Breitenstein, Wofford top New Hampshire 23-7By PETE IACOBELLI, AP Sports Writer Saturday, Dec 1, 2012
SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP)—Eric Breitenstein ran for three touchdowns and 247 yards on Saturday as Wofford opened the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs with a 23-7 victory over New Hampshire on Saturday.
Breitenstein broke free for a 54-yard TD run on the Terriers’ first possession and Wofford’s defense kept the Wildcats (8-4) of the Colonial Athletic Association out of synch throughout. Breitenstein also scored on a 6-yard run right before halftime and a 26-yard burst in the third quarter that sealed things for the Terriers (9-3) of the Southern Conference.
The Terriers came in as the country’s second-best FCS rushing team at more than 348 yards a game. They had surpassed that total in the third quarter and ended with 454 yards on the ground.
New Hampshire lost its opening playoff game for the second straight season. The Wildcats finished with 238 yards of offense, their second fewest of the season and well behind their 471-yard average coming in.
Quarterback Sean Goldrich was 17 of 29 for 113 yards passing with two interceptions and a fumble.
Wofford and New Hampshire came into their first-ever meeting not having played in two weeks—and the rust showed.
The Wildcats ended two first-half drives by interception and another by a fumble. The Terriers weren’t much better, turning the ball over on a fumble on their first pass attempt of the game. They were also stuffed on fourth-and-short at midfield to end another drive.
Each team committed four fumbles the first two quarters. But Wofford had Breitenstein and that was the difference in the first half.
The country’s third leading rusher in the FCS broke free for a 54-yard touchdown run on the Terriers’ first series for a 7-0 lead. He gained 41 yards on Wofford’s 10-play, 67-yard scoring drive, ending the series with a 6-yard touchdown run.
Wofford also stepped up against New Hampshire’s rushing attack, which ranked 13th nationally and second in the Colonial Athletic Association this season. The Wildcats had just 23 yards on 17 carries before halftime.
The Terriers stuck with their run, run and run some more style, gaining 275 yards in the opening half. Breitenstein had 173 of those, averaging more than 10 yards a rush.
But Wofford and Breitenstein quickly answered right back. He had a 45-yard gain to the New Hampshire 26, then followed on the next play with his third touchdown.
Breitenstein, one of three finalists for the Walter Payton Award given to the year’s top FCS player, extended his own school record to an even 1,900 yards rushing this season.