UNH misfires in attempt to punch in the winning score as time expires.
NEWARK, Del. — University of New Hampshire quarterback Max Brosmer had one last opportunity to makes amends for his two critical fourth quarter turnovers Saturday in his team’s Colonial Athletic Association football clash at the University of Delaware.
After showing poise beyond his years in leading his team down the field in the final minutes, completing 8 of 9 passes at one point to put the Wildcats’ at the Delaware 22-yard line, the freshman misfired on his final three pass attempts in the closing seconds and No. 22 ranked New Hampshire had its four-game win streak snapped in a 16-10 setback before a crowd of 16,730 at Delaware Stadium.
Brosmer, who finished the day completing 16 of 33 passes for 160 yards, missed on the chance to tie the game on the final play when his pass to the right side of the end zone just barely eluded the grasp of Charles Briscoe. UNH had driven 57 yards on nine plays after starting its final drive on its own 21-yard line with 2:39 remaining.
“We have the utmost confidence in Max. He’s done a great job all year,” said New Hampshire interim head coach Ricky Santos. “He’s an 18-year old coming into an environment like this one. This is one of the toughest places you are going to play in all of FCS.
“This was exactly what we expected today, a 60-minute contest that went all the way to the end. Our defense played extremely hard today, we tackled well, and we created some turnovers. They gave us a chance. Give credit to Delaware for finding a way to win at the end.”
The Wildcats (4-2, 3-1 CAA) lost for the first time since a 30-17 setback at Florida International way back on Sept. 14. UNH had defeated Rhode Island, Duquesne, Elon and No. 22 Stony Brook over the last four weeks.
No. 24 Delaware (4-3, 2-1 CAA), coming off a 42-7 blowout loss at Elon a week earlier, capitalized on just one of the Wildcats’ three turnovers, but the two others occurred inside Blue Hens territory. Brosmer was picked off by Matt Palmer at the UD 27-yard line on the first drive of the day and Amonte Strothers stepped in front of a Bosmer pass at the Delaware 12-yard line with 9:28 remaining.
On New Hampshire’s next possession, Brosmer fumbled after being sacked by Delaware’s Cam Kitchen at the Wildcats’ 15-yard line with 4:56 left. Four plays later, Jake Roth converted a 29-yard field goal to put the Blue Hens up 16-10 with 2:39 left.
UNH then started its final drive, only to see it come up just short.
“I felt that we were going to score and win the game,” said Washington of the ill-fated final drive. “Like coach said, we have all the confidence in Max, we have all the confidence in the offense. We just have to finish.”
New Hampshire’s defense, which entered the game ranked No. 7 nationally in points allowed at just 16.2 per game, played brilliantly once again, forcing two turnovers itself, collecting three sacks, and holding the Blue Hens to just 271 total yards. Cornerback Prince Smith had both interceptions for the Wildcats.
Delaware quarterback Pat Kehoe, who started the first three games for the Hens this season after leading the team to a berth in the NCAA Tournament in 2018, regained the starting job after Nolan Henderson was knocked out against Elon.
He completed just 9 of 15 passes for 94 yards Saturday, forcing the Hens to go almost exclusively to the ground game. DeJoun Lee led Delaware with 103 yards rushing while Will Knight was right behind with 101.
Delaware got two field goals from Roth, including a 26-yarder to open the scoring in the first quarter, and a 9-yard touchdown run by Lee with 1:11 left before halftime that knotted the game at 10-10. Knight’s 39-yard run down the right sideline — the longest play of the game for either side — highlighted the drive.
That touchdown came immediately after UNH had taken its only lead of the game on a four-yard burst by Washington Jr. with 3:23 left in the half. The Wildcats needed to march just 31 yards on three plays after Smith intercepted a pass by Kehoe.
Washington finished the day with 60 yards on 12 carries and in the process surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for his career. Evan Gray picked up 37 additional yards on the ground and reached the 1,500-yard milestone for his career in Durham.
UNH tallied its first points of the game with 6:08 left in the first quarter when Jason Hughes connected on a 45-yard field goal that tied the score at 3-3. Hughes, who matched a season-long with his 45-yarder, is now 12 of 14 on field goals this season.
New Hampshire, which had a streak of 14 straight trips to NCAA Tournament snapped in 2018, still remains very much in the hunt for a return to the show as the Wildcats head into their bye week this Saturday. They will return to action to begin the final four-game stretch run Nov. 2 vs. No. 7 ranked Villanova at Cowell Stadium.
“The bye comes at a good time,” said Santos. “We can get healthy, work on some things offensively and finish strong down the stretch. We are going to keep swinging the bat and keep fighting.”