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College Football: UNH QB Knight questionable for Saturday

New Hampshire Union Leader

December 05. 2017 1:00AM
UNH quarterback Trevor Knight runs for yardage during the team's 2017 season opener against Maine. It remains to be seen if Knight will be able to play in Saturday's FCS quarterfinal. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

The key question heading into the University of New Hampshire’s quarterfinal-round playoff game against South Dakota State is this: Will UNH starting quarterback Trevor Knight be available to play? It’s a question that probably won’t be answered until later this week.

Knight was removed from Saturday’s 21-15 victory over Central Arkansas in the second quarter after he collided with offensive lineman Will McInerney. UNH coach Sean McDonnell said Knight is in concussion protocol.

“Trever was feeling much better (Sunday),” McDonnell said. “We won’t know until Thursday or Friday if he’s going to be able to go this week.”

UNH (9-4) will meet South Dakota State (10-2) on Saturday (3 p.m.) at South Dakota State’s Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium. South Dakota State advanced by beating Northern Iowa 37-22 Saturday. Saturday’s victory gave that Jackrabbits 10 wins for the first time in the program’s history.

Knight, an Amherst resident who played high school football at Nashua South, entered the Central Arkansas game ranked in the top 20 nationally in six statistics: No. 11 in passing yards (3,150), No. 12 in passing yards per game (262.5), No. 13 in completions per game (22.08), No. 15 in total offense (274.3), No. 16 in passing TDs (24) and No. 19 in points responsible for (156). He completed 8 of 14 passes for 47 yards and a touchdown and was intercepted once before he left the Central Arkansas game.

If Knight can’t play Saturday the Wildcats will turn to freshman quarterback Christian Lupoli, who completed 8 of 10 passes for 63 yards and a TD after he replaced Knight against Central Arkansas.

“The one thing the kid (Lupoli) has always had, and he’s had it from Day 1 when he came in, he’s got composure,” McDonnell said. “He went in and he just settled down. Now he had to go in before this year in the JMU game. He wasn’t as composed as he was Saturday.

“I think the experience of playing against JMU in that game in the middle of the season really helped him going into the game (last) weekend against Central Arkansas. The kid’s got confidence in (himself), the coaches have confidence in him. … Feel very comfortable with what we have to work with if he has to go on Saturday.”

Lupoli, an East Haven, Conn., resident, completed 3 of 14 pass attempts and was intercepted once this year entering the Central Arkansas game. McDonnell said the UNH offense won’t change if Lupoli plays Saturday.

“We’ll be fine,” McDonnell said. “We’ll be fine. The stuff that Trevor does is stuff we’ve done over the years with (Sean) Goldrich and (Andy) Vailas and the guys. We’ll run the same offense. Christian’s very (capable) of doing that.”

The UNH-South Dakota State winner will move on to the national semifinals, which will be played Dec. 14 and Dec. 15 on campus sites.