UNH Football Looks to Bounce Back

Quentin Walker

With week one in the books, the University of New Haven Chargers look to bounce back after a rough loss to #12 Slippery Rock University by a score of 31-28. Even though, the Chargers scored 28-unanswered points going into the third quarter, they could not keep The Rock from coming back and winning the game. This week U.N.H. takes on the L.I.U. Post Pioneers; with only two teams winning in the Northeast-10 last week, one of the two being the Pioneers, this weekend’s matchup looked to be a very interesting game.

The Pioneers come into this game coming off a very tight win against the Virginia Union Panthers on the road to begin their 2016 campaign. Senior quarterback, Jeff Kidd, lead the team offensively with 106 yards in the air and a touchdown, L.I.U. Post’s only touchdown on the day. The most notable part for the Pioneers on defense was senior defensive back, Jared Chester, who had two interceptions on the day, to go along with seven tackles. This being a fairly defensive battle between these two teams, L.I.U. Post looks to carry this defensive strength into the weekend’s matchup against the Chargers.

Last year when the two teams met for New Haven’s homecoming game, the Chargers came out on top absolutely steam rolling the Pioneers 63-16. UNH leaned on the arm of starting quarterback, Ajee Patterson, as he threw for 231-yards and four touchdowns on 13 completions.

The Chargers’ run game helped as well, with three different running backs scoring at least once, Andre Anderson with two scores and, Justen Wilson and Trevor Officer with one each. The Charger defense obviously played a huge role in last season’s win as sophomore defensive back, Mark Clements came up with two interceptions in the game. Whereas the Chargers came up with three sacks on the day, which prevented the Pioneers from really getting their offense going at all.

The Chargers were looking to have a repeat performance, as they tried to give L.I.U. Post their first loss on the young season. However, the Pioneers had other thoughts in mind, as they got off to a fairly quick start, getting into the endzone for the first score of the day on a 26-yard pass from senior quarterback Kidd to the redshirt junior wide receiver, James Higgins, for his second touchdown on the season. L.I.U. Post decided to get fancy and go for two following the touchdown, and it went well for them as redshirt senior quarterback, Matt Brennan, ran it in to cap off the drive.

After giving up points on the first drive, it was New Haven’s turn to take the field offensively. The Patterson-lead Chargers drove down field, mainly through the air, only to later have their drive stall out after an incomplete pass from Patterson, intended for wide receiver, Ty Headen. U.N.H. trotted junior kicker, Danny Stock, out onto the field for a 28-yard chip-shot that Stock drilled through the uprights to put the Chargers’ first points on the board and make the score 8-3 with 5:23 left in the first quarter. The scoring would quiet down for the most part until the Pioneers would score on a nine yard pass from Kidd to Higgins. Making for their second touchdown connection on the day and pushing their lead to 12.

U.N.H. would go three-and-out on their next drive, giving L.I.U. Post another chance to extend their lead even further. The Pioneers would do so, and make short work of it at that, going 74-yards on four plays. That drive ending with Kidd’s third touchdown pass of the day, this time hooking up with redshirt sophomore running back, Malik Pierre, for 32 yards. This would do two things: make the score 22-3 and put Chris Pincince and his Chargers in a deep hole midway through the first half.

Fortunately, they would begin to mount a comeback and it began with quarterback Patterson who would lead his team down field and eventually get them into the endzone on seven-yard touchdown pass to fellow senior, wide receiver Rishawn Harris. Following a missed field goal by Pioneer kicker, sophomore Joey Tolgyesi, U.N.H. would pick right back up where they left off on their previous drive: in the endzone, once again by way of an Patterson pass, this time he connected with senior wide receiver, Henry Adegunle, for a 45-yarder to close out the half with a score of 22-17.

The Chargers came out of halftime looking to hit the ground running, both literally and figuratively, leaning on Patterson and senior running back, Lemar Thomas. However, the drive wouldn’t go according to plan, ending with a 25-yard field goal make by Stock. With their lead shrinking, L.I.U. Post went on the offensive and leaned on the arm of Kidd to take them down field and later on into the endzone. This time on a 1-yard run by Kidd, his third on the day.

Unfortunately for the Chargers, Kidd’s touchdown would swing the momentum of the game completely over to the Pioneers side of the field. They would go three-and-out for the fourth time on the day, giving the Pioneers a chance to score again. The Pioneers took this chance and ran with it, this time by way of Kidd for his fifth touchdown on the day on a 14-yard pass to redshirt senior wide receiver, Shane Hubbard. This score would add to the Pioneers’ lead making the score 36-20 at the end of the third quarter.

The fourth quarter would bring much of the same for both teams, more offense and scoring for L.I.U. Post, and absolutely nothing for the New Haven Chargers. The Pioneers would end the game with 21 unanswered points and a, senior running back, David White touchdown would end the scoring for the day. The game would end with a score of 43-20, giving the Pioneers their second win on the season and in turn, handing the Chargers their second straight loss, this one worse than last week’s.

This game was an unsettling loss for the Chargers, as they gave up 17+ unanswered points for the second straight game. This week the offense didn’t have the same spark they had last week against Slippery Rock, with Patterson, being one of the offense’s lone bright spots, throwing for 187-yards and two touchdowns on 17 completions. Meanwhile, the tandem of Lemar Thomas and Andre Anderson may have reached a combined total of 141-yards on the ground, they couldn’t manage any touchdowns. Headen lead the team in receiving yards with 87-yards on six receptions, while Henry Adegunle and Rishawn Harris were on the receiving end of both Ajee Patterson touchdown strikes. Defensively, senior defensive lineman Ari Nwobi had the teams only sack on the day. While junior defensive back lead the team in tackles with 13 total tackles on the day, seven solo and six assisted.

The Chargers will be going into their week three matchup against the Saint Anslem Hawks with an unsatisfying record of 0-2. The Hawks are coming off a road loss to the Wagner Seahawks by a score of 38-16. With both teams coming off a loss and this being New Haven’s home opener, next Saturday’s game looks to be a good time for U.N.H. to get their first win on the season before it’s too late.