DAVIS, CALIFORNIA-- Junior wide receiver David Ball (Orange, Vt.) scored on a 4-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Ricky Santos (Bellingham, Mass.) with 35 seconds left in the game to give the University of New Hampshire football team (1-0) to a 17-13 victory over UC Davis (0-1) on Saturday evening.
The final scoring drive for UNH included six plays and covered 84 yards in just 56 seconds thanks to three consecutive catches by Ball from Santos. The first was a 40-yarder to the Aggie 29-yard line. The next was a 25-yarder to the 4-yd line followed by a UNH timeout with 39 seconds to play. Ball then scored the winning touchdown with 35 seconds to play in the contest catching the ball in the front right corner of the end zone.
The Aggies had one last gasp with 19 seconds remaining but quarterback Jon Grant threw a long high pass that landed in the arms of senior strong safety Baron Flenory (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and UNH retained the football and ran out the clock. at the end of three quarters, UNH trailed by a 6-3 margin after being held scoreless in the first half. However, following a 24-yd field goal by senior kicker Connor McCormick (Forty Fort, Pa.), UNH made it 10-6 in favor of the Wildcats on a 6-yd touchdown run by senior running back John McCoy (Groton, Conn.) with 3:34 to play. UC Davis quickly responded with a 1-yd pass from Grant to Brandon Rice that capped an 11 play, 85-yd drive that used only 2:03 off the clock.
UC Davis went up 6-0 at 11:47 of the first quarter when Nelson Doris scored on a 5-yd run and the PAT failed.
Ball finished the day with nine catches for 137 yards to lead all pass catchers. Santos completed 32-47 passes for 336 yards and the game-winning touchdown, while McCoy led all rushers in the contest with 13 carries for 92 yards and a touchdown.
The UNH defense came together after a shaky start in which they gave up a touchdown in the very first series of the contest. However, UC Davis scored only a single touchdown in the final three quarters and UNH held the home team scoreless in the second and third stanzas.
Flenory recorded two interceptions on the evening and redshirt freshman free safety Jeff Pammer (Northampton, Pa.) led all tacklers with 18 total tackles in his first career start. Another big play was recorded by senior linebacker Alan Tallman (Carthage, N.Y.) as he intercepted a Grant pass in the UNH endzone to kill a scoring bid.
Both offenses topped 400 yards as UC Davis compiled 438, while the Wildcats finished with 417 total yards.
UNH has now won nine of its last 10 road games dating back to last season, and UNH head coach Sean McDonnell is now 6-1 in season-openers.
UNH has the upcoming week off and will return to action on Sept. 17 at Towson. Game time is 3 p.m. and the game will be shown live on WMUR-TV (Channel 9).