Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Minutemen blown out by New Hampshire at Gillette Stadium

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Gillette Stadium provided a brand new setting for college football on Saturday and a rivalry which dates back over 100 years, as the Massachusetts football team met with New Hampshire.

However, a familiar set of miscues led to a UMass loss to the Wildcats, despite a record-setting performance by its quarterback.

The No. 12 Minutemen (4-3, 2-2 Colonial Athletic Association) lost the turnover battle and the lead in the first half, as No. 10 UNH (5-3, 3-2 CAA) won the first inaugural Colonial Clash, 39-13, in Foxborough, Mass.

“Unfortunately we didn’t play up to the venue today,” UMass coach Kevin Morris said. “New Hampshire took advantage of all mistakes and that’s the ballgame.”

The Revolutionary War replicas, which fire off blank musket rounds after the home team scores during New England Patriot games, used much of their ammo for UNH on Saturday, as it scored 29 unanswered points to begin the game.

In a meeting that featured the top two passers in the CAA, UMass quarterback Kyle Havens threw for a school record of 450 yards on 32-of-55 passing with two touchdowns and one interception.

Havens broke the UMass single-game passing record, set by Liam Coen (421 yards) in an FCS quarterfinal playoff loss against Southern Illinois on Dec. 1, 2007. His career-high performance comes on the heels of his worst game of the season against Richmond, when he threw for 78 yards and one touchdown on 12-of-22 passing.

After the game, Havens wasn’t aware that he made his mark in the Minutemen record book, but was more concerned with his team’s loss.

“I didn’t know I did that, but we lost, so I could care less,” Havens said of his record-setting performance.
R.J. Toman finished 17-of-26 with 175 yards for the Wildcats, threw for one touchdown and rushed for two.
Minutemen wide receiver Anthony Nelson caught a career-high 11 passes for 190 yards while wide receiver

Julian Talley had eight catches for 111 yards and one touchdown.

UNH Sophomore linebacker Matt Evans won the Bill Knight Award for the Most Valuable Player of the game, leading a stymieing defense with 13 tackles and an interception.

The Wildcats pounced on the UMass rushing attack and took advantage of two early turnovers, taking a 15-0 lead in the second quarter.

The Minutemen forced a UNH punt on its first series after an eight-play drive stalled at the UMass 48-yard line. Wildcat punter Kyle Auffray lofted a kick right, landing just inside the 20-yard line.

Strong safety and special teams player Shane Viveiros engaged in a block near the right sideline and got in the way of the ball, muffing the punt, which was recovered by New Hampshire’s Nico Steriti.

The Wildcats scored four plays later on a Toman touchdown rush from the 1-yard line. A Kevin Decker throw to Chris Chandler gave UNH a two-point conversion and an 8-0 lead.

Tailback John Griffin and the UMass running game struggled all day, gaining 43 net yards and fumbling away the ball in the second quarter, leading to a second Wildcat score.

Next, a UNH three-and-out gave the Minutemen the ball back with 10 minutes, 58 seconds left in the second quarter and the ball at their own 41-yard line. After a 21-yard Havens completion on 1st-and-10, he and Griffin mishandled an exchange in the backfield and Brian McNally picked up the fumble.

The turnover led to a three-yard touchdown run by Dontra Peters (23 carries, 98 yards, two touchdowns) at the 5:44 mark.

The Minutemen were held to under 100 yards for the first time this season by a Wildcat team which ranks seventh in the CAA for rushing defense (136.1 yards allowed per game).

Junior Jonathan Hernandez led UMass with 50 yards on 12 carries while senior John Griffin managed five yards on seven touches.

The Wildcats had their longest drive of the game in third quarter, marching 99 yards in 10 plays for a one-yard Toman touchdown run with 7:37 to go.

UNH pushed its lead to 29-0 later in the quarter on an 11-yard Toman pass to wide receiver Joey Orlando.
UMass scored its first touchdown with 10:28 left in the game. Tight end Rob Blanchflower scored a touchdown off a fumble by Nelson at the Wildcat 1-yard line, but the Minutemen failed on their two-point conversion attempt.

Saturday’s crowd was the largest ever in attendance for a CAA football game at 32,848. It was the second time that UNH played at a professional stadium this season (Heinz Field on Sept. 11 being its first) and the first for UMass since it played at Foxboro Stadium on Nov. 2, 1991.

Junior linebacker and captain Tyler Holmes (12 tackles, one sack) spoke to his team’s excitement for playing in the venue and their dissatisfaction with the result.

“Most of us could only dream about playing in an NFL stadium,” Holmes said. “We’re [disappointed] that we didn’t live up to the hype today.”

Dan Gigliotti can be reached at [email protected].

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