Santos throws for 371 yards, five touchdowns
DURHAM, N.H. -- Ricky Santos (Bellingham, Mass.) completed 28 of 33 pass attempts for 371 yards and five touchdowns to propel the No. 1-ranked University of New Hampshire football team to Saturday afternoon's 45-17 Atlantic 10 victory against Villanova University in front of 8,012 fans at Cowell Stadium.
UNH, which also amassed 226 rushing yards for a total of 572 offensive yards, is now 4-0 overall and 2-0 in Atlantic 10. Villanova is 2-2, 1-1.
The homestanding Wildcats scored on their first play from scrimmage when Santos threw a backwards pass to Mike Boyle (Plymouth, N.H.), who then flipped the ball back to Santos and the quarterback found a wide open David Ball (Orange, Vt.) for a 66-yard TD pass. New Hampshire scored a touchdown on five of eight first-half possessions to build a 35-17 halftime lead.
Santos, who completed his first 10 pass attempts (142 yards, two TDs) before throwing an incompletion, connected with five Wildcat receivers. Ball compiled a game-high 128 receiving yards and three TDs on five catches and Aaron Brown (Central Square, N.Y.) had 10 receptions for 112 yards. UNH's ground game was led by John McCoy (Groton, Conn.) with 88 yards on 15 carries.
Villanova recorded an impressive 497 yards of offense, including 418 through the air, but was held scoreless for the final 34:36 of the game. Starting quarterback Frank Jankowski was 36 of 52 for 385 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. J.J. Outlaw finished with a career-high 10 receptions for 123 yards.
UNH's secondary led the defensive efforts with three double-digit tacklers, three tackles for a loss, a forced fumble, two interceptions and a sack. Etienne Boulay (Montreal, Quebec) had 13 tackles - one for a loss -- and an interception. Baron Flenory (Pittsburgh, Pa.) was credited with 12 tackles - one for a loss - a forced fumble, an interception, a sack and two pass breakups. Jeff Pammer (Northampton, Pa.), who entered the game as the team's leading tackler, finished with 11 tackles and also blocked a punt.
Santos touchdown strikes to Brown (27 yards at 8:11) and Ball (17 yards at 2:30) surrounded a 35-yard field goal by VU's James Adams and gave UNH a 21-3 first-quarter lead.
The teams traded touchdowns in the second quarter as UNH scored on drives of 97 and 93 yards. A 34-yard pass play from Jankowski to Outlaw pulled 'Nova within 21-10 at 13:02, but Boyle's 22-yard touchdown run pushed the advantage back to 18 points, 28-10, at 8:06. Another Jankowski to Outlaw strike, this time from 22 yards, made it 28-17 at 4:47 but Santos connected with Ball on an 18-yard pass play to close the first-half scoring at 2:24.
UNH opened the third quarter with an eight-play, 77-yard drive that culminated in a 14-yard Santos to Keith LeVan (Waltham, Mass.) pass play to extend its advantage to 42-17. Connor McCormick (Forty Fort, Pa.), who was 6-for-6 in PAT attempts, made a 34-yard field goal attempt to close the scoring at 3:50 of the third quarter.
New Hampshire returns to action Oct. 8 (1 p.m.) at William & Mary. The next Wildcat home game is Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 15 vs. the University of Rhode Island. Kickoff at Cowell Stadium is 12 p.m.