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UNH football shows spring in its step
DURHAM - Sean Goldrich and Kyon Taylor teamed up to lead the offense, newly named captain Cody Muller is reveling in his chance to play another year of college football and senior Jim Earley of Hopkinton pulled down a prestigious award.
Those were a few of the highlights of the University of New Hampshire football team's annual Blue & White game in Cowell Stadium that brought a close to the spring football on Saturday.
Goldrich grabbed the starting job at quarterback with his work in the playoffs last season and capped off an impressive spring with a big day.
"Goldy did a nice job of directing traffic again," said UNH coach Sean McDonnell. "He's got that ease and poise in the pocket and got us down the field and in the end zone three times."
Goldrich, who will be a junior in the fall, connected with Taylor on a 20-yard pass on his first play of the day and he ended up completing all 12 of his passes for 139 yards.
He directed the offense to short rushing touchdowns (a 1-yarder by senior Nico Steriti and a 2-yarder by redshirt freshman Donald Goodrich) on his first two possessions. He finished his third and last drive with a 22-yard TD pass to Taylor.
Taylor, a sophomore, led all receivers with six catches for 77 yards. "People don't realize how explosive he is," said Goldrich of Taylor.
"The kid's a fast kid and he can jump through the roof and he's got a great set of hands on him. ... He's a great one-on-one receiver. I trust him against anyone in our conference."
Muller's had a good spring. He got word not long before spring break that the NCAA had granted him a medical waiver and a sixth year on the team.
"I'm more than excited," Muller said. "It's probably the best thing I've heard in a long time."
After being redshirted as a freshman, Muller played the next year. He was slowed in football and then missed his sophomore season and was out of school and had surgery for ulcerative colitis.
"None of the medicine was working any more and the final step was removing the colon," Muller said.
He returned to the team and has started the last two seasons.
On Thursday, he was named a captain, along with senior left tackle Rob Bowman, as voted by the team.
Muller will start at one defensive end spot, opposite senior Brian Ciccone.
"I was so happy for him when he found out (about the waiver)," McDonnell said. "He's worked tremendously hard, like all the kids in our program, but he's had some bad luck here. ... The kid's excited to be playing and being captain is a great honor for him and he deserves it."
Both Muller and Bowman lead by example, McDonnell said.
"They do everything you need them to do, whether it's in meetings, the weight room or on the field," the coach said. "Both of them were very, very good players for us last year and both are kids at the position that everyone in this programs looks up to. The difference is now they've got to become more vocal."
Two hours before the start of Saturday's game, Earley was named the fourth winner of the Todd Walker Teammate Award.
Walker was killed on March 18, 2011 in Boulder, Colo., as he broke up an attempted robbery.
Earley played football, hockey and baseball at Bishop Brady High School in Concord and walked on to the team at UNH.
"The award is about character, integrity, heart and friendship and things like that," McDonnell said. "The kids in the program love everything about him. He does things the right way."
Earley usually wears No. 29 and wore Walker's No. 80 on Saturday. He carried the ball six times for 18 yards and caught a couple of passes for 17 yards.
"He's playing a position at running back that he never played in high school," McDonnell said. "He's absorbed everything."
When Earley came into his office to ask about walking on, McDonnell wanted to know if he was sure about it. He was.
"I kept knocking him back, knocking him back," McDonnell said. "And he kept coming back and coming back."
Senior quarterback Andy Vailas completed three of his seven passes and led the drive that resulted in the offense's fourth and final touchdown of the day, a 5-yard run by Dalton Crossan. ... Junior defensive tackle Julian Turner led the defense on Saturday with eight tackles and sophomore linebacker Kevin McNally had six. ... Redshirt freshman defensive end Mike Lynch out of Nashua North and junior defensive tackle Rashid Armand each had a fumble recovery and junior defensive back Lamar Edmonds had an interception.