AMHERST, Mass. (AP) -- Liam Coen passed for 231 yards and two
touchdowns and Massachusetts withstood a determined New Hampshire
bid in the final seconds to beat the Wildcats 24-17 in the
quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs Saturday.
UMass (12-1) has won 10 straight and plays at Montana in a
semifinal game Saturday.
Massachusetts, which trailed 17-14 at halftime, blanked the
Wildcats in the second half after having beat New Hampshire (9-4)
28-20 earlier in the season.
UMass went ahead for good late in the third quarter on a 31-yard
touchdown pass from Coen to Brandon London that made it 21-17. The
Minutemen tacked on a final three points on Chris Koepplin's
33-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.
New Hampshire's late drive was halted with 33 seconds to play,
when Rick Santos' pass was deflected to the ground on a 4th-and-one
play from the 6. Santos was held to 129 yards and one touchdown.
Steve Baylark rushed for 198 yards and one touchdown for the
Although it fumbled the opening kickoff and was forced back to
its own one, it took UMass only six plays to march down the field
for the first score. Baylark ran in from the 1, with his earlier
60-yard run the key play in the drive.
Following the kickoff, New Hampshire needed only one play to
pull even -- an 87-yard touchdown trip down the sidelines by Chad
UMass drove 84 yards in the second quarter to go back on top
14-7. Again Baylark produced the big play in the drive with a
39-yard run to the 6. Coen passed to Ian Jorgensen for the
But New Hampshire bounced back following an interception by Jeff
Pammer. The Wildcats evened the score at 14 on an 11-yard pass from
With 50 seconds to play in the half, the Cats went ahead 17-14
on a 41-yard field goal by Tom Manning.