UNH looks to break William & Mary curse
Published: Friday, November 2, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
Coming off of a perfect 4-0 October, the No. 11 University of New Hampshire Wildcats will host the William & Mary Tribe on Saturday, Nov. 3 at Cowell Stadium. This will be the 16th time these two teams meet, with the Tribe dominating the Wildcats in that time with a record of 13-2. The Wildcats are yet to beat the Tribe since Sean McDonnell was named head coach in 1999.
The Tribe is 2-6 overall this season, but McDonnell says that their record does not reflect the strength and ability the team will bring on Saturday.
“[This] isn’t a 2-6 football team in our eyes,” McDonnell said. “When you look at what’s going on, they’re a much better team than their record indicates.
“Whether they’re 2-6 or 6-2, we have not beaten this football team.”
The Tribe suffered losses to Lafayette and Towson, each by only three points, as well as one-point losses to Maryland and James Madison (a game that went into two overtimes). That is four losses by a total of eight points.
Sophomore quarterback Raphael Ortiz, who is 10th in the conference in terms of total offense with 154 yards per game, will lead the Tribe offense.
Watch for sophomore wide receiver Tre McBride to be Ortiz’s main target in the game. Tre McBride has reeled in 43 receptions for 668 yards this season with five touchdowns. Tre McBride is third in the conference in terms of receiving yards per game with 83.5.
Keith McBride (no relation to Tre McBride) leads the ground attack for the Tribe with 74 rushing yards per game, eighth in the conference.
On the defensive side of the football, redshirt freshman and middle linebacker Luke Rhodes leads the squad and is ranked fifth in the conference with 8.1 tackles per game.
The Tribe defense is currently ranked third in the CAA, allowing on average 333.6 yards per game. Their pass defense alone is ranked second in the conference.
For the Wildcats, Sean Goldrich will get the start at quarterback, but Andy Vailas is expected to play as well. Last week against the Rhode Island Rams, Goldrich played the majority of the game, but the quarterback attack was two headed with Vailas making contributions to the win as well.
“Both the kids deserve to play,” McDonald said. “They both bring you something different to the table, in a lot of ways.”
Against the Rams, Goldrich threw for 245 yards and a touchdown, as well as tacking on 24 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. Vailas threw four passes for three completions with one touchdown.
Following the game on Saturday, the Wildcats will have a Bye week and then will play Towson at Cowell Stadium for the regular season closer.
For now though, the team remains focused on this Saturday’s game with William & Mary, a week-to-week mentality they have kept for the entire season.
“It’s the biggest game because it’s the next one,” junior defensive tackle Sean McCann said.
Senior linebacker and team captain Matt Evans is seven tackles away from matching Steve Doig’s record for all-time tackles in UNH football history. Evans currently leads the CAA with 427 career tackles.
Sophomore wide receiver R.J. Harris is 116 receiving yards away from being the fifth Wildcat of all time to have a 1,000 yard-season.
William & Mary is the only team to beat UNH at Cowell Stadium since the beginning of the 2008 season.
The Wildcats were 4-0 in October. The last time the Wildcats had a perfect October was in 2007. They have done this three times in the last 19 seasons.