Time for folks to hop onto UNH football bandwagon

It’s hard not to think football right now in New Hampshire.

The New England Patriots opened up the exhibition season Thursday night, and high school football begins real practice on Monday.

But for this day, we are focussed on the Granite State’s team and potentially the best-kept secret in New England, the UNH Wildcats.

If you haven’t been bitten by the UNH football bug, there is no better time than in 2018, coming off a ride to last year’s NCAA FCS quarterfinals.

UNH, rated third nationally in Athlon Sports’ preseason poll, returns a bundle from a team that went into No. 4 Central Arkansas as an “opponent” last December and walked out a “contender.”

“I really, truly believe that game helped solidify the fact that we’re a good football team,” said UNH coach Sean McDonnell at the recent CAA media day, where UNH was picked second in the conference.

“It was a good season (7-4), could have been better. I’m really proud of the way we responded.”

UNH has been hard at work for over a week now, in the heat and the brutality of August.

At the center of it all, of course, will be Nashua South product, quarterback Trevor Knight of Amherst.

Knight, the preseason conference Offensive Player of the Year, has the skills and the season, along with the weapons to make Saturday afternoons in Durham must-see events.

“He’s a hard working kid, a talented athlete,” said McDonnell. “He finally got the understanding (of the offense) to distribute the ball to other people and let them do the work. Unbelieveable, you laugh with him now about how your numbers go off the charts because there’s kids that can make things happen in open spaces.

“Plus he can create. He has some legs. He has some abilities to keep plays alive, got the ability to run. It’s been a pleasure to see him grow the last year and a half, in not just football but everything he is doing.”

The countdown to the regular season is on. The annual Blue-White scrimmage is Tuesday, Aug. 21, at noon, with the season opener at Maine on Aug. 30.

UNH hosts Colgate in the home opener, Sept., 8, at 6 p.m.

Odds and ends

Your weekly “#120and42” Red Sox update shows the hometown team going into Thursday night with a six-game win streak that again makes Boston’s opportunity to rewrite history absolutely possible.

At 81-34 with Chris Sale coming back this week from the disabled list, the Red Sox should continue To be unstoppable. Imagine they truly can approach 120? A 39-8 finish isn’t out of the realm, especially with JD Martinez pushing toward the Triple Crown.

On to the fight game, the real fight game not this nouveau MMA stuff. Did anyone catch the Eleider Alvarez unified Light Heavyweight World Championship win on Saturday night in Altantic City?

Alvarez absolutely obliterated the champ, Sergey Kovalev, with a seventh-round knockout that makes everybody’s highlight reel.

The fight was yet another great endorsement for the sport, which is in a bit of revitalization mode.

Alvarez, now 24-0, took some heavy shots from Kovalev early, the champ’s best, and lived to rally for the KO after trailing on all three cards. Tremendous stuff.

Hector Longo can be reached at hlongo@nashuatelegraph.com or 594-1253.