December 7, 2013

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: UNH ends magical run for Black Bears in NCAA playoffs

Wildcats beat Maine in 1st playoff game at Orono

By Glenn Jordan gjordan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

New Hampshire quarterback Sean Goldrich (5) scrambles past Maine defensive lineman Patrick Ricard (44) during the first half of an NCAA football playoff game, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Orono, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

“We practiced that all week,” Goldrich said. “Fortunately enough they were in the exact defense we wanted them to be, so I just went inside out, found R.J. in the hole, and tried to get him the ball.”

“Broke our backs,” Cosgrove said. “That was a big-time throw and catch; it really was.”

Six more plays, all on first or second down, continued what would be an 87-yard scoring drive capped by Chris Setian’s 12-yard touchdown run.

New Hampshire led 34-20 with less than seven minutes remaining.

Another Setian touchdown run, of 7 yards, made it 41-20 with less than three minutes left.

Wasilewski led one final scoring drive, connecting with senior tight end Justin Perillo for his only two catches of the day, the second good for 18 yards and a touchdown with 21 seconds remaining.

At 41-27, Decloux’s onside kick attempt was fielded by Mello, who broke through Maine’s initial line of defense and saw a clear path to the end zone, but opted instead to drop to his knee rather than run toward the end zone.

“Great atmosphere to play football in,” said New Hampshire Coach Sean McDonnell, whose team reached the postseason for a 10th year in a row, best in the nation. “I can’t tell you enough what it’s like to have a Maine-New Hampshire football game in December. Everything about it was awesome.”

The loss brought an emotional end to the collegiate careers of a Maine senior class that arrived on campus in 2009, reached the national quarterfinals in 2011 and at 10-1 this year, got off to the best start in the program’s 121 years.

The nearly 8,000 who showed their appreciation on a clear but bitterly cold day in December did not go unnoticed.

“To walk out there and see that kind of support when it’s, I don’t even know how cold it is out,” Wasilewski said of temperatures that dropped into the 20s in the second half and a wind-chill factor that made it seem even colder.

“To have that kind of support, to have that energy from students, parents, alumni, whoever you want to say was there (Saturday), they showed up. That was the loudest we can ever remember it here.

“To look back as a senior, and I think I can speak for all the seniors here, to remember that as our last game at home, with that kind of crowd, with that kind of atmosphere, is really something to cherish.”

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