#12 New Hampshire FCS Football 2015 Preview

George Hammond

New Hampshire Wildcats

Overall Rank: #12
#3 CAA

New Hampshire Team Page#12 New Hampshire FCS Football 2015 PreviewBuy New Hampshire Football Tickets

The Wildcats set a school record for wins in a season last year (12) and reached the FCS semifinals for the second consecutive year. They bettered Fordham and Chattanooga in the first two rounds of the playoffs before losing a 21-18 heartbreaker to Illinois State in the semifinals. New Hampshire was picked to finish first last year and went unbeaten in the league to win their third league title under veteran coach Sean McDonnell and their first outright championship since 1994. The Wildcats lost six starters on offense and six on defense from a team that qualified for the FCS playoffs for a nation’s best 11th straight season.

2014 Record: 12-2, 8-0
2014 Postseason: FCS playoff semifinals
Coach: Sean McDonnell (126-73-0 at New Hampshire and overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Ryan Carty
Defensive Coordinator: John Lyons

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Sean Goldrich, QB, 311 yards
Passing: Sean Goldrich, QB, 2,391 yards
Receiving: Jared Allison, WR, 240 yards
Tackles: Akil Anderson, LB, 82
Sacks: Cam Shorey, DE, 2.5
Interceptions: Keith Parkinson, DB, 3

Other Key Returnees: OT Austin Heter, OG, Tad McNeely, OG Alexander Morrill, DT Rashid Armand, CB Casey DeAndrade, SS Daniel Rowe., TE Jordan Powell, WR Mike Kelly, DT Julian Turner.

Key Losses: QB Andy Vailas, OG Rob Bowman, C Mike Coccia, WR Jimmy Giansante, WR R.J. Harris, TE Harold Spears, RB Nico Steriti, S Nick Cefalo, DE Brian Ciccone, DT Matt Kaplan, DE Cody Muller..

It seems as if quarterback Sean Goldrich has been around forever, but with some of the Wildcats’ key graduation losses, it’s a good thing New Hampshire has the fifth-year player at the helm. If the Wildcats are to have another banner year, Goldrich will likely be the one making it happen. He missed five games in the middle of the season last year because of injury and still managed 2,700 total yards – fifth-best in the conference. Three members of the offensive line return: Austin Heter, Tad McNeely (preseason all-CAA first team) and Alexander Morrill so that should help. Defensively, linebacker Akil Anderson and cornerback Casey DeAndrade, both preseason all-CAA picks, should solidify that unit. In addition to DeAndrade, safeties Keith Parkinson (3 interceptions last year) and Daniel Rowe also return to give New Hampshire a solid secondary.

Start at wide receiver where the Wildcats must replace R.J. Harris, the school’s all-time leading receiver in single-season receptions and career catches. In addition, New Hampshire lost wideout Jimmy Giansante and tight end Harold Spears. Combined, those three players caught 186 passes last year. That will be difficult to replace. Plus, the Wildcats lose running back Nico Steriti, who wasn’t flashy but was a solid, dependable running back. Defensively, the big hit was on the front line where New Hampshire must replace end Cody Muller, end Brian Ciccone and tackle Matt Kaplan.

The Bottom Line:
New Hampshire’s streak of 11 straight playoff appearances should continue in 2015. Despite the personnel losses, Goldrich is still the quarterback and McDonnell has shown he’s one of the top coaches in the country. The Wildcats probably missed their chance to reach the FCS national championship last year, but they’re capable of winning a game or two in the postseason. The schedule is doable. New Hampshire opens at San Jose State, then visits Colgate and Stony Brook. The game with Stony Brook will be telling as will the game at William & Mary on Oct. 17. Why? New Hampshire doesn’t meet Villanova or James Madison this year.  

Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 169.5.1 (51st in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 269.0 (22, 3)
Total Offense: 438.5 (26, 4)
Scoring Offense: 36.0 (41, 42  
Rushing Defense: 156.3 (41, 6)
Pass Defense: 209.9 (54, 7)
Total Defense: 366.1 (43, 7)
Scoring Defense: 21.2 (22, 2)
Turnover Margin: .43 (28, 6)
Sacks: 2.79 (15, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 1.93 (54, 4)

Madness 2015 Recruit Rankings:
#58 Joshua Kania


See All FCS Football Top 44 Previews