New Hampshire football routs Lafayette, faces UMaine on Dec. 7

New Hampshire Wildcats running back Nico Steriti (22) scores a touchdown during the first half of Saturday's NCAA playoff game against the Lafayette Leopards at Cowell Stadium in Durham, N.H.
Bob DeChiara | USA Today Sports
New Hampshire Wildcats running back Nico Steriti (22) scores a touchdown during the first half of Saturday's NCAA playoff game against the Lafayette Leopards at Cowell Stadium in Durham, N.H.
Posted Nov. 30, 2013, at 7:53 p.m.
New Hampshire Wildcats wide receiver Justin Mello (81) runs with the ball during the second half of Saturday's Football Championship Subdivision first-round game against the Lafayette Leopards at Cowell Stadium in Durham, N.H.
Bob DeChiara | USA Today Sports
New Hampshire Wildcats wide receiver Justin Mello (81) runs with the ball during the second half of Saturday's Football Championship Subdivision first-round game against the Lafayette Leopards at Cowell Stadium in Durham, N.H.

DURHAM, N.H. — Sean Goldrich tossed two touchdown passes and Nick Cefalo returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown as the host Wildcats cruised to victory in the opening round of the FCS playoffs.

Goldrich (15-for-30, 267 yards) connected with wideout R.J. Harris on eight occasions for 173 yards and a touchdown. Dalton Crossan had a rushing and receiving score and Nico Steriti and Chris Setian each rushed for a touchdown for New Hampshire (8-4), which visits fifth-seeded Maine (10-2) on Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. at Alfond Stadium in Orono. The Wildcats posted a 24-3 triumph over the Black Bears last week.

Making its nation-best 10th consecutive FCS postseason appearance, New Hampshire got off on the right foot as Steriti raced to the pylon to score from 1 yard out. Shane McNeely’s sack of Drew Reed forced a fumble nearly six minutes later and Harris scored on the ensuing play with a 22-yard curl route along the left sideline.

Crossan used a nifty move to extend into the end zone to cap a 17-yard score with 12 seconds remaining in the first quarter before Cefalo put the game out of reach early in the second. The junior gave New Hampshire a 28-0 lead after shuffling through the first wave of tacklers on a punt return before bolting up the right sideline for a touchdown.

Blake Seafoss connected with Mike Duncan on a 6-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter for Patriot League champion Lafayette (5-7), which rebounded from a 1-5 start to make the tournament.

 

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