DURHAM — It appears the University of New Hampshire football team will lean heavily on its running game this season. That’s what the Wildcats did Saturday night, and it paid off.
UNH ran for 230 yards on 34 carries en route to a 27-24 triumph over Rhode Island in its Colonial Athletic Association opener at Wildcat Stadium.
Former Timberlane Regional standout Jason Hughes kicked a 29-yard field goal as time expired to give UNH the win.
Senior running back Evan Gray led the UNH rushing attack with 123 yards on seven carries. Carlos Washington Jr. gained 58 yards on 11 carries, and Dylan Laube carried eight times for 43 yards.
URI trailed by seven points until running back Zoe Bryant Jr. scored on a 2-yard run with 1:30 left. C.J. Carrick’s point-after kick made it a 27-27 game. UNH moved the ball from its own 28 to the URI 12 to set up the game-winning kick.
UNH quarterback Max Brosmer passed for two touchdowns and ran for another.
The Wildcats (1-2, 1-0 CAA) led 7-0 after one quarter, 14-7 at halftime and 21-10 entering the third.
UNH led 21-7 after Brosmer tossed a 2-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brian Espanet on the Wildcats’ first drive of the third quarter. The TD was set up by Gray’s 81-yard run to the URI 4-yard line.
URI (0-3, 0-2) responded with a 40-yard field goal by Carrick, which trimmed UNH’s lead to 21-10 with 4:40 left in the third, but UNH regained a 14-point advantage when Hughes made a 34-yard field goal with 14:23 left in the final quarter.
The Rams made it a seven-point game on a 5-yard TD pass from quarterback Vito Priore to Isaiah Coulter plus the PAT with 8:51 to play.
UNH scored on the game’s second play from scrimmage. Brosmer connected with wide receiver Malik Love for a 77-yard TD pass. Hughes made the first of his three point-after kicks to put the Wildcats up 7-0 with 14:16 remaining in the opening quarter.
UNH doubled its lead on a 16-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by Brosmer’s 2-yard TD run. The drive, which took 9:05 off the clock, helped the Wildcats take a 14-0 lead with 11:36 remaining in the half.
The Rams got on the scoreboard when wide receiver Ahmere Dorsey found the end zone from 4 yards away on a run from the Wildcat formation.
URI wide receiver Aaron Parker caught nine passes for 133 yards in the loss. Parker entered the game leading all FCS players in receptions per game (10.5) and receiving yards per game (185.5).