By Jerome Bailey, Staff Writer
Despite the fierce wind and rainy conditions, Tom Manning nailed a thunderous kick through the uprights from 54 yards out, breaking a school record for the senior kicker from New Hampshire University. Manning pumped his fist in the air and was embraced by all of his teammates.
It was that kind of day for Manning. And quite the opposite for his New Hampshire Wildcats opponent, the Hofstra Pride (4-4) (2-3), which suffered a slew of turnovers and mistakes to fall to Manning and his Wildcats team for the seventh time in a row.
"We really got a big help from Tom Manning, with the three field goals. And the 54-yarder that he hit was a bomb. When he hit those field goals it gave us some relief," said Wildcats Head Coach Tom McDonnell.
The lost marks the Pride's seventh in a row against the Wildcats (6-1) (3-1). The Pride again had turnover problems, mistakes and penalties which in the end cost them the game.
"We are still not executing and playing as disciplined as I would like us to. Hopefully that will change," said Hofstra Head Coach Dave Cohen.
With four minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Pride trailed 18-7. However, the Pride are a relentless team, and was going to battle until the end. Senior Quarterback Corey Christopher and the offense had a 10-play, 59-yard drive, which allowed them to come away with a field goal by senior kicker Henry Greco to trim the deficit to 18-10. On the ensuing possession, the Pride recovered the ball during an onside kick. Christopher and the offense had two minutes, a rowdy crowd yelling, "Go Hofstra, go!" and the coaches on their side. The offense drove down to the Wildcats 9-yard line, but could not get in the end zone for the potential game-tying score.
"I thought the kids competed well. I was proud of how hard we played all four quarters. At the same point we had some mistakes we've been making for a few weeks; and when you play a team as well-coached and as good as New Hampshire, those mistakes are going to come and bite you in the tail at the end, and that's what happened," said Cohen.
Midway through the first half, the Pride trailed 3-0. However, Christopher and the offense was determined to put points on the board. Christopher came out on a no-huddle offense, and connected with junior wide receiver Aaron Weaver in the corner of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown pass. Nonetheless, the officials ruled Weaver did not have possession of the ball. The offense again saw a touchdown called back, when a holding penalty negated junior Everette Benjamin's 25-yard touchdown run on fourth down.
"We've got to do a better job, and play more disciplined. Those two plays would have been 14 points," said Cohen.
The defense again played well and was led by sophomore linebacker Greg Melendez, who posted a game-high 12 tackles.
The Wildcats were led by quarterback R.J. Toman, who completed 14 of 21 passes for 148 yards, and one touchdown. Senior fullback Chad Kackert rushed for 75 yards on 20 carries.
The Pride know if they have any hope of making the playoffs, the losing has to come to an end. After a bye this week, the Pride hit the road to face the Delaware Blue Hens.
"We've got to win some games. It's as simple as that," said Cohen.