We were a little worried about these Wildcats, and there were several fans on the message boards who kept saying to beware the Wildcats from New HampshireAfter the game, a subdued Pat Fitzgerald talked with WGN's Ted Albrecht...
They were right.
Painting "Walk" on the field, on the uniforms, or the headsets wasn't going to help. Our NU Wildcats would have to outplay the #1 Division I-AA team, and that wouldn't be easy.
In the end, the Cats would have to overcome 18 of 24 passing for 206 yards and 2 TDs plus 3 more rushing TDs by New Hampshire QB Ricky Santos. They'd also have to beat both tight end Keith Levan [7 catches/77 yds] and WR David Ball [7 for 72 and 2 TDs.]. They'd have to stop RB Chris Ward [21 for 63 yards]
Before the game, NU Coach Pat Fitzgerald said this would be a tough game to win. He was right.
NU didn't help their own cause - they fumbled twice, which led to two easy New Hampshire TDs, then had an interception while they were trying to come back at the end of the game. Tyrell Sutton did rip off a 61 yard gain early, and finished with 99 yards and a TD, Terrell Jordan rushed for 48 yds on 9 carries and TD, but Mike Kafka threw one interception, even though he completed 19 of 32 passes for 173 yards, rushed for another 42, but also seemed ineffective at times.
Both teams had 18 first downs, NU actually put up more total offense - 356 yards - to New Hampshire's 328 but at the end, Rick Santos [right] was the guy celebrating at Ryan Field.
Well, I give all the credit in the world to New Hampshire, they played a great game. The players were phenomenal and when you look at the game Rick Santos had and he really impressed ... and gave it all that he could play, and they went out and executed their game plan and took it to us and obviously with a week of practice, I though that we would improve and [so] put all the blame on me.
It starts with me, I didn't get us ready to play.
But the fight...on the mat right now and we have a plan and we're going to get them fighting and it starts tomorrow when we get them together.
A term we've heard before is "self inflicted wounds." The 3 turnovers can add up and can hurt you.
They sure do. When you turn the ball over and yet not take the ball away from them when we had our chances to get 2 or 3 turnovers today, and we did not get any of them, it goes on both sides of the fence.
Yeah, we turned the ball over and its part of the game, but we've got to find a way to respect the football better, and obviously its going to be a big point of emphasis this week.
While the Defense gave up 27 points in the first half, they shut them down in the 2nd, holding NH 7 points, you couldn't score in the 2nd half.
We had our chances to make points today, in the red zone, scoring - you know, you cannot turn the ball over in the red zone when you're down there to score points - those are critical mistakes and critical errors and immediate effects and as we mature as a football team we need to learn that how difficult and how tough it is to win a football game no matter who you play and that feeling that you have in your belly after you win and that excitement and that joy should be the motivation that gets you to go and play to win and obviously all the credit goes to New Hampshire.
They played excellent and they will be a force to be reckoned with in the A-10, there's no question about that and on the national scene.
Next is Eastern Michigan, who will look at this game and say to themselves, we can do this too...
Our football team is being challenged right now and [if] I know our men the way I think I do, they'll take a look at themselves in the mirror tonight and take a real deep swallow and that will be their pride and we will find a way to come up fighting - we'll get going right away again tomorrow and its going to be how we respond.
We've been in a valley before, this football team understands what we need to do, and its time to go back to work. I mean, you roll your sleeves up when you have a tough day, and thats what we need to do.
-- are based on questions from Dave Eanet & Ted Albrecht and may have been edited for clarity.
Official Game Statistics from nusports.com
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