DURHAM, N.H.-- For the second consecutive season, and for the second time in school history, the No. 1-ranked University of New Hampshire football team has advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA I-AA Playoffs. The contest, vs. No. 7 ranked Northern Iowa, is scheduled for Sat., Dec. 3, at 11 a.m. The contest will be shown live on ESPN Game Plan and shown tape delayed on ESPNU at 9:30 p.m.
Northern Iowa arrives in Durham with a 9-3 overall record fresh off an impressive 41-38 home victory over No. 15 Eastern Washington. The Panthers have won five straight games and included in that string are victories over other top 25 opponents such as Western Kentucky on the road (23-20 OT) and Southern Illinois (25-24).
This will also mark the first-ever meeting between the Wildcats and the Panthers. Northern Iowa was the 2005 champion of the Gateway Conference, which was among the top-ranked leagues in I-AA throughout the season. UNH is 0-1 all-time vs. Gateway opponents after losing to Western Kentucky in the 1975 NCAA Division II semifinal contest (Rice Bowl), 14-3.
The Wildcats, at 11-1, have now posted the most wins in the program's history, and are coming off a decisive 55-21 home first-round victory over Patriot League champion Colgate. With the win over the Raiders, UNH now owns a 2-4 NCAA I-AA playoff record. It also marked UNH's first-ever NCAA I-AA victory at Cowell Stadium.
Northern Iowa features a very balanced and explosive offense led by quarterback Eric Sanders, who has 2,146 passing yards this season and has thrown for 18 touchdowns. The Panthers also run the ball very well and have been led in rushing by David Horne with 822 rushing yards, 14 TDs and 68.5 yards per contest.
Tickets will go on sale for the first round game on Mon., Nov. 28, at 10 a.m. at the Whittemore Center Arena, by calling 1-866-WILDCAT or by going to www.unhwildcats.com. Prices are $10 for under 18 youth and seniors, $15 for general admission /standing room only, and $20 for reserved seats. UNH students can buy tickets at the Whittemore Center Box Office and on game day for $5 with their student ID.