation. Most of those years, O’Neill was lined up at the all-important left tackle spot, charged with guarding the backside approach to the quarterback in pass protection.Rob Bowman, 6-foot-5 and 302 pounds out of Cheshire, Conn., has been moved from right tackle to left tackle to take a shot at handling the duties.

“He’s athletic enough to do it,” McDonnell said. “He’s a big, long-armed guy. The thing he’s got to be able to adjust to is taking the pass rush on his left side instead of his right and I think he’s good enough to do it.”

Bowman has started each of UNH’s 27 games the past two seasons at right tackle.

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THE football team is hosting its annual bone marrow testing drive on Friday at Holloway Commons on campus from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event is part of the National Marrow Donor Program Be The Match Registry and involves a cheek swab, no needles, and takes about 20 minutes.

UNH has recorded more registrants than any other participating school in the northeast over the last five years, according to a school release, and the goal is to bring in 600 more this year.Cam Lyle, a former UNH track athlete out of Timberlane Regional High School in Plaistow, had registered with the program a few years ago.

Last year, he found out he was a match and passed on the final events of his collegiate career last spring to donate marrow for a recipient battling acute lymphobastic leukemia.

In January, Lyle received an NCAA Award of Valor for his decision and actions.

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THE track and field teams host an America East pre-conference meet on Saturday at 11 a.m. on their Reggie Atkins Track & Field Facility.

The America East championships are May 3 and 4 in Burlington, Vt.

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THE lacrosse team battled back from a 9-0 deficit in the first half, but lost a 15-5 decision at Stony Brook on Saturday.

Stony Brook clinched the top seed for the America East tournament with the win and will host the league championships on May 2 and 4.

UNH fell to 7-8 overall and 2-2 in the conference.

The Wildcats close out the regular season with a game at home against Albany on Saturday at noon and need a win to guarantee a spot in the four-team America East tournament.

Stony Brook is 4-0 in the league and Albany is 3-1. UNH and Vermont are tied at 2-2, UMBC is 1-3 and Binghamton is 0-4.

A win gets UNH in, while a loss could set up various tiebreaker scenarios.

On Twitter: @AllenLessels

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