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Everything Buffaloes fans need to know about the New Hampshire Wildcats

A preview of Colorado’s FCS opponent coming to Boulder for week 3 action.

New Hampshire v San Diego State Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images

New Hampshire Wildcats

2018 record: 0-2 (12th in Colonial Athletic Association)

Offensive yards per game: 157.0 (102nd FCS)

Defensive 3rd down conversions allowed: 7-of-28, 25% (T-17th FCS)

Defensive 4th down conversions allowed: 3-of-3 100% (T-95th FCS)


Sean McDonnell (150-89 since 1999)

McDonnell played as a defensive back at New Hampshire from 1975-78. He started his coaching career as a defensive coordinator in 1983 at Hamilton College, a division III school in Clinton, NY. McDonnell had brief stops at Boston University and back at Hamilton before heading north to coach at his alma mater as the wide receiver/quarterback coach in 1991. McDonnell was promoted to offensive coordinator in 1994 before taking over as head coach in 1999. He has lead the Wildcats to two conference championships the past 18 years and is also a two-time Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year recipient (2005, 2014).


Type: Spread

Coordinators: Michael Ferzoco, Alex Miller

New Hampshire’s offense came into the season highly-touted, but have yet to perform to those expectations in the early going. Quarterback Trevor Knight was named the 2018 Preseason Player of the Year for the Colonial Athletic Association. The Wildcats top passer suffered a shoulder injury in the second quarter of the season-opener at Maine. Backup QB Christian Lupoli completed 14-of-24 passes for 133 yards in New Hampshire’s loss to Colgate on Saturday.


Type: 4-2-5

Coordinator: John Lyons

Colorado will see a mix of four lineman with two linebackers and five in the secondary. The Wildcats are returning nine starters from a defense that was ranked No. 1 in red zone scoring, along with second in sacks and third in pass defense in the CAA last year. It’s different story for New Hampshire that year as they’re allowing an average of 22.5 points per game.

Players to watch

Trevor Knight, quarteraback: If healthy, the three-year starter is a game-changer for the Wildcats’ offensive attack. Knight threw for 3,433 yards and 26 touchdowns last season. No word on his status for Saturday’s game.

Neil O’ Conner, wide receiver: The senior receiving threat for New Hampshire was a five-time All-American and Walter Payton finalist (FCS’s equivalent to the Heisman) in 2017. He led the Wildcats with 97 receptions for 1,396 yards and ten touchdowns. O’Conner hauled in ten catches for 111 yards for the Wildcats in their loss to in-state rival Colgate this past Saturday.


“It’s tough to win. So I’m just going to enjoy the moment now for 24 hours, and you clear the slate and you focus on New Hampshire because they’re the next opponent. They’re next on the list.” CU quarterback Steven Montez on a tough win in Nebraska and the week ahead with New Hampshire.

“Going into Colorado, 0-2 is not the way you want to go into it. We have to have good practices this coming week and just regroup as a team and go back to the basics that we were at this summer and go from there.” New Hampshire team captain Jared Kuehl.

”Discouraged in a lot of ways, but encouraged that there was improvement. Now we’ve just got to take the next step against a really good team.” McDonnell on preparing for Colorado.

Let’s talk stats

18: New Hampshire is returning 18 starters on both sides of the ball from last year. The most for the Wildcats over the past four seasons.

14: McDonnell has taken New Hampshire to 14 consecutive FCS playoff appearances since 2004. The Wildcats have never advanced past the semifinal round.

388: Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault leads the Pac-12 with 388 receiving yards through two games, along with three total touchdowns. The Desoto, Texas native currently leads the nation in yards per catch with 18.5 (Min. 20 receptions).

2: Colorado has lost to FCS teams twice since 2000 (Montana State, 2006 & Sacramento State, 2012). Both games in early September with the Buffs nearly losing a third time to Eastern Washington in 2008. CU is tied with Virginia for the most losses by an FBS team against an FCS team in the past twenty years.

Extra Info

Check out Anthony Kazmierczak’s preseason snapshot of the New Hampshire Wildcats.


Aug. 30: lost at Maine, 35-7

Sept. 8: lost Colgate, 10-3

Sept. 15: at Colorado

Sept. 29: at Elon

Oct. 6: vs. Holly Cross

Oct. 13: vs. Stony Brook

Oct. 20: vs. Delaware

Oct. 27: at Villanova

Nov. 3: vs. James Madison

Nov. 10: vs. Albany

Nov. 17: at Rhode Island