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Allen Lessels' College Football: UNH gridders can't hang on against Central Michigan
Keith Charles makes his way up field in the first half during Saint Anselm's matchup against Bowie State on Saturday afternoon at Grappone Stadium in Goffstown. (Bruce Preston / Union Leader)
The University of New Hampshire football team, looking for its first win against a Football Bowl Subdivision team since 2009, came up just short in Mount Pleasant, Mich., on Saturday afternoon.
St. Anselm and Plymouth State both lost their season openers at home on Saturday, but they had this in common, too: They had much more competitive games to start out than a year ago.
"I expect we're going to run hard to the football," he said. "We've been preaching it and have done it since last spring. I'd be shocked and disappointed if we didn't do that."
In the meantime, quarterback Andy Vailas, the junior out of Bedford, and the UNH offense were chipping - sorry - away at the Chippewas.
The Wildcats came up with a super goal line stand to keep the Chips off the scoreboard early in the third period.
UNH answered with a nice drive and a Nico Steriti 2-yard TD run and Vailas conversion run to push it back to 21-7 in the first minute of the fourth quarter.
UNH had Central Michigan pinned deep after a Brad Prasky punt, but Davis got behind the defense and Rush hit him in stride for what turned into a 97-yard touchdown play to tie it with 9:08 left.
The Wildcats were at the Central Michigan 21-yard line with a third-and-one, but an exchange between Vailas and Steriti got botched and the Chippewas recovered.
Bowie St. 35, St. Anselm 31
The Hawks kept pace with the Bulldogs through three periods and it was 28-28 with 15 minutes to play. Bowie pulled away with a pair of touchdowns in the fourth period.
Sophomore quarterback Andrew Murphy, outstanding as a rookie last year, completed 19 of his 39 passes for 165 yards and three touchdowns and also had two passes intercepted.
Junior Justin Bernard had seven catches for 29 yards and a pair of scores.
The Panthers took a 31-28 lead on a 30-yard field goal by Rob Giles, a junior out of Pinkerton Academy in Derry, with 10:53 left in the game.
Castleton went back the other way and Elias LaCount scored the winning points with his third short rushing touchdown of the day, from 4 yards out, with just under nine minutes left to play.
Senior quarterback Jake Tyler completed 12 of his 16 passes for 194 yards and led the Panthers to 451 yards of total offense. PSU averaged 238.9 yards a game last season.