Alright, so I have to admit upfront that I failed badly on getting this preview ready. It's been a busy week and frankly, it takes a lot more work to gather info on an FCS squad without a strong blog presence on the tubes. At least it does to put together a decent preview (which this may or may not be...you decide). That's something you don't really want to do when the Gophers really just need to win this game (and in a better world, would win the game, handily and without question).
The preview I'd love to write would be short and simple. Something like "New Hampshire plays football and the Gophers will win. My prediction is: by at least 21 points." Sadly, we all know that's not where the program is at right now. So I'm putting up the quick and dirty version of the preview.
When and Where:
11am CST @ TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
8-4 (6-2) overall, including a loss in the first round of the FCS playoffs to Montana State. Only FBS team faced was Toledo and the Wildcats lost 58-22. It was a more impressive year than I originally thought, as they knocked off 5 ranked opponents (tying a school record).
Standard looking FCS schedule. The Gophers are the only FBS team they face. They're decently strong this season (ranked #14 in FCS) and as I'm sure you know they are 1-0 after beating Holy Cross.
UNH is a member of the Colonial Athletic Association.
Otherwise I've got nothing insightful to share, so here's a preview video for this game that was produced by the UNH Athletics department:
The Wildcats are led by Sean McDonnell. He is an alum of UNH and has been the HC there for 14 seasons. His overall record is 96-62 (.608). This may surprise folks, since everyone associates Chip Kelly with UNH. But Kelly was only an OC there.
They run a no huddle spread. Supposed to be very uptempo. It is led by RS frosh QB Sean Goldrich. He had a great game vs. Holy Cross (CAA Rookie of the Week) so he's probably ok. Other names to watch for include WR's RJ Harris and Joey Orlando and RB Nico Steriti.
On defense the name to know is Matt Evans. He's their stud linebacker, a FCS national defensive player of the year (that's good right?). Other names to know are Dontra Peters (a former RB who is now their best CB), FS Chris Beranger, and DT Jared Smith.
Mike MacArthur is both their kicker and their punter.
How Do The Gophers Stack Up?
Statsy models have us as just under 1 TD favorites. Those models don't have a lot of data yet, so who knows how accurate that is. I've never seen UNH play ball. The spread thing concerns me, but then again our defense was pretty stout overall last weekend. Time to see how much of that was for real. Normally I'd say our size and depth should be a plus, but that should have been the case last week as well but was not always apparent. Basically, this is a game the Gophers can win, need to win, and frankly SHOULD win. Time to stop with the FCS follies.
Completely Worthless Prediction: Gophers 31, UNH 20.