Recognized For Record-Breaking Performance In Upset Victory Over No. 10 Villanova

Ricky Santos

BOSTON -- Redshirt freshman quarterback Ricky Santos (Bellingham, Mass.) of the University of New Hampshire football team, continued his storybook season on Oct. 2 at Villanova. As a result of his record-breaking efforts, he earned his second Gold Helmet Award of the season. The honor is presented weekly by the New England Football Writers each Wednesday on the campus of Harvard University. The Gold Helmet was one of many honors earned by Santos this week. He also was named The Sports Network National Player of the Week, a member of the I-AA.org All-Star Team, Bob Hansen's Football Gazette National Player of the Week, and he was named both the Player of the Week and the Rookie of the Week by the Atlantic 10 Football Conference. Santos has been named the conference's Offensive Player of the Week twice this season and Rookie of the Week three times in 2004.

Santos, who connected with eight different receivers, passed for a school-record six touchdowns in the contest breaking his previous school record of five passing touchdowns, which he recorded in UNH's upset victory at I-A Rutgers on Sept. 11. His passes for paydirt went for 29, 60, 35, 12, 2, and 45 yards.

The UNH record for passing yards also fell on Saturday as Santos compiled an amazing mark of 538 yards. The previous record at UNH was recorded by all-time great quarterback Bob Jean, who passed for 486 yards vs. Villanova back in 1988. Santos also completed 38 passes for another Wildcat record. Former UNH quarterback Ryan Day completed 37 vs. Delaware in 2001. The 538 passing yards also earned him the UNH record for total offense by an individual player. The former mark of 480 yards was turned in by Ryan Day in that same contest vs. Delaware.

Santos utilized his favorite target, helping sophomore receiver David Ball (Orange, Vt.) go on to break the all-time UNH mark for receiving yards in a game with 284 yards and 11 catches. Wildcat receiver Curtis Olds held the previous mark with 231 receiving yards for UNH back in 1988 vs. Villanova. Ball's mark of 284 receiving yards was the third-best, single-game effort ever in the Atlantic 10 and it was the most receiving yards ever by a sophomore.

The efforts of Santos also shattered some key Atlantic 10 records. His passing yardage of 538 yards was the third-best performance ever in conference history and it was the best-ever total by a freshman quarterback.

Santos was the key to UNH snapping a frustrating six-game losing streak to Villanova, a team the Wildcats had not beaten since 1996 (34-0). UNH had not won at Villanova Stadium since the 1995 campaign (12-9).

Santos also earned himself a spot in Villanova's own record books as he recorded the most passing yards and most passing touchdowns ever by an opponent player in that program's long history.

His season statistics speak for themselves. In just 4.5 games played (just over two quarters vs. Delaware), Santos has compiled an incredible 16 passing TDs, 1,546 yards and he has completed an eye-popping 122 of his 177 passing attempts.

Santos and the No. 9 ranked Wildcats, following a week off, return to action on Sat., Oct. 16, vs. traditional rival UMass in a Homecoming matchup. The game could feature one of the best quarterbacks from Massachusetts playing for UNH and one of the top quarterbacks from New Hampshire (Tim Day of Manchester) playing for UMass. Game time is 12 p.m. at Cowell Stadium. The action can be heard live on The UNH Sports Network.

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