action:article | category:SPORTS22 | adString:SPORTS22 | zoneID:40

Home » Sports » College Sports

November 23. 2013 2:21AM

Allen Lessels on College Football: Mission for UNH is to slow the Maine threat

The University of New Hampshire football team needs to beat Maine at Cowell Stadium today to have any shot at playing next Saturday or beyond.

To knock off the Black Bears, the Wildcats must find a way to at least slow senior quarterback Marcus Wasilewski, the guy who makes the Maine offense go.

“He’s something else,” said UNH coach Sean McDonnell. “He’s been effective as all get-out.”

Wasilewski and a tough defense have led Maine to a 10-1 overall record and the No. 4 FCS ranking in the country.

The Black Bears are 7-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association, have already won the regular season championship outright, and are looking to close out the first perfect season in the league since James Madison ran the table in 2008.

UNH is ranked No. 21 in one poll, No. 24 in another, and is 6-4 overall and 5-2 in the CAA. The Wildcats must get to 7-4 and then hope they hear their name called as one of 13 at-large invitees to the 24-team FCS tournament during a selection show on ESPNU on Sunday morning at 11:30.


Andy Vailas, a junior from Bedford, was getting most of the work with the UNH starters at quarterback during practice this week.

Sophomore Sean Goldrich, who started last week’s game at Albany, continues to deal with injured ribs.

There’s no question about the Maine starter at quarterback.

The Black Bears have thrown 334 passes this year and all but seven of them have come from Wasilewski’s right hand. He’s completed 228 of his 327 passes (69.7 percent) for 2,789 yards and 23 touchdowns with six interceptions.

“He’s very good at reading what a defense is doing and he’ll run plays to counter what we’re trying to do,” said UNH senior strong safety Manny Asam. “We’ve got to try and confuse him and get him to make some mistakes, get his eyes in the wrong places. He’s very good. They’ve won because of him not making mistakes and that’s what we have to try and do, get him to make some mistakes and then get some turnovers.”

It won’t be easy.

Wasilewski has thrown the six picks, but the last came on Sept. 28 against Richmond. In his last six games, the quarterback has completed 124 of his 170 passes for 14 touchdowns and has not been intercepted.

The Black Bears lead the league in turnover margin at plus-seven and have not turned the ball over a single time in the last four games.

The Wildcats have been securing the ball better in the second half of the season and have their turnover margin up to plus-2.

They turned it over three times in a 17-10 loss at William & Mary three weeks ago. But in four of their last five games, besides that one, they have a single turnover total.

UNH hopes to take advantage of playing at home. The Wildcats are 4-0 at Cowell this season and 23-2 in their last 25 at the stadium.

UNH has won nine of the last 10 games in the series and thus has had the Brice-Cowell Musket that goes to the winner of the series in its locker room the vast majority of the time in the last decade.

Maine last beat UNH, 16-13 in overtime, in Orono in 2010 and its last win in Durham came in 2001, 57-24.

- - -  - - - - - - -

DARTMOUTH, 5-4 overall and 4-2 in the Ivy League, closes out the season at home against Princeton, 8-1 and 6-0, today at 1:30.

The Tigers have clinched at least a share of the Ivy title and will win it outright with a win against Dartmouth or Harvard loss at Yale.

The Big Green are looking for their second straight 6-4 overall record and third in the last four years.

Director of athletics Harry Sheehy said this week that he liked the direction the program was heading and that Buddy Teevens will be returning as coach next season.

Sophomore quarterback Dalyn Williams has completed 143 of his 250 passes for 1,681 yards and 10 touchdowns with three interceptions.

alessels@unionleader.com


 NH Sports Angle more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

Former New Hampshire goalie DeSmith tells his side of arrest, dismissal from team

NH hockey team moving to Maine could be worth at least $1 million in economic activity say city officials

New owners of Claremont plan to put speedway back on track

Speedway in Claremont bought for nearly $519,000

Lebanon marathoner qualifies for US Olympic Trials

Matt Bonner talks about the end of the run, making the simple play, and playing until he's 40

Ex-UNH goalie agrees to diversion,receive counseling, avoids jail

Wildcats will face Chattanooga in prime time

New England Revolution forward Charlie Davies teaches supporters how to believe

Helmetless Football? Its the new practice at UNH

CASEY DeSMITH

DeSmith officially dismissed from New Hampshire team, but can return to class as of Dec. 20

San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner (15), of Concord, N.H., shoots the ball against Boston Celtics center Tyler Zeller (44) during the second half at TD Garden.

Rapper Lil B gives shoutout to…Matt Bonner?

Manchester Central's Tyler Stratton watches his shot get by Spaulding High School (Rochester) goalie Derek Scott during a shootout at the 2012 Bauer Christmas Hockey Classic hosted at JFK Coliseum in Manchester.

VFW downsizing threatens Spaulding hockey due to loss of venue for Bingo fundraisers

Eagles notes: Kelly committed to current job

5 face riot charges in beating incident at football game

Ayotte rips top sports league commissioners for snubbing hearing on domestic violence

Manchester Monarchs sign Josh Gratton to AHL contract

Can football without helmets lead to fewer concussions?

Trial date set for former UNH hockey coach accused of assaulting player

Sudanese runner with NH ties hoping to crowdfund way to 2016 Olympics

Former Wildcat van Riemsdyk undergoes successful surgery

Monadnock Speedway driver captures first Granite State NASCAR title

CASEY DeSMITH

Star goaltender DeSmith no longer on NH roster after assault charge

MORE

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
    

    SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

    ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!