New Hampshire 2014 FCS Football Playoff Capsule

George Hammond

New Hampshire Wildcats


After losing the opener to FBS Toledo, the Wildcats ran off ten consecutive victories this season – the longest single-season streak in school history. The Wildcats are making their 11th straight playoff appearance, the longest active streak in the nation. Their success this fall comes as no surprise as they were picked to finish first in the CAA in the league’s preseason poll. Last year, New Hampshire advanced to the national semifinals for the first time before being ousted by North Dakota State, 52-14. The Wildcats knocked off Maine, 41-27, and Southeastern Louisiana, 20-17, in the earlier rounds.

2014 Record: 10-1, 8-0
Coach: Sean McDonnell

Big Wins: 9/20 at Richmond (29-26), 11/15 Delaware (43-14)
Bad Losses: 8/30 at Toledo (20-54)

The Wildcats have a lot of weapons, starting with R.J. Harris. The senior wideout has gone over 1,000 yards in receiving in each of the last three seasons, and he became the first Wildcat to surpass 200 receiving yards in a game (Rhode Island) this year for the first time since 2004. Junior quarterback Sean Goldrich, who got hurt in the Richmond game on September 20th, made his return on November 8th against Rhode Island and promptly threw for 330 yards. But even in Goldrich’s absence, the Wildcats didn’t miss a beat as senior Andy Vailas directed the attack. Besides Harris, senior tight end Harold Spears is a key weapon. And if New Hampshire doesn’t hurt you through the air, it will rely on Nico Steriti, the senior running back who while not flashy is a workhorse. Steriti is in the school’s top ten for career rushing yardage. Defensively, linebackers Shane McNeely and junior Akil Anderson lead the unit as the No. 1 and No. 2 tacklers, respectively. Senior Brad Pesky gives New Hampshire a strong punt game as he is averaging over 40 yards per punt.

The Wildcats don’t have many, but Toledo, Richmond and Stony Brook found a few as they were the opponents to score more than 20 against New Hampshire. In fact, Richmond put up 348 yards through the air against New Hampshire. The Wildcats are yielding more than 200 yards passing per game. To really nit-pick, the Wildcats are near the bottom nationally in red zone defense. On a more serious note, New Hampshire’s kicking game doesn’t appear to be as strong as other teams. Kicker Christian Breda is just 5-of-10 in field goals and 35-of-41 in PATs.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Jimmy Owens, RB, 567 yards
Passing: Sean Goldrich, QB, 1,709 yards
Receiving: R.J. Harris, WR, 1,220
Tackles: Akil Anderson, LB, 63
Sacks: Cody Muller, DL, 7.5
Interceptions: Keith Parkinson, DB, 3

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 174.4 (52nd in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 288.1 (11, 2)
Total Offense: 462.5 (20, 3)
Scoring Offense: 38.7 (12, 2)
Rushing Defense: 152.2 (40, 6)
Pass Defense: 207.2 (56, 6)
Total Defense: 359.4 (39, 5)
Scoring Defense: 21.5 (27, 4)
Turnover Margin: 0.90 (13, 4)
Sacks: 2.30 (42, 7)
Sacks Allowed: 1.90 (51, 2)

Recent Playoff Appearances:
2013    First Round    Defeated Lafayette
2013    Second Round    Defeated Maine
2013    Quarterfinals    Defeated Southeastern Louisiana
2013    Semifinals    Lost to North Dakota State
2012    Second Round    Lost to Wofford
2011    Second Round    Lost to Montana State
2010    Second Round    Defeated Bethune-Cookman
2010    Quarterfinals    Lost to Delaware
2009    First Round    Defeated McNeese State
2009    Quarterfinals    Lost to Villanova
2008    First Round    Defeated Southern Illinois
2008    Quarterfinals    Lost to Northern Iowa
2007    First Round    Lost to Northern Iowa
2006    First Round    Defeated Hampton
2006    Quarterfinals    Lost to Massachusetts
2005    First Round    Defeated Colgate
2005    Quarterfinals    Lost to Northern Iowa
2004    First Round    Defeated Georgia Southern
2004    Quarterfinals    Lost to Montana
1994    First Round    Lost to Appalachian State
1991    First Round    Lost to Samford

*all team stats through 11/15


Playoff Central