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UNH football reflects on positives of loss; home opener on deck

  • UNH true freshman quarterback Max Brosmer (16) looks to throw during a contest against Holy Cross last week in Worcester, Mass. Brosmer got the start for the Wildcats on Saturday against Florida International University and completed 19 of 38 passes for 224 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in a 30-17 loss. GIL TALBOT / UNH Athletics

  • UNH true freshman quarterback Max Brosmer (16) carries the ball during a contest against Holy Cross last week in Worcester, Mass. Brosmer got the start for the Wildcats on Saturday against Florida International University and completed 19 of 38 passes for 224 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in a 30-17 loss. DAVE O’BRIEN / UNH Athletics

UNH Insider
Published: 9/15/2019 5:50:25 PM

MIAMI – Freshman quarterback Max Brosmer hit redshirt freshman Dylan Laube with a pass down the right sideline and the running back cut to the middle, burst through a couple of tackles at midfield and raced to the end zone for the third period score.

Two of the youngest guys on the field teamed up for one of the longest pass plays in program history, a TD that covered 86 yards.

It was an explosive play that had University of New Hampshire interim head football coach Ricky Santos smiling and looking ahead late Saturday night after his team’s give-’em-all-they-could-handle, 30-17, loss in the rain to FBS foe Florida International University.

The Wildcats play the University of Rhode Island this Saturday on Youth Sports Night in Wildcat Stadium at 6 p.m. in the team’s home and Colonial Athletic Association opener.

Santos is eager to get back at it.

“We just proved right there that we can play with anyone at our level and we can’t wait to get to league play next week,” he said. “I’m just so excited for this opportunity to get back to practice and get a little bit better. We have a lot of positives we can take from that. We just need to regroup and not feel sorry for ourselves. I think we proved tonight that we can play and we can play at a high level.”

Santos loved the resiliency his team showed before and after a 40-minute lightning delay that slowed their momentum a bit late in the first period.

Immediately after Brosmer connected with sophomore Brian Espanet for a 7-yard touchdown pass to put the Wildcats up 9-7 with 38 seconds left in the period, officials sent the teams to their locker rooms because of the storm.

It was 40 minutes before they returned and junior Jason Hughes kicked the extra point that made the lead 10-7.

FIU’s difficult-to-bring-down quarterback Kaylan Wiggins, scored the first of his two touchdowns for the only score of the second period to give his team the lead.

The Brosmer to Laube connection put UNH back in front, 17-13, with 10:20 left in the third quarter.

The play was only four yards shy of being the longest TD pass in UNH history. That distinction belongs to Tim Cramsey and Jermaine Washington who teamed up for a 90-yard score in a 31-19 win over William & Mary on Oct. 24, 1998.

It was UNH’s first passing TD of at least 80 yards since Sean Goldrich and R.J. Harris covered that distance on a razzle-dazzle play against Rhode Island on Nov. 8, 2014. That play included a lateral back to Goldrich by running back Nico Steriti.

Saturday’s big play highlighted the first true freshman quarterback to start a UNH game and the redshirt running back who’s a threat out of the backfield and returning kicks as well.

“We sit here on the Friday meal before the game and we have 15-20 freshmen stand up (when freshmen are called to hit the buffet),” Santos said. “That’s a lot. That’s a lot to rely on. So we’re very young. But I think that’s good. It bodes well for the future. The future’s very bright.”

UNH started a pair of true freshman in the game in Brosmer and linebacker Oleh Manzyk. Manzyk took the spot of senior Michael Balsamo, who missed the game because of injury, and had four tackles.

Brosmer, who moved the team well while playing the second half against Holy Cross in the opening game, tossed his first two career touchdown passes.

“Really proud of Max, stepping in and delivering under duress,” Santos said. “He took a lot of shots out there. The offensive line did a good job again and we ran the football. When we can consistently do that, we know we can win.”

The touchdown catches were the first for both Espanet and Laube.

The run game produced 146 yards total with senior Evan Gray accounting for about half of that with five carries for 71.

“As an offense, we were just playing together,” Gray said. “We handled adversity well. We ran the ball well. As soon as the run game got open, the pass game got open as well. Everybody did their job. I’m happy with the way we played.”

Gray was impressed with Brosmer, too.

“Max is playing great, as a true freshman, playing with that much confidence,” Gray said. “He’s consistent. He works hard.”

The Wildcats are 0-2 and hungry and take on another 0-2 and hungry team in Rhode Island. The Rams took nationally ranked Delaware to triple overtime a week ago before falling. They were off this weekend.

“I have to dive more into the tape on them,” Santos said. “They’re obviously very talented. When we get into league play, every week’s going to be a battle. We know that. Can’t wait to see what the tape shows for them going into it and we look forward to the challenge.”

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