The UNH football team is down but certainly not out. Two consecutive losses to James Madison and Northeastern may have lowered the squad's national ranking from No. 7 to No. 11,, but UNH head coach Sean McDonnell has never believed in polls and is not panicking as the staff looks to get the defense healthy again and to keep getting better in all areas. The Wildcats are talking about nothing but Hofstra, a team that is 2-5, but has lost three straight close games to Atlantic 10 opponents. UNH has seen tough physical defenses from every A-10 team and this week is not different, as The Pride has not given up more than 21 points in its last three conference games, with 21 given up to Maine, just 10 to Delaware and 20 vs. Villanova. Leading the impressive defense for Hofstra has been No. 44, Luke Bonus, who leads the squad with 57 tackles, a sack, a recovered fumble, a forced fumble and four pass breakups. UNH must also deal with Gian Villante, who has 56 tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery. He also has six tackles for a loss. UNH's offense produced 35 points in an overtime loss at Northeastern, as Ricky Santos passed three TDs to David Ball, had four for the day, and compiled 435 passing yards. He completed a school record 41 of 66 passes in the contest as well. UNH's offense compiled an eye-popping 562 total yards of offense in the loss.

RICKY SANTOS AND DAVID BALL REMAIN ONTHE "SPORTS NETWORK'S" PAYTON WATCH LIST: Junior quarterback Ricky Santos (Bellingham, Mass.) and senior wide receiver David Ball (Orange, Vt.) were both named to "The Sports Network's" Walter Payton Award Watch List during the week of Oct. 14 in continued recognition of their outstanding efforts this year. Both Santos and Ball have been recognized as preseason All-Americans by several media outlets, including: "The Sports Network", "Street & Smith's, "Lindy's" and "I-AA. org". In last year's voting for the Walter Payton Award, Santos finished second in , just five points behind first place for the closest margin ever, while Ball finished seventh overall in the voting.  Santos has completed 173 of 245 passes for 1,860 yards and has passed for 19 touchdowns, while running for a team-high seven. He has also completed an amazing 70.6 percent of his passes this season. Ball has caught 59 passes for 711 yards and a team-best 9 receiving TDs this season.

This will mark the 10th meeting between these two Atlantic 10 North Division rivals and the visitors lead the all-time series by a 5-4 margin. UNH won the most recent meeting between the two schools, defeating "The Pride" in a thrilling battle in Hempstead last season, 29-26.  The Wildcats have won three straight in the series, defeating Hofstra in 2003 (38-17), 2004 (33-27) and last season. The last time Hofstra defeated UNH was back in 2002 at Cowell Stadium, as the visitors crushed the home team, 52-28.

MIKE BOYLE, BACK FROM A HAMSTRING INJURY, MAKES HIS PRESENCE FELT AT NORTHEASTERN: Junior RB/WR Mike Boyle (Plymouth, N..H.) returned from an injured hamstring in the James Madison game but was not really feeling 100 percent. However, on Oct. 21 at Northeastern he must have been feeling a lot better as he led the Wildcats with 14 catches for 178 yards and a key touchown catch that gave UNH the lead (35-28) capping off its only overtime posession. Both his number of catches and yardage were career highs. In addition, his 14 catches were just one catch shy of the UNH record held by senior wide receiver David Ball, who caught 15 passes at Villanova in 2004..

Junior quarterback Ricky Santos had a record-breaking passing day at Northeastern despite the loss in overtime. Santos completed a school-record 41 passes in the contest, while also breaking the UNH mark for passes attempted with 66. The previous records were 37 completions by Santos at Villanova in 2004 and 65 pass attempts by Ryan Day vs. Delaware in 2000.

It has been very unusual in recent years for UNH to lose two games in a row, let alone three. The last time the Wildcats lost two and three straight games was back in 2003, when UNH lost three in a row at Massachusetts on Oct. 4 (44-30), at home vs. Delaware on Oct. 11 (22-21) and on the road at Richmond (35-23).

Senior wide receiver David Ball (Orange, Vt.), a two-time first-team All-American,  has been in the media spotlight since the preseason, making appearances in"Sports Illustrated",  "The New York Times", "USA Today",  "ESPN The Magazine and he has even been on Sirius NFL Radio live with Jerry Rice.  Why? He  has broken and is chasing some of the records that NFL legend Rice set during his I-AA football days at Mississippi Valley State, numbers that many said could never be broken. Here's a look at what Ball has accomplished and what he needs to break some major NCAA I-AA receiving all-time records.

Touchdown Catches: Ball made the record-breaking TD reception in the third quarter of the Richmond game, a 1-yard pass from junior quarterback Ricky Santos that gave UNH a 14-13 advantage and the lead for good in the 27-17 win. The chase is over for this record and Ball continues to add to the total.
1. David Ball, New Hampshire (54)
2. Jerry Rice, Mississippi Valley State (50)

Receiving Yards: Ball now needs 441 receiving yards to tie the mark of 4,693 set by Jerry Rice.  He also surpassed the 4,000-yard receiving yardage mark with his 111 yards vs. James Madison.

1. Jerry Rice, Mississippi Valley State (4,693)
David Ball, New Hampshire (4,252)

Games With At Least One TD Catch: Ball checks in with 26 career contests where he has caught at least one TD catch.  He has now tied Jerry Rice's NCAA mark of 26. The all-time NCAA record is presently held by Eric Kimble of Eastern Washington, who finished his career with 29 games with at least one TD catch.

1. Eric Kimble, Eastern Washington (29)
2. David Ball, New Hampshire (26)
2. Jerry Rice, Mississippi Valley State (26)

100-Yard Receiving Performances: Ball needs just two more 100 yard games to tie Jerry Rice's mark of 23 100 -yard receiving performances. Ball had his 201st 100-yard effort at Northeastern.

1. Jerry Rice, Mississippi Valley State (23)
    David Ball, New Hampshire (21)


1. David Ball's 24 scoring receptions in 2005 marked the second-highest single-season total in I-AA history.

2. In 2005, David Ball tied Randy Moss' I-AA single-season record with a touchdown catch in 11 games.

COACH MAC NEEDS JUST ONE MORE WIN FOR HIS 50TH AS A HEAD COACH AT UNH: Eighth-year head coach Sean McDonnell owns a 49-39 record as the head coach at the University of New Hampshire and needs just one more win to reach 50 victories as a head coach at UNH. He returns as the reigning Eddie Robinson Coach of  the Year as selected by "The Sports Network".  Over the past three seasons, McDonnell and his team have posted an impressive overall mark of 26-7 and the team is 15-5 vs.  Atlantic 10 opponents. McDonnell was named the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year in 2004 and was named District I Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) after leading UNH to its best season ever in the history of the program. The Wildcats also finished first in the North Division of the Atlantic 10 Football Conference and won their first-ever NCAA I-AA tournament game with a victory at Georgia Southern. McDonnell has led his squad to the NCAA I-AA Quarterfinals in each of the last two seasons.

Ricky Santos (10th in passing efficiency, 157.53)
Ricky Santos (3rd in total offense, 301.29 ypg.)
David Ball (2nd in receptions per game, 8.43)
David Ball (8th in reception yardage per game, 101.57)
UNH Offense
UNH is 3rd in total offense (450.00 ypg.)
UNH is 2nd in scoring offense (41.29 ppg.)
UNH is tied for 5th in passing (275.0 ypg.)
UNH Defense
UNH is 6th in turnover margin (1.14)

UNH HOME ATTENDANCE LOOKING GOOD:  Last year UNH football drew two crowds of over 8,000 people to Cowell Stadium, a place that has just 6,500 seats. Attendance did not fall much after the success of 2005. UNH enjoyed a home crowd of 7,395 fans in its home-opener vs. Stony Brook on Sept. 16. UNH then had 8,299 fans for the Richmond game. On Homecoming (Oct. 14), UNH had the most fans it has seen in the modern era with 13,042.  The attendance record for Cowell Stadium is 20,000 for the UMass game played in 1977. UNH is now averaging 9,579 fans per home contest.

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