New Hampshire FCS Football 2012 Playoff Capsule

George Hammond

New Hampshire Wildcats


This is the ninth consecutive year that New Hampshire has made the playoffs — tops in the nation, and the Wildcats would love to get a home game where they are 29-3 at Cowell Stadium since 2007. A victory over a team that was 2-7 might not sound like a big deal, but for the Wildcats, their 28-25 triumph November 3rd over William & Mary snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Tribe. It also was Coach Sean McDonnell’s first win over William & Mary. New Hampshire entered the Towson game on a six-game winning streak, but the Tigers put an end to that streak.

2012 Record: 8-3, 6-2
Coach: Sean McDonnell

Big Wins: 9/13 Richmond (44-40), 11/3 William & Mary (28-25)
Bad Losses: 9/8 at Minnesota (7-44), 9/22 at Old Dominion (61-64)

One of the most balanced teams in the nation, New Hampshire is number eight in total offense (483.50 yards). The Wildcats are 12th in rushing offense and 29th in passing offense. After being hurt earlier in the year, freshman Sean Goldrich has returned at quarterback to lead the potent attack. Senior middle linebacker Matt Evans is the FCS active leader in career tackles with 449 and solo tackles with 256. He became the school’s all-time leading tackler in the William & Mary contest. Meanwhile, R.J. Harris needed just 39 receiving yards in the Towson game to become New Hampshire’s first 1,000-yard receiver since 2008 and only the fifth receiver in school history to reach that plateau. However, he only got 20 receiving yards. The Wildcats are converting third downs 49.3 percent of the time.

Of course, Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke torched a lot of teams this fall, but he really torched the Wildcats. Heinicke threw for more than 700 yards against New Hampshire in a wild 64-61 victory. Those gaudy numbers contributed to the Wildcats’ dismal ranking in pass defense. New Hampshire is 115th nationally, yielding 271.40 yards a game. In addition, the Wildcats are 91st in total defense. In that ODU loss, New Hampshire saw a 23-point margin disappear, so teams can throw on them.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Nico Steriti, RB, 870 yards
Passing: Andy Vailas, QB, 1,506 yards
Receiving: R.J. Harris, WR, 981 yards
Tackles: Matt Evans, LB, 115
Sacks: Jared Smith, DT, 4.0
Interceptions: Dontra Peters, DB, 4

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 237.20 (12th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 246.30 (29, 3)
Total Offense: 483.50 (8, 2)
Scoring Offense: 36.70 (11, 2)
Rushing Defense: 139.60 (40, 4)
Pass Defense: 271.40 (115, 10)
Total Defense: 411.00 (91, 9)
Scoring Defense: 27.60 (63, 8)
Turnover Margin: 1.00 (7, 2)
Sacks: 2.10 (45, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 1.70 (42, 6)

Recent Playoff Appearances:
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 11/10


Playoff Central