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Late TD sends New Hampshire to first semifinal

Hammond, LA (SportsNetwork.com) - The postseason of firsts continued for New Hampshire football Saturday night as the Wildcats overcame a late-game deficit to advance to their first FCS semifinals appearance with a 20-17 win over No. 4 seed Southeastern Louisiana in the national quarterfinals.

New Hampshire quarterback Sean Goldrich didn't let a late-game interception and an incredible escape-act touchdown pass from Lions quarterback Bryan Bennett affect his Wildcats' final drive, which led to the game-winning touchdown.

Goldrich ended the game completing 24-of-35 pass attempts for 276 yards and an interception, but led the Wildcats' ground attack with 99 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries, which included the game-winning 1-yard plunge with 47 seconds remaining.

It was the first meeting between Southland Conference champion Southeastern Louisiana and Colonial Athletic Association playoff staple New Hampshire. The Wildcats are now 1-6 all-time in quarterfinals matchups. They advance to face the top-seeded North Dakota State Bison in Fargo on Friday.

New Hampshire kicker Mike MacArthur had his final extra point attempt of the night blocked by the Lions, but the Wildcats defense swallowed up a final hook- and-lateral play by the Lions on a last-ditch effort to win.

Minutes earlier, Bennett gave his Lions the lead on a 5-yard touchdown pass (from roughly his 18-yard line) after escaping multiple tacklers when he found Marquis Fruge' wide open in the back of the end zone. The play was reviewed and the call stood, which gave the Lions a 17-14 lead.

Goldrich then went on the offensive, moving the ball down the field and converting on a season-saving 4th-and-1 quarterback keeper in Lions territory.

New Hampshire outgained Southeastern on the ground, 203 yards to 75, and in total offensive yards, 479-344.

Junior receiver R.J. Harris was Goldrich's favorite target Saturday, catching 11 passes for 110 yards. Senior Justin Mello had five receptions for 84 yards.

Bennett finished the game 25-of-46 passing for 269 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He carried the ball 12 times for 29 yards and a touchdown. He finished the season with 16 rushing touchdowns, leading the Southland Conference.

Southeastern jumped on the scoreboard first on a Bennett 3-yard touchdown run with just under 10 minutes to play in the first quarter. But the rest of the first half belonged to New Hampshire.

Goldrich ran in one of his two first-half touchdowns from 32 yards out, knotting the score at 7-7 just a few minutes after Bennett's touchdown run.

In the second quarter, Goldrich pounded home a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Wildcats the 14-7 lead, which they took into halftime.

Goldrich had 84 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns on 10 carries at the midway point.

New Hampshire outgained the Lions by nearly 100 yards offensively in the first half, 246-151.

The loss was the first at home for Southeastern Louisiana, and the first loss since a Sept. 14 defeat to South Dakota State. The Lions had won 10 consecutive games entering the quarterfinal matchup.

The Wildcats have won nine of their last 10 games, including four on the road.

New Hampshire is now 9-9 in its 10th consecutive playoff appearance. The Wildcats are 5-2 versus nationally ranked teams and have won each of the last five matchups with those opponents.

12/14 22:55:35 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
Final
SFG 11
KAN 4
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
 
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
Final
MARS 35
FATL 16
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
Final
OKST 10
WVU 34
Final
WKENT 66
ODU 51
Final
UTST 34
UNLV 20
Final
MIZZ 24
VANDY 14
Final
UCF 34
TEMPL 14
Final
WASU 37
ARZ 59
Final
CLEM 16
SYR 6
Final
LAMON 18
TXST 22
Final
TXSANANTO 0
UTEP 34
Final
COLST 45
WYO 31
Final
LSU 10
MISS 7
Final
TENN 20
ALA 34
Final
AUB 42
SCAR 35
Final
PSU 24
OSU 31
 
4th
UTAH 17
USC 21
 
3rd
WASH 0
ARST 10
 
2nd
HAW 7
NEV 0
 
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
Final
TOR 1
BOS 4
Final
NYI 7
DAL 5
Final
PHI 4
DET 2
Final
OTT 2
NJD 3
Final
MON 3
NYR 1
Final
STL 3
CHI 2
Final
NAS 0
PIT 3
Final
MIN 7
TAM 2
Final
ARI 2
FLA 1
Final
CAL 1
WAS 3
 
3:00pm Today
WIN
COL
 
4:00pm Today
LOS
CLB
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
OTT
 
8:00pm Tonight
ANA
SJS
 
9:30pm Tonight
VAN
WAS
 
9:30am Today
ATL
DET
1:00pm Today
CIN
BAL
1:00pm Today
NYJ
BUF
1:00pm Today
NEP
CHI
1:00pm Today
TEN
HOU
1:00pm Today
JAC
MIA
1:00pm Today
TAM
MIN
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
1:00pm Today
KAN
STL
4:05pm Today
ARI
PHI
4:25pm Today
PIT
IND
4:25pm Today
CLE
OAK
8:30pm Tonight
NOS
GBP
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14