By Matt Noonan
For the University of New Haven, Saturday’s NCAA Division II second-round setback to Kutztown University was not an ideal way to conclude an impressive season.
New Haven entered their second postseason contest with a great deal of momentum. But their offense, which has been a unit to watch this fall, struggled against a Golden Bears defense that has limited opponents to roughly two touchdowns per game.
The Chargers produced one touchdown on 48 plays and were held to a season-low 59 rushing yards. Quarterback Connor Degenhardt completed 13 of 22 passes for 97 yards and was sacked twice while Jake Conlan registered 24 yards on six carries, including an eight-yard score late in the final session that brought the visitors within three points (10-7) with 3:10 remaining.
Conlan’s lone touchdown did not spark a comeback as Kutztown’s offense picked up two first downs on its final series to clinch their first-ever win against New Haven to secure a date with Shepherd University this Saturday, December 4 in the quarterfinals.
While New Haven’s offense struggled, its defense played well. The unit sacked Kuztown quarterback Eric Nickel five times and limited Jerome Kapp to a season-low 21 receiving yards.
Kutztown concluded the game with 230 yards of total offense.
“They were great the entire day,” said New Haven coach Chris Pincince of his team’s defense.
Indeed, New Haven’s defense looked great against a Kutztown offense that recorded a season-low 10 points, but sadly, the effort did not translate to Chargers’ offense or special teams.
Despite the setback, the Chargers were a great story this fall. The Blue and Gold produced 10 wins in 12 games to match their win total from 2012. Additionally, they captured their fourth Northeast-10 Conference (NE10) crown — their first since 2012 — and beat Bentley University not once, but twice.
New Haven will once again be a team to watch — and yes, follow — next fall, but will lose some key pieces to graduation, especially on the offensive and defensive lines.
“I thought as a group, we accomplished some of our goals,” said Pincince. “I am excited for the future as long as some of these guys are coming back.”