The Central Connecticut football team's eight-game winning streak came to an end on the road in the first round of the NCAA Playoffs on Saturday as the Blue Devils fell 14-0 to #21 New Hampshire. The loss gives the Blue Devils a final record of 8-4 on the season, including a perfect 6-0 Northeast Conference record and league championship.
Central could not find the end zone and turned the ball over four times in the game. The defensive unit, led by seniors Seth Manzanares (14 tackles, two sacks) and Randall Laguerre (12 tackles) held New Hampshire to just 61 rushing yards and kept the Blue Devils within striking distance the entire game. The defensive unit also blocked a field goal (senior Chad Woodfine) in the game.
The 14 points allowed marked the sixth time this season that the Blue Devils allowed 15 or fewer points in a game. Sophomore Tajik Bagley posted his second interception of the season in the fourth quarter to keep the Blue Devil hopes alive, down just 7-0 at the time. He added eight tackles and three pass break-ups in the game.
UNH put together a 20-play drive to open the game but came away scoreless when a 38-yard field goal went wide left. Central's first offensive drive went deep into Wildcat territory but a pass from sophomore Tanner Kingsley was intercepted by UNH and the game remained scoreless.
After a UNH punt, Kingsley threw his second interception of the game as his pass was deflected by a CCSU player and into the hands of the New Hampshire defender.
The Wildcats took advantage of the second CCSU turnover of the game, needing just four plays to score the game's first touchdown. A 41-yard pass from Trevor Knight to Nick Lorden made it 7-0 early in the second quarter.
The scoring pass would be the only points of the game until Evan Gray ran it in from one yard with 1:04 left in the fourth quarter to make it 14-0 in favor of UNH.
Kingsley finished the game 9-of-16 for 118 yards and a pair of interceptions in his first career start for the Blue Devils. He was injured in the fourth quarter and did not return. Sophomore Drew Jean-Guillaume rushed 11 times for 60 yards to lead the rushing attack. Junior Jose Garcia had three catches for 62 yards in the loss.
The Blue Devils season was highlighted with their their first NEC title since 2010 and fifth overall.