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December 19. 2013 11:26PM

Allen Lessels' UNH Notebook: Kicking game could play crucial role for UNH

FARGO, N.D. -- The University of New Hampshire had a rough time in the kicking department in last week's 20-17 FCS quarterfinal win at Southeastern Louisiana.

The Lions blocked two Mike MacArthur field goal attempts and an extra point try.

The problems last week were the result of missed blocks and a mishandled snap and were addressed and practiced this week, said UNH coach Sean McDonnell.

"The field goal thing is simple," he said. "One guy missed the first block and another guy missed the second. Then we bobbled a snap. My whole thing with it is understanding what you have to do. We've had the same field goal in for four years and we haven't had a problem with it."

It came down to execution.

"They were good at what they did and we didn't execute with our technique," McDonnell said. "When you do that, problems are going to happen."

UNH also gave up a long punt return and a long kickoff return.

"We can't have that happen (on Friday), a whole lot," McDonnell said of the miscues. "If we do, it will be loud and it will be exciting in here"

Two years ago, UNH lost a 26-25 game in the final seconds at Montana State when a MacArthur conversion kick to send it to overtime was partially blocked and bounced off an upright and away.

MacArthur, the senior out of North Hampton and Winnacunnet High School of Hampton, hit on 11 straight field goals this season through Nov. 23. He is 15-for-20 for the year and is UNH's career field goal leader with 51.



The winner of Friday night's game advances to the national championship game in Frisco, Texas, on Jan. 4 at 2 p.m.

The winner of the UNH-North Dakota State game will play the winner of Saturday's Towson at Eastern Washington semifinal contest. . . . No. Dakota State beat Sam Houston State in the championship game in 2011 (17-6) and 2012 (39-13). . . . The Bison moved up from Div. II and were eligible for the national tournament for the first time in 2008.

They were 6-5 that year and 3-8 the next and have made the tournament the last four years. They lost in the quarterfinals in 2010 and then won their two titles.

alessels@unionleader.com


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