WORCESTER, Mass. (AP)Matthew Sluka accounted for three touchdowns, Peter Oliver ran for 175 yards and scored twice, and No. 8-seed Holy Cross was never threatened in its 35-19 win over New Hampshire in the second round of the FCS playoffs on Saturday.
The Crusaders (12-0) never trailed. They advance to play the winner between top-ranked South Dakota State and Delaware.
Oliver’s 39-yard touchdown run with 7:27 left in the first quarter finished a six-play, 63-yard drive set up after Crusaders safety Walter Reynolds came up with the first of three interceptions of New Hampshire quarterback Max Brosmer.
Holy Cross pulled away after a 7-5 halftime lead with two touchdowns in both the third and fourth quarters. Oliver ran it in from the 4 four minutes into the second half. Later, Sluka threw a 5-yard score to Jalen Coker with 4:17 left in the third for a 21-5 advantage. That score was set up when Reynolds got his second interception, picking off Brosmer after the ball bounced off the outstretched hand of running back Dylan Laube. Reynolds intercepted the ball at the Crusaders’ 30-yard line and didn’t stop running until being pushed out of bounds at the Wildcats’ 19-yard line.
New Hampshire responded with an eight-play, 75-yard drive that lasted a mere 2:10 and ended when Brosmer threw an 11-yard scoring pass to Kyle Lepkowski. That play reduced the deficit to 21-11 just before the end of the third but Holy Cross closed the door when Sluka ran it in from the 3 to end a 10-play, 75-yard drive that lasted more than six minutes.
Sluka ran for a pair of scores and carried it 12 times for 103 yards. Oliver amassed his 175 yards on 30 carries.
Brosmer threw for 242 yards and two touchdowns to go along with the three interceptions.
Holy Cross earned a first-round bye and was hosting a second-round game for the first time in program history.
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25. Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25