No. 15/16 New Hampshire Holds Off Rams, 28-14

No. 15/16 New Hampshire Holds Off Rams, 28-14

How It Happened
Rhode Island (1-3, 0-2 CAA Football) put a second-half scare into No. 15/16 New Hampshire, but the duo of Trevor Knight and Neil O'Connor proved too much as the Wildcats held off the Rams 28-14 Saturday afternoon. Knight passes for a career-best 420 yards and three touchdowns, while O'Connor had 11 catches for 232 yards to spark the UNH offense.

New Hampshire (3-1, 2-0 CAA Football) got on the board first when Trevor Knight hit Rory Donovan for a 17-yard touchdown pass with 6:07 left in the opening quarter. Initially ruled incomplete, the play was overruled by replay, as Donovan was just able to get his foot down for the score. The Wildcats got the two-point conversion for the 8-0 lead.

New Hampshire padded the lead in the second quarter when Knight scored on a 6-yard keeper to cap an eight-play, 64-yard drive. The touchdown extended the Wildcat lead to 15-0.

The Wildcats appeared to have a touchdown on their opening drive of the third, but an illegal forward pass by Knight negated the score. Three plays later, Kwadir Brown intercepted Knight at the Rhode Island 5-yard line to get the Rams' first takeaway of the game.

Rhode Island used the stop to create momentum, scoring 14 unanswered points. Aaron Parker caught a 75-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Harris to pull Rhody within 15-7 with 3:50 left in the third. After a defensive stop, the Rams drove 49 yards in nine plays, with Harold Cooper running in from 14 yards out. The ensuing extra point made it 15-14 with 12:40 to go.

On its ensuing possession, New Hampshire faced a third-and-11 at its own 24-yard line. Knight hit Neil O'Connor for a 76-yard touchdown pass. The quick strike helped the Wildcats go back up by eight points, 22-14. Knight later added another touchdown pass when he escaped a sack and found Malik Love for a 24-yard strike. The extra point failed, making the score 28-14 with 8:26 remaining.

Inside the Box Score

  • Sophomore Aaron Parker caught a 75-touchdown pass in the third quarter, his sixth straight game with a score. The streak matches the second-longest streak in school history. Dameon Reilly had a six-game streak in 1985, and Bobby Apgar did the same in 1995. Apgar holds the school record with a seven-game streak in 1994.
  • Parker also notched his second straight 100-yard receiving game, catching five passes for a career-best 119 yards. 
  • Junior linebacker Justin Hogan finished the game with 10 tackles. It was the fourth time in his career he has recorded at least 10 tackles in a game.
  • Sophomore cornerback Kwadir Brown made his first career start and finished with a career-high seven tackles and his first career interception.
  • Junior defensive end Tez Wilson had six tackles, including two sacks.
  • Sophomore Brandon Ginnetti recorded his third sack of the season. He finished with four tackles.
  • Sophomore defensive tackle Raees Johnson had four tackles, including one for a loss.
  • Senior Harold Cooper finished the game with 171 all-purpose yards, giving him 4,084 for his career. He became the seventh player in program history to reach 4,000 career all-purpose yards.
  • Cooper also topped 100 all-purpose yards for the eighth straight game and the 21st time in his career.
  • Freshman Justice Antrum made his collegiate debut, finishing the game with two rushes for eight yards.
  • Freshman punter Satchel Denton continued his strong season, punting seven times for 275 yards. He placed two punts inside the UNH 20-yard line, including a 48-yard boot in the second quarter that was downed at the 3-yard line. Denton also drew a roughing the kicker penalty for the third time in four games.
  • Through the first four games, Rhode Island has scored five touchdowns of 51 yards or longer. The Rams had zero such plays last season.
  • UNH had a 10-2 advantage in first downs in the first quarter. The Wildcats averaged 8.1 yards on first downs in the opening quarter.
  • For the first time this season, Rhode Island started in a four-receiver set, as Aaron Parker, Khayri Denny, Marven Beauvais and Isaiah Coulter all started.
  • Sophomore Kyle Murphy served as the team's anchor bearer, while senior Ezra Holmes was the today's game captain.
  • Rhode Island's RECON-RAM Player of the Week were freshmen quarterback Jahkari Grant and safety Henry Yianakopolos.
  • Wildcat quarterback Trevor Knight passes for a career-high 420 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for one touchdown and one two-point conversion.
  • The announced attendance was 22,135, the largest home crown in New Hampshire history.

Stat of the Game
6 - Aaron Parker has caught a touchdown pass in six consecutive games, dating back to last season. He has caught a touchdown pass in seven of his last eight games overall. 

What's Next
Rhode Island takes on in-state rival Brown in the annual Governor's Cup game Saturday, Sept. 30. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.