PHILADELPHIA-- Redshirt freshman quarterback Ricky Santos
(Bellingham, Mass.) of the University of New Hampshire football team was
named the Atlantic 10 Football Conference's Rookie of the Week for his
heroic efforts in UNH's 24-21 upset victory over No. 1 ranked Delaware on
Sept. 2. The Fightin' Blue Hens were in the midst of celebrating last
year's Division I-AA national championship title.
Santos replaced injured starting quarterback Mike Granieri (Linwood, N.J.) late in the second quarter vs. Delaware and led the UNH squad to victory with an accurate throwing arm and confidence and poise behind the line. Santos handed off repeatedly to starting running back R.J. Harvey (Albany, N.Y.) and also completed 10 of 11 passes for 146 yards. The big pass of the day for the 'Cats was a 44-yarder from Santos to sophomore wide receiver David Ball (Orange, N.J.) for the game-winning touchdown to make it 24-21 with 11:13 left to play. UNH had been trailing by a 21-17 margin with just 13:56 left in the fourth stanza. That score capped off an 8-play 67-yard drive effectively engineered by Santos.
There was more good news for Santos today as UNH head coach Sean McDonnell listed him as the starter on the UNH two-deep heading into the Sept. 11 contest at Division I-A Rutgers, a team that defeated a powerful Michigan State squad on Saturday (19-14). Santos has already won a game in front of 22,700 fans vs. Delaware, his first collegiate start and his first collegiate win vs. the No. 1 team in I-AA football. This week, he conceivably could be getting his first starting nod in front of nearly 42,000 people at Rutgers Stadium. In addition, the game will be shown on a tape-delayed basis on Fox Sports New York beginning at 11:30 p.m., making this another exciting opportunity for the redshirt freshman.
Senior quarterback Hasan Noble (Palo Alto, Calif.) will be listed as the backup quarterback on the Rutgers two-deep. He continues to suffer from an ankle sprain, but is improving steadily and could play if necessary.
Granieri underwent testing on his knee on Friday afternoon and more will be known about the extent of his injury sometime on Monday.