#15 New Hampshire FCS Football 2013 Preview

George Hammond

New Hampshire Wildcats

Overall Rank: #15
#3 Colonial

New Hampshire Team Page#15 New Hampshire FCS Football 2013 PreviewBuy New Hampshire Football Tickets

The Wildcats enter this fall with a nine-year streak of making the FCS playoffs, the longest in the nation. Veteran coach Sean McDonnell led New Hampshire to a co-CAA title last year and worked with new Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly for eight years while Kelly was on New Hampshire’s staff. The Wildcats were chosen to finish third this year in the CAA preseason media poll.

2012 Record: 8-4, 6-2
2012 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Sean McDonnell (104-66 at New Hampshire, 104-66 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Ryan Carty
Defensive Coordinator: John Lyons

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Nico Steriti, RB, 921 yards
Passing: Andy Vailas, QB, 1,558 yards
Receiving: R.J. Harris, WR, 1,059 yards
Tackles: Manny Asam, DB, 76
Sacks: Cody Muller, DE, 4
Interceptions: Chris Houston, DB, 2; Nick Cefalo, DB, 2; Steven Thames, DB, 2

Other Key Returneees: QB Sean Goldrich, OT Seamus O’Neill, OL Mike Coccia, OT Rob Bowman, TE Harold Spears, WR Jimmy Glansante, DT Matt Kaplan, DE Jay Colbert, DB Tre Williams, K/P Mike MacArthur

Key Losses: OL Chris Zarkoskie, OL Mickey DiLima, WR Joey Orlando, DT Jared Smith, LB Alan Buzbee, LB Matt Evans, CB Dontra Peters

There isn’t a consensus No. 1 quarterback right now, but Sean Goldrich and Andy Vailas have experience unlike last year when both were untested. Vailas is more of a running threat and McDonnell figures to use both. The two QBs will have a strong receiving corps to throw to as R.J. Harris and Jimmy Glansante return as do three members of the Wildcats’ starting offensive front led by tackle Seamus O’Neill.

Statistically, New Hampshire wasn’t strong on defense in 2012, and it has several holes to fill, most notably at linebacker. All-everything Matt Evans, the school’s all-time leading tackler, is gone and so is three-year starter Alan Buzbee. On the defensive front, Jared Smith, a Seattle Seahawks’ draft choice also must be replaced.

The Bottom Line:
With McDonnell at the helm, New Hampshire is a given to be in the CAA title chase each season. It would like to make a deeper run in the playoffs than it has in recent years, but that might be difficult. Although the Wildcats score points at will, the defense must get stronger. Towson shredded it in the regular season finale last year, 64-35 when it rushed for 415 yards. The schedule is difficult, too. New Hampshire opens at Central Michigan, followed by difficult encounters against Patriot League foes Colgate and Lehigh. After that comes a visit to Towson, so if the Wildcats have success this year, they will have earned it. Expect McDonnell and company to find a way and make the playoffs for a 10th straight year.

Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 220.75 (15th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 230.75 (40, 3)
Total Offense: 451.50 (12, 2)
Scoring Offense: 34.08 (16, 2)
Rushing Defense: 188.75 (92, 8)
Pass Defense: 248.67 (101, 11)
Total Defense: 437.42 (103, 9)
Scoring Defense: 30.25 (83, 8)
Turnover Margin: .58 (20, 2)
Sacks: 1.92 (61, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 2.00 (54, 6)

Madness 2013 FCS Football Recruit Rankings:
#45 Jake Kennedy


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