ORONO, Maine – Junior running back Dylan Laube ran for 190 yards and three touchdowns and sophomore quarterback Max Brosmer passed for three scores to lead the 18th-ranked University of New Hampshire football team to a wild and crucial 42-41 overtime win over Maine on Saturday at Alfond Stadium. UNH hit the “trifecta” as first-year head coach Rick Santos put it. The Wildcats grabbed a share of the Colonial Athletic Association championship for the first time since 2014, nailed down an all but certain spot in the NCAA FCS Division I tournament for the first time since 2017 and brought the coveted Brice-Cowell Musket back to Durham.
The field for the 24-team FCS playoffs will be announced Sunday at 12:30 p.m. on ESPNU. The Wildcats qualified for the tournament for 14 straight seasons from 2004-2017. UNH improved to 8-3 overall and finishes 7-1 in the CAA. The Wildcats share the league championship with William & Mary. The Tribe earned their share of the title with a win over Richmond on Saturday. Maine won the coin toss and deferred to start overtime. Five plays later, Brosmer’s third touchdown pass was a 4-yarder to junior tight end Kyle Lepkowski. Redshirt freshman Nick Mazzie kicked the conversion for 42-35.
The Black Bears scored a touchdown on a razzle-dazzle play from 31 yards out on fourth-and-16 on their turn in OT. They elected to go for a two-point conversion and Joe Fagnano’s pass was intercepted by junior linebacker Bryce Shaw, ending the game.
Brosmer completed 14 of 23 passes for 247 yards and the three scores. Laube carried 30 times for his 190 yards and had scores of 3, 15 and 48 yards. Junior linebacker Ryan Toscano led the Wildcats with 14 tackles and sophomore defensive end Dylan Ruiz had 11 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss with a quarterback sack. Maine’s Elijah Barnwell rushed 20 times for 143 yards and three touchdowns. Fagnano completed 16 of 32 passes for 202 yards and a score. He also ran 12 time for 71 yards and a TD. Maine closed the season with a 2-9 overall record, 2-6 in the CAA.
Leading 7-0 after the first quarter Brosmer connected with freshman receiver D.J. Linkins for a 33-yard TD pass with 11:52 left in the quarter and UNH led 14-0.
Elijah Barnwell scored on a 2-yard run with 3:21 left for Maine’s first points.
Laube answered quickly with a 15-yard scoring run to push the lead back to 21-7 with 2:08 to play.
A Brosmer to Sean Coyne 48-yard pass play set up the touchdown. Barnwell scored again on a 1-yard run with 18 seconds left to leave UNH’s lead at 21-14 at the break.
Laube scored his third touchdown of the day on a 48-yard run with 6:12 left in the third quarter, but Zavier Scott ran for a 75-yard score on Maine’s next play from scrimmage to cut UNH’s lead to 28-21 and end the scoring in the quarter.
Fagnano rushed for an 11-yard TD on the second play of the fourth quarter and with Cole Baker’s conversion kick the game was tied 28-28.
Brosmer found tight end Adam Deese for a 6-yard TD to put the ‘Cats back on top, 35-28, with 11:12 left in the period.
Barnwell’s 2-yard TD tied it again at 35-35 with 3:11 to go.
The defenses forced punts and the game headed to overtime.