Injury Bug Bites As Raiders Fall at No.9 New Hampshire

Spencer Serling

This past weekend, the Raiders limped their way to Durham, NH to take on the No. 9 New Hampshire Wildcats. Missing their staring quarterback and running back, the Raiders dropped the contest to the Wildcats, 53-23.

After losing sophomore running back John Wilkins the previous week to a knee injury, the Raiders (0-3) knew they would already be shorthanded going into the game. After senior quarterback Gavin McCarney missed practice due to knee and shoulder injuries, the Raiders were shorthanded at another key position.

The Wildcats (1-1) started with the ball and promptly drove down the field in 14 plays to take the early 8-0 lead. With McCarney unable to go, sophomore Dylan Finelli drew his first collegiate start and had a tough task considering the talent on the defensive end of the ball. New Hampshire quickly capitalized on Finelli’s inexperience, intercepting him on his first drive and pushing the score to 16-0.

After two punts from the Raiders offense, the score was 19-0, but the Raiders got the ball back on a key fumble recovery off a punt from junior Ed Pavalko. Finelli at this point had settled into a routine and ran the ball in from six yards out to cut the lead to 19-6. Finelli finished the day with 54 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.

The second quarter carried on and the Raiders could not push the Wildcat defense anymore as they held the Raiders scoreless throughout the period. The Wildcats, meanwhile, were able to push their lead with three second quarter touchdowns, heading into halftime with a commanding 40-6 lead. “We didn’t execute well and we played flat for most of the game. I feel as if we beat ourselves offensively,” sophomore running back Demetrius Russell said about the offense.

The third quarter began and it seemed as though the Raiders came out of the locker room with a new outlook. After punting the ball away on their first drive, the Raiders defense came up big as junior defensive back Mike Armiento intercepted the Wildcats. The Raiders, however, could not convert and put points on the board until Finelli ran the ball in from three yards out for his second touchdown of the game.The Wildcats, however, responded a minute later with a touchdown of their own to push the score back up to 47-14.

The fourth quarter began and the Raiders could not get on the board. The Wildcats scoring spree ended with just over eight minutes remaining as they pushed the score up to 53-14. The Raiders defense, however, came up strong in the last five minutes as senior defensive lineman Andrew Nairin tackled the Wildcats ball-carrier into the end zone for a safety. The safety was set up after a beautiful punt by sophomore punter Nikko Armiento that was downed by sophomore tight end John Quazza on the one yard line.

On the ensuing drive, the Raiders took the ball down the field in just five plays with Finelli throwing a touchdown pass to seniorwideout Dan Cason, his first since 2011. The remainder of the game was scoreless and the Wildcats were able to take home

the victory.

Despite the lopsided affair, the Raiders remain confident about their outlook the rest of the season. Russell – who finished with 153 yards on 30 carries – said of the remainder of the season that, “we were in a similar situation last year and we turned it around. Hopefully we can get the job done again this year.”

This weekend the Raiders return home for homecoming as they take on Yale. Kickoff is 1 p.m. Saturday September 21st at Andy

Kerr Stadium.

Contact Spencer Serling at [email protected].