College Football: UNH, William & Mary both need a win
DURHAM — The last time the University of New Hampshire football team won at William & Mary, running back Jerry Azumah carried the football 35 times for 235 yards, a number that broke a record and made him the all-time leading rusher in the FCS at that point.
It was October 1998. Sean McDonnell was the offensive coordinator then and became the head coach the next spring when Bill Bowes resigned after 27 years as the boss.
Azumah, who closed out with 6,193 career rushing yards and went on to play defensive back for the Chicago Bears in the National Football League, was within a few weeks of closing out his illustrious run at the school.
The Wildcats whooped it up after helping Azumah to the national record.
“That locker room was pretty cool,” McDonnell said this week. “There haven’t been many wins against them. But you remember that one. The kids were excited. That’s what makes this profession special some times. We weren’t having a great season, but Jerry was having a great season and it was great to see the kids enjoying that.”
The Wildcats hope to be whooping it up in a locker room at Zable Stadium again late this afternoon.
UNH is 4-3 overall and 3-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association and ranked No. 16 in the country. William & Mary is 5-3 and 2-2. Both need a win to keep their playoff hopes on a fast track.
The Wildcats are looking for their fourth straight win.
After starting the season 1-3, they put up a season-high 574 yards of offense in a 59-19 win over Rhode Island and used a 99-yard drive early in the fourth period and a last-minute march to upend Villanova, 29-28.
Last week, sophomore quarterback Sean Goldrich teamed with senior wide receiver Justin Mello for three passing touchdowns in a 31-13 win over Stony Brook.
“They look to be as explosive as ever,” said William & Mary coach Jimmye Laycock. “Their offense is always a challenge to try to defend because of the multiple things they do, play-wise. It’s the misdirection. They move it all around and really make you defend the whole field. They certainly know how to win. The way they came back and got the win against Villanova, that was impressive.”
UNH puts its second-in-the-league scoring average of 35.4 points a game up against William & Mary’s top scoring defense that has allowed 14 points a contest.
The Wildcats are third in total offense at 460 yards a game and the Tribe allows a league-low 302.9 yards.
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Dartmouth hopes to make a move in the Ivy League when it plays at Harvard tonight at 5. Both teams are 2-1 in the league and they’re tied for third behind Princeton and Penn, which is 3-0.
The Big Green are 3-3 overall and Harvard is 5-1.
The Crimson have won the last nine games in the series. Dartmouth’s last win was a 30-16 decision at Harvard Stadium in 2003.
Harvard lost to Princeton, 51-48 in three overtimes, last Saturday.
Dartmouth is coming off a 56-0 win over Columbia at home. Sophomore linebacker Will McNamara returned a pair of interceptions for touchdowns for the Big Green.
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Plymouth State, 1-6 overall and 0-5 in the MASCAC, will try to snap a five-game losing streak in its final home game of the season against Worcester State today at 1 p.m. on Currier Field. The Lancers are 3-4 and 1-4 and have lost three straight.
Rob Giles, Plymouth State’s junior kicker out of Derry and Pinkerton Academy, was named Special Teams’ Player of the Week in the MASCAC. He kicked field goals of 39, 31 and 38 yards to account for all the Panther points in last week’s 41-9 loss to Framingham State.