(Durham NH) Richmond hadn’t won at UNH in twenty-one years.
Richmond was winless in the Colonial Athletic Association and had lost five straight.
Richmond had six turnovers in a loss to Stony Brook last week.
Right on cue, the Spiders fumbled the opening kickoff this afternoon setting up the Wildcats in wonderful field position.
But Richmond (3-5) was able to forget all the bad history and the rocky start and defeat UNH, 35-21, on a nonstop, rainy afternoon at Wildcat Stadium.
The Wildcats (3-5) have now lost five straight.
UNH had the lead, 21-17, after three periods but watched the visitors put up eighteen unanswered points in the final period.
Richmond quarterback Joe Mancuso was the key to the Spiders victory. The redshirt senior had three passing TDs as well as a rushing touchdown and a two-point conversion.
Junior Aaron Dykes was on the payoff end of two of Joe’s passes in the last quarter. His first TD catch gave the Spiders the lead for good, 28-21, with 9:54 left.
Joe Mancuso now has ten passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in 2021.
Aaron Dykes now has four receiving scores.
The UNH pass defense struggled all afternoon surrendering 291 yards and three touchdowns.
But the Wildcats still weren’t out of this one until Aaron Dykes second touchdown gave Richmond a, 35-21, lead with only 3:44 left.
Before that game-sealing score, UNH found ways to put points on the board and you waited for Richmond’s previous futility at UNH to resurface.
The Spiders fumbled the first time they had the ball in the first half and escaped unscathed. They did the same thing in the second half, losing the ball at their own 27, and weren’t so lucky.
UNH quarterback Brody McAndew capped a five-play drive with a seven-yard score and UNH had their first lead of the game, 21-17, at 10:17 of the third quarter.
Seemed like a perfect time for the Spiders to revert to previous form, after all they had lost five straight to UNH. But they didn’t.
The Richmond offense cashed points on three of their first four possessions in the last quarter. The Wildcats, meanwhile, had trouble moving the ball during that same stretch.
Three of the Spiders most notable defenders stepped up to limit the Wildcats. Tyler Dressler (7 solo tackles/8 assists), Tristan Wheeler (5 solo tackles/6 assists), and Kobie Turner (3 solo tackles/5 assists) often ruined UNH’s attempts to consistently move the ball.
Tristan Wheeler is tied for first in the CAA with 9.7 tackles per game.
Freshman Isaac Seide led the UNH rushers with seventy-five yards on nine carries. He also scored his first UNH touchdown on a three-yard sweep to the right corner.
The Wildcats turned a high snap on a punt attempt into points with seconds left in the first half. Aidan Murray recovered the high snap on the Richmond 24. UNH quarterback Bred Edwards then connected with Brian Espanet with three seconds left and the Spiders halftime lead was reduced to, 17-14.
I have to credit the UNH band. They were on the field before the game, and it was raining. They were on the field at halftime, and it was raining. When they weren’t on the field, they were in their section until the very end, and it never stopped raining. Dedication?
The tents on the far end of the field were a life saver for me and my equipment. Hardly anyone in that normally busy area today so I was able to stay dry.
There was an announced crowd of 6,000+. My eyes, however, told me that probably 90% of those folks watched from the more pleasurable confines of home! Good choice.
Thanks to UNH Media Relations director Mike Murphy for arranging my visit.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)