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Allen Lessels on College Football: Wildcats deliver message with thumping of Maine
The Manchester Central and UNH grad, former Wildcat offensive coordinator and Philadelphia Eagles head coach, was in the house to take in the latest triumph by coach Sean McDonnell's team.
UNH needed a win to keep its playoff hopes alive and got one in decisive fashion behind a defense that played its best game in years and an offense that forged a lead when being directed by one of its banged-up quarterbacks, and put it away when led by the other.
"We told the guys this was a team that didn't beat themselves," Lyons said. "We told them we can't beat ourselves with foolish penalties like we've had in some games and we had to get some turnovers. We had to get the ball back to our offense and that's tough against these guys."
Maine senior quarterback Marcus Wasilewski has been the picture of efficiency all season.
He had thrown 23 touchdown passes and had been intercepted just six times coming into the game.
Then numbers had been even more tilted in recent weeks. He had thrown 14 touchdown passes in the course of six games since his last pick on Sept. 28.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Casey DeAndrae picked off a Wasilewski pass late in the first half, but UNH was unable to capitalize on it.
"He doesn't turn the ball over," DeAndrade said. "To get two on him was huge for us."
Steriti scored on the next UNH series to put the game out of reach.
The Wildcats spoiled Maine's bid for CAA perfection and celebrated at midfield with the coveted Brice-Cowell musket that will spend at least another 365 days or so in the UNH locker room until the teams meet late next season in Orono.
They took out the No. 4 team in the country and got to 7-4 overall and 6-2 in the CAA and all that, along with the way they finished out the season should be enough to get them into the FCS tournament for a 10th straight season, they figure.
Kelly addressed the team on the field after practice on Friday night,
Vailas said. Few knew Kelly was around when he stepped up after the captains closed out Senior Week with their post-practice speeches.
They hope the FCS Selection Committee received it.