New Hampshire Football enters 2014 at number 4 in our rankings. Check out our Top 25 Season Preview for more on the top college teams to watch this fall. Can’t find your team in the Top 25? View our full rankings to see where every team stands.
Last Season: 10-5 (6-2) Colonial Athletic Association
After a rough 1-3 start with losses at Central Michigan, Lehigh, and Towson, New Hampshire went on a 6-1 tear to end the regular season and earned themselves an at-large bid to the FCS tournament. They tied with Towson for second place in the Colonial Athletic Association, behind CAA champs, Maine.
In the playoffs, the Wildcats won three straight and got all the way to the National Semifinals before they ran headlong into the titan that is North Dakota State and finally lost, 52-14. The team they tied with for second place in the CAA, Towson, met the same fate one week later in the National Championship – a 35-7 loss to the Bison of North Dakota State.
-Ricky Archer OL – Second team All-Conference
-Seamus O’Neill OL – Captain, third team All-Conference
-Chris Setian RB – Captain, 90 carries, 458 yards, 8 TDs
-Justin Mello WR – 73 catches, 1,038 yards, 10 TDs
-Jay Colbert DE – 44 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 6 sacks, 1 FF
-Sean McCann DT – 59 tackles, 8 TFL, 5 sacks, 1 FF, 2 FRs, 1 BK
-Manny Asam S – Captain, 101 tackles, 7 TFL, 1 sack, 8 pass breakups
What to Watch For
New O, Old D – The top three point-scorers from 2013 graduated: kicker Mike MacArthur with 86 points, wide receiver Justin Mello with 60 points, and running back Chris Setian also with 60 points. Quarterbacks Sean Goldrich and Andy Vailas will need to find new workhorses. On defense however, the cupboards are stocked: the Wildcats only lost three starters from the unit that carried the team to the National Semifinals.
The Wildcats were lucky to have found success as such a young team. They lost only eight starters to graduation, some of the lowest turnover you’ll find in our top 25. These youths got a taste last year, and made it all the way to the National Semifinals, and most of their top skill positions will be seniors this season. If there were ever a time for New Hampshire football to make a title-run, this is it – the memory of last season’s bitter end will make the seniors hungrier to win it all in their final season as football players. If you’re looking for a dark-horse pick to win the national title, sure to impress your friends if you’re right and sure to be forgotten if you’re wrong, look no further than the 2014 New Hampshire Wildcats.