Rhode Island pulled even with the Wildcats (1-2, 1-0 CAA) at 24-all on Zoe Bryant Jr.'s 2-yard touchdown run that capped a 13-play, 77-yard drive and took 4:16 off the clock. But that still left true freshman quarterback Max Brosmer and New Hampshire 90 seconds to make something happen.
Dylan Laube returned the kickoff 27 yards to the New Hampshire 28 yard-line and Brosmer hooked up with Brian Espanet for a 41-yard gain on first down. Brosmer later kept the drive alive by running for eight yards on third-and-4, setting the stage for Hughes.
The Wildcats took a 7-0 lead just two plays into the game when Brosmer connected with Malik Love for a 78-yard score. Brosmer added a 2-yard TD run to put New Hampshire up 14-0 in the second quarter, but Ahmere Dorsey scored on a 4-yard run to get the Rams (0-3, 0-2) within 14-7 at halftime.
New Hampshire stretched its lead to 21-7 at the 9:09 mark of the third quarter on Brosmer's 2-yard pass to Espanet. Rhode Island pulled within 21-10 on C.J. Carrick's 40-yard field goal heading into the fourth quarter.
Hughes' 34-yard field goal just 37 seconds into the final quarter put the Wildcats up 24-10. But Vito Priore started Rhode Island's rally with an 11-play, 65-yard drive, ending with his 5-yard TD pass to Isaiah Coulter.
Brosmer, the first true freshman to start for New Hampshire, hit 12 of 23 passes for 184 yards and two TDs with one interception. Evan Gray rushed for 123 yards on just seven carries, while Love had four catches for 92 yards. The Wildcats won their home opener for a 14th straight season.
Priore finished 28-of-38 passing for 312 yards and a TD with one pick. Aaron Parker had nine receptions for 144 yards, while Coulter hauled in 10 passes for 105 yards and a score.
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