FOXBOROUGH, MA — As far as University of Massachusetts (Amherst) is concerned, the rivalry with University of New Hampshire is officially over, as the Wildcats walked away with a 27-21 win over the Division I bound Minutemen at Gillette Stadium on Saturday.
“It’s sad. It’s been something special for a long time,” said UNH coach Sean McDonnell, when asked to describe the final meeting between both squads.
The Wildcats started the game with a five-yard touchdown run by Dontra Peters (13 carries, 92-yards) and then converted a two-point conversion thanks to quarterback Kevin Decker, who connected with Brian McNally to give UNH a 8-0 lead.
“We felt we had something,” said McDonnell, when asked about his team’s two-point conversion.
“[We were] going to do things like that [because] it gives us an opportunity to get points on the board [and even win games too].”
UNH then added a late first quarter field goal, which didn’t seem to bother UMass, who scored on a 23-yard touchdown run by Julian Talley, but failed to convert on a two-point conversion. Then, on the ensuing possession, Dontra Peters scored literally two minutes later on a one-yard run, which increased the Wildcats lead to 12-points before the Minutemen registered one more touchdown before halftime.
However, this game of cat and mouse concluded late in the third quarter when UNH expanded its lead on a crucial third-down when Decker connected with Sean Cullen for a 23-yard touchdown. UMass then responded with a nine-minute drive, which resulted in a Kellen Pagel five-yard touchdown run, and another failed PAT.
Afterward, both teams added one field goal each before the regulation clock stuck zero.
UMass Is Ready For Division I Football: Beginning next season, UMass will move on to the MAC, (Mid-American Conference) and based on their coach’s thoughts after the game concluded, the Minutemen aren’t exactly heartbroken over the end of this particular rivalry.
“You move up, [and] move on. We got a future ahead in the MAC Conference. We’ll create some rivalries there,” said UMass head coach Kevin Morris.
Stars of the Colonial Clash:Dontra Peters led the Wildcats with two rushing touchdowns, while quarterback Kevin Decker finished 11-of-15 for 137 yards and one touchdown.
For the Minutemen, Kellen Pagel went 25-of-42 for 249 yards, and Jonathan Hernandez ran for 89 yards and one score. Hernandez had an up and down kind of day where he was a threat at times but was easily wrapped up at other times.
New UNH Rivalry:With UMass gone from the conference, UNH will put the focus on their remaining rival, UMaine.
“All our energy and efforts have to go to the University of Maine it looks like,” said McDonnell.
UMass Return to Gillette Stadium in 2012: UMass meanwhile will be back at Gillette Stadium next year when it becomes their new home stadium.
“We’ll be very excited to make this our home field.” Said Morris.
NEXT UP:UNH will host URI next week while UMass will travel to Richmond next Saturday.
On Wednesday, our friends at the New England Football Writers’ Gridiron Club of Greater Boston announced their week two “Golden Helmet Award” winners, which included University of New Hampshire’s Joey Orlando and Framingham State’s Matt Silva.
Here’s the press release from the luncheon at Harvard University courtesy of Assistant Director of Athletics, Kurt Svoboda:
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – New Hampshire wide receiver Joey Orlando and Framingham State quarterback Matt Silva have been named the New England Football Writers’ Gridiron Club of Greater Boston Gold Helmet Award winners for week two of the 2011 football season.
Orlando, playing in front of his hometown fans in Bethlehem, Pa., scored a career-high three touchdowns to lead New Hampshire over Lehigh, 48-41, in overtime. After catching a touchdown in the second quarter and returning a punt 57 yards for another touchdown in the third, he capped off the day with a 25-yard touchdown reception on the first play of overtime, which proved to be the game winner. Orlando eclipsed his career best with 166 receiving yards on 10 catches. The performance brought him over 1,000 yards receiving for his career.
Framingham State quarterback Matt Silva made the most of his first career collegiate start. The freshman accounted for six Ram touchdowns, five passing and one rushing, in just one half of action as Framingham State cruised past Nichols College, 54-13. He completed all 14 of his pass attempts for 234 yards and picked up 58 yards on five carries. Silva also handled most of the kicking duties for the Rams, making 6-of-7 extra points. The Dracut, Mass. native was award NEFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts.
There’s no doubting that the NCAA’s Division I Football Bowl Subdivision has the best rivalries in terms of national media attention and publicity. There’s also no doubting the top level’s marketability or intensity, but if you’re not willing to plunk down the airfare, hotel, and exorbitant ticket prices for some of those games, here’s a look at some of the local games you might want to check out over the course of the 2011 season, (tournament games excluded).
Maine vs. UNH – First played in 1904, the Battle for the Bryce-Cowell Musket will be contested this year at Cowell Stadium in Durham, NH. With a win this year, Maine would tie the all-time series, (UNH leads the series (44-43-8)). The Huskies of New Hampshire have aspirations to win the Colonial Athletic Association this year, especially as a preseason favorite.
Harvard-Yale or Yale-Harvard, depending on who you root for – commonly referred to as, “The Game,” this rivalry dates back to the late 1800’s. The hatred between Harvard and Yale extends so far beyond the football field to the classroom and beyond. Every year, the students try to one-up the other school, especially after the “We Suck” incident at Harvard Stadium in ’04. Since the Ivy League doesn’t participate in the FCS tournament, this is always the last game of the season and the seniors’ careers. This year it’s in New Haven at the Yale Bowl.
UMass vs. UNH – The teams brought the Colonial Clash to Foxboro last year at Gillette Stadium, but sadly, this rivalry is slowly dwindling down, especially since UMass will be joining the Bowl Subdivision and Mid-American Conference in 2012. The Minutemen lead the series, [43-27-3], and the 2011 game is the final scheduled contest of the season, as well as slated to occur in Foxborough, Massachusetts for the second year in a row.
Bentley College vs. Southern Connecticut State – The Bentley Falcons lost their traditional rival when the Bryant Bulldogs elevated to Division I-FCS, so their Homecoming game is now against SCSU. Last year, Bentley overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Owls, 36-26, on SCSU’s homecoming day. This year, Bentley has a chance to even the all-time series at [7-7] with a win in Waltham.
Stonehill College vs. St. Anselm College – The Ol’ Bronze Hawk game will be contested this year at Stonehill Stadium, as the Skyhawks will host their Hawk counterparts. Stonehill used a 19-point second quarter and 15-point third quarter to defeat St. A’s last year. The Skyhawks also defeated St. A’s, 31-28, two years ago in a last-minute rally.
Bridgewater State University vs. Mass Maritime – The Ocean Spray Cranberry Bowl saw Mass Maritime dominate BSU last season for their first victory in the rivalry in 14 years. The Buccaneers have been resurgent in the past few years, going .500 last season, as well as over .500 in the New England Football Conference. Yet, they also went [2-4] away from Clean Harbors Stadium, which is located directly on the Cape Cod Canal. They’ll make their yearly visit to Bridgewater on November 5.
Williams College vs. Amherst College –Arguably the greatest rivalry outside of Division I, the Ephs and Lord Jeffs represent something that resembles the credits to a Cheers episode. Williams has dominated the rivalry with over 70 wins, but the “Biggest Little Game” in America is always one of the best draws in New England.
UMass Dartmouth vs. Bridgewater State University – When I was at UMD, my roommate was a fullback on the football team. Every day, he’d return to the dorm from practice and state his dislike for Bridgewater. This year, it’s under the lights at Cressy Field in Dartmouth on September 10th. Bridgewater and Dartmouth are separated by about roughly 15 miles, but you can’t find anyone who goes to either school who actually likes one another. This rivalry is brutal.
Boston, MA – Despite beating the number one team in the nation, Boston College last weekend, the Northeastern Huskies came up short against the number one team in Hockey East conference, University of New Hampshire Wildcats, 6-3 on Saturday.
“These guys, [Northeastern] obviously play well, [they] play hard. It was a good win, a solid win for us,” said UNH coach Dick Umile.
In the first period, Northeastern’s offensive chances were limited, but their defense appeared incredibly strong, as well as sophomore goaltender, Chris Rawlings. The Huskies slowly attempted to build momentum, which included a couple of good chances on the power play, but were unsuccessful, as the Wildcats scored during the final minute of the period. Mike Sislo netted the first goal, which was followed up by a second one for New Hampshire during the middle of the second period, as Stevie Moses beat Rawlings for an early, 2-0 lead.
Although, Northeastern’s defenseman, Luke Eibler would get Northeastern back into the game nearly a few minutes after Moses’s goal. Yet, despite getting within one goal, the Wildcats would eventually score again, thanks to a Paul Thompson during the 3 on 3.
The second period also exposed a lack of discipline from the Huskies. Down by two points, Northeastern let their frustration get the better of them with two penalties, which included a slashing call against Eibler.
“The guys did a great job of killing [penalties] until there was just a handful of seconds left which was a shame for those guy who are blocking shots out there” said Northeastern coach Sebastian Laplante.
New Hampshire would add another goal to make it 5-1, which ended Rawlings night between the pipes. He would be replaced by Clay Witt and despite Northeastern’s two more goals during the third period, the Wildcats eventually scored on an empty net to secure the win for their team.
“They got the bounces, they finished their scoring chances while we didn’t capitalize on the ones we had early on and had to play catch up,” said Laplante.
“Tonight we stayed with it and played really well,” said Umile.
Next week, Northeastern will end their regular season with two games against Boston University. While Northeastern will most likely finish sixth in conference play, don’t expect them to pack it in because points are indeed on the line.
“Any time you play a team at the caliber of Boston University you get up for those games” said Laplante. “We’re not really playing for positioning. We’re playing for momentum. We’re playing for confidence and we’re playing to make some damage once we get into the playoffs.”