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Roger Brown's UNH Notebook: Robison steps in, does job

New Hampshire Union Leader

December 06. 2017 11:26PM
UNH's Noah Robison, a Pinkerton grad, practices at UNH in Durham on Wednesday. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

DURHAM -- Although final exams at the University of New Hampshire aren’t until next week, UNH’s Noah Robison passed a tough test last weekend.

Robison, a 6-foot-6 275-pound offensive lineman, made his first collegiate start in UNH’s 21-15 victory at Central Arkansas on Saturday. An injury to offensive tackle Dane Herron opened up a spot for Robison, a Derry resident who played high school football at Pinkerton Academy.

“I graded out pretty well,” Robison said. “I was happy with my play. I wasn’t nervous. Didn’t let nerves get the best of me. I felt ready.”

Robison started at right tackle and played all but one series in the game. Bedford’s Will McInerny shifted from right tackle to left tackle in place of Herron.

“Noah did a nice job,” McDonnell said. “Did a nice job. Gotta remember it was his first time starting in a college football game and he played a tremendous amount of snaps.”

Robison had to sit out last season per NCAA rules after he transferred to UNH from Coastal Carolina. He’s a junior academically, but has two years of athletic eligibility remaining. Shoulder surgery prevented him from playing in his sophomore season at Pinkerton, but he was a starter in his junior and senior seasons. The Astros won the Division I championship in Robison’s senior year.

Although Herron is expected to return to the lineup when UNH (9-4) faces South Dakota State (10-2) in the FCS quarterfinals Saturday, Robison will likely get another start. McDonnell said guard Matt Mascia has been diagnosed with mononucleosis and will most likely be unavailable Saturday.

“We’re gonna have to move the guys around a little bit, figure out what the best five is and he’ll probably be in that best five one way or another,” McDonnell said.

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MCDONNELL didn’t not have an official word on quarterback Trevor Knight’s status for Saturday’s game during his weekly press conference Wednesday. Knight, who was injured in the second quarter of the victory over Central Arkansas, has been in concussion protocol this week and was scheduled to take a test Wednesday night that could determine his availability.

“He was allowed to do light practice (Tuesday),” McDonnell said before Wednesday’s practice. “Can’t get touched. He can do things without any contact at all. Got through that feeling pretty good. He’ll practice again the same way, and then he’ll take his concussion test after practice because he’s been symptom-free now for 48 hours, which is a good thing. But still, he has to pass that concussion-protocol test to play on Saturday.”

If Knight can’t play Saturday, freshman Christian Lupoli will start. He’ll be backed up by former Kennett quarterback Will Pollard and former St. Thomas Aquinas QB Steven Hedberg.

Quarterback Ivan Niyomugabo, who played at Merrimack Valley, will not play Saturday because of a high ankle sprain.

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SOUTH DAKOTA STATE senior Dallas Goedert is rated by several scouting services as one of the top tight ends available in next year’s NFL Draft.

Goedert leads the Jackrabbits with 66 receptions for 1,049 yards and six touchdowns. He has six 100-yard receiving games this season.

“He’s 6-4, 260 pounds and runs like a deer,” McDonnell said. “He can catch the ball with one hand, two hands. They put him in multiple positions in their offense — slot, wing, flex him out, put him on the inside in a trips set. He’s athletic enough. It’s similar to what we did with (Harold) Spears and (Jordan) Powell to get them touches on the ball.”

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SOUTH DAKOTA STATE kicker Chase Vinatieri, the nephew of former Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri, has made 12 of his 13 field goal attempts this season and leads the nation in field goal percentage (92.3 percent).

He made a 55-yard kick in last Saturday’s victory against Northern Iowa and has made each of his seven attempts from beyond 40 yards this season.

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