Saturday, December 13, 2014
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New Hampshire 35, Chattanooga 30

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[December 13, 2014]  New Hampshire 35, Chattanooga 30: Sean Goldrich threw three touchdown passes – including two to R.J. Harris – as the top-seeded Wildcats held off the eight-seeded Mocs at home in the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs.

Goldrich passed for 228 yards and added a rushing TD as New Hampshire (12-1) advanced to the semifinals for the second straight season and will face either No. 5 seed Illinois State or No. 4 seed Eastern Washington. Harris finished with seven catches for 172 yards while Nico Steriti, who registered a career-best four TDs in last week’s second-round victory over Fordham, added a rushing and a receiving score.

Jacob Huesman, who rushed for a game-high 93 yards and two touchdowns, went 28-of-37 for 335 yards and a TD for Chattanooga (10-4), which saw its seven-game winning streak come to an end despite outgaining the Wildcats 566-328. Keon Williams carried 21 times for 76 yards as the Mocs were unable to follow up their first-ever playoff win on Saturday versus Indiana State.

Steriti took a screen pass from Goldrich 39 yards for the game’s first score, but touchdown runs of 19 yards by Huesman and 33 yards by Derrick Craine bridging the first and second quarters allowed Chattanooga to take a 14-7 lead. Goldrich’s 49-yard TD strike to Harris and Andy Vailas’ two-point conversion moved the Wildcats back in front before Huesman capped a 10-play march with 21 seconds left in the first half with a 1-yard keeper.

Goldrich’s 5-yard TD scamper accounted for the lone third-quarter touchdown, and the junior quarterback avoided disaster early in the fourth as it was ruled Chattanooga defensive back Trevor Wright failed to re-establish himself inbounds after he intercepted Goldrich at the goal line. Steriti converted from 6 yards out on the next play and New Hampshire stretched the margin to 35-24 when Harris scored on a 61-yard screen pass after starting the play as the ball-carrier on a double-reverse.

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GAME NOTEBOOK: Williams (1,040 yards) and Huesman (1,009) became only the second set of Mocs to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards in a season, joining Mike Smith (1,090) and Gwain Durden (1,049) in 1977. Smith and Durden were the first freshman teammates to post 1,000 yards in the same season in NCAA history. … Harris’ second TD catch gave him 304 career receptions, tying him with David Ball (2003-06) for the school record. … New Hampshire broke a single-season school record with its 12th victory and extended another mark with its 14th straight home win.

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