UNH-Wofford showdown to feature the offenses
The Sports Network
Date & Time: Saturday, Dec. 1, 2 p.m. ET
Facts & Stats: Site: Gibbs Stadium (13,000) -- Spartanburg, S.C. Surface: Grass. Television: ESPN3.com. Announcers: Mike Gleason, Rocky Boiman, Rontina McCann. Home Record: New Hampshire 4-1; Wofford 5-0: Away Record: New Hampshire 4-2; Wofford 3-3. Series Record: First meeting. Conference: New Hampshire - Colonial Atlantic Athletic Association; Wofford - Southern. Nicknames: New Hampshire Wildcats; Wofford Terriers. Sports Network FCS Ranking: New Hampshire (11); Wofford (9). NCAA Playoff Seedings: New Hampshire (NS); Wofford (NS). Head Coaches: New Hampshire - Sean McDonnell (14th season, 104-65 at New Hampshire and overall); Wofford - Mike Ayers (25th year 170-114-1 at Wofford, 28th year 181-135-2 overall). Playoff Records: New Hampshire (6-10); Wofford (4-5). Previous FCS Playoff Appearances: New Hampshire 10 (1991, 94, 2004-11); Wofford 5 (2003, 2007-08, 2010-11). Current Playoff Streak: New Hampshire has lost two straight and three of its last four playoffs games; Wofford has lost three of its last four playoffs games.
Game Notes: Wofford and New Hampshire meet for the first time as two teams who are really good at what they do when they play their "A" game.
The Terriers rank second in the FCS with 348 rushing yards per game and average nearly six yards per carry. They have attempted only 75 passes in 11 games and gain 52 yards per game through the air, but who needs to throw the ball when you have Eric Breitenstein, a healthy Donovan Johnson and many other capable ball-carriers.
Breitenstein is a bearded bowling ball who's rushed for 1,653 yards and 16 touchdowns this season. The senior fullback averages 150 yards per game - third in the in FCS - and he repeated as the Southern Conference's offensive player of the year. Quarterbacks Brian Kass and Michael Weimer will both see playing time, while Kass (six touchdown passes, two interceptions) is a better thrower and Weimer is more effective on the ground.
New Hampshire actually has found much success running the ball this season, averaging 234 yards per game, good for No. 13 in the FCS. Running back Nico Steriti leads the team with 870 yards and nine touchdowns this season, while quarterbacks Andy Vailas and Sean Goldrich both have the ability to use their legs in the school's spread, zone-read offense.
UNH got whipped on Nov. 17 versus Towson and the offense's two-quarterback system looked out of rhythm and troublesome for the first time this year. Plus, the defense was exploited and embarrassed in the 64-35 loss.
The 'Cats allow 164 rushing yards per game, which looks great compared to 269 passing yards, and the secondary really shouldn't be tested too much this week. Expect Breitenstein to get his yards and for Wofford to attack an inconsistent UNH defensive front.
Wofford's triple option attack matches up very well against New Hampshire's fast-striking offense because the Wildcats rank 114th in the FCS in time of possession and rarely put together long drives. If the Terriers can hold onto the ball and keep the clock moving, the UNH defense could be in trouble.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wofford 42, New Hampshire 31.
11/29 11:12:46 ET