UNH FOOTBALL MEDIA NOTES (RHODE ISLAND 11/11/06)
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THIS WEEK'S GAME :
UNH head coach Sean McDonnell has told his players what they need to do. The players know what they have to do, and so does the media and UNH fans. No. 13-ranked UNH MUST win its last two games if there is any chance for the Wildcats to make it to the tournament. The focus is on the University of Rhode Island this week, a team that has won two straight games over a pair of very physical Atlantic 10 teams in Maine (3-0) and Hofstra (20-13). The Wildcats have lost three of their last four games with the lone win coming vs. Hofstra (10-6). The Rams are very difficult to prepare for and defend and for the most part are a running option team, as the squad has rushed for 1,755 of its 2,747 total yards this season. The squad has been led by Joe Casey with 158 carries for 772 yards and four TDs and the team's top scoring runner has been quarterback  Derek Cassidy with nine TDs on the year. He has also passed for four  TDs in 2006. For UNH much of the scoring continues to come from quarterback Ricky Santos and David Ball, who connected for a pair of TDs in UNH' loss to UMass last week. UMass had only given up two passing TDs all season before UNH scored twice. Ball increased his NCAA record receiving TD total to 56, six more than NFL legend Jerry Rice compiled during his NCAA career at Mississipi Valley State.

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. 

CONGRATULATIONS UNH SENIORS:
The University of New Hampshire football team honored 16 seniors prior to the start of the Wildcats' final home game vs. Massachusetts. Here's a look at UNH's outstanding senior class:
WR David Ball
WR Aaron Brown
SS Christian Callison
DE Cory Dix
DB Corey Graham
P/WR Matt Henry
LB Muji Karim
FS Terrell Lewis
WR Evan Loring
TE Sean Lynch
DB Will Morey
OL Tucker Peterson
DL Brendan St. Peter
SS A.J. Snook
DL Dan Wagner
OL Will Yarborough
   
THE ALL-TIME SERIES VS. RHODE ISLAND:  This will mark the 80th meeting between these two long-time New England rivals and the Wildcats lead the series by a 47-25-5 margin. In addition UNH has won six of the last 10 meetings between the two squads and the Wildcats are 21-19-2 in Rhode Island. Last season UNH jumped out to a 47-3 halftime lead and won in Durham by a 53-9 margin.  URI has not defeated the Wildcats since the 2003 season when The Rams were victorious, 55-40.

THE LAST TIME OUT, UNH LOSES TO NO. 3 UMASS:  Steve Baylark ran for two touchdowns and Liam Coen passed for two TDs as the third-ranked University of Massachusetts football team fended off ninth-ranked University of New Hampshire to record a 28-20 Atlantic 10 victory Saturday afternoon at Cowell Stadium. UNH is 6-3 overall and 3-3 in Atlantic 10 while UMass, led defensively by Bill Knight Trophy recipient (game MVP in this annual battle) Jason Hatchell (18 tackles), improved to 8-1, 6-0. Baylark carried the ball 20 times for 89 yards and his TD runs of 38 yards (at 3:09 of the second quarter) and one yard (8:49; third) extended the Minutemen’s lead from 14-3 to 28-3. Coen finished the game 11 of 15 for 193 yards. Trailing 28-3 in the third quarter, the Wildcats began their comeback with a seven play, 83-yard drive that culminated with a 33-yard pass play from Ricky Santos (Bellingham, Mass.; 35-for-55, 383 yards, two TD) to David Ball (Orange, Vt.; eight catches, 107 yards) at 6:50. The score, which pulled the ‘Cats within 28-10, marked the 27th game in which Ball has recorded a TD reception and that total ranks second in Div. I-AA history. New Hampshire maintained momentum when a Brendan St. Peter (Marshfield, Mass.) sack forced UMass to punt, and a 20-yard punt return by Jeff Pammer (Northampton, Pa.) gave UNH possession at the UMass 46-yard line. Ten plays later, Tom Manning (Rome, N.Y.) connected on a 37-yard field goal attempt to trim the margin to 28-13 with eight seconds remaining in the third quarter. The Minutemen again were forced to punt – Coen took a knee on 3rd-and-1 when he thought New Hampshire would be whistled for offsides – and UNH began its next drive on its own 3-yard line. UMass forced the ‘Cats to a three-and-out, but a running into the kicker penalty resulted in a first down to extend the drive. The Wildcats capitalized and methodically marched downfield. On 4th-and-2 at the UMass 6. Santos eluded pressure and found Ball in the back of the end zone to lift UNH within 28-20 at 6:48 of the fourth quarter. The 19-play drive went 97 yards in 5:34. UNH’s defense held the visitors to a three-and-out and the ‘Cats regained possession on their 21 with 3:40 remaining. Santos’ pass completions to Keith LeVan (Waltham, Mass.; 12 catches, 115 yards) and Aaron Brown (Central Square, N.Y.) advanced the ball to the UNH 47, and the ‘Cats overcame 1st-and-20 on a 17-yard run by Santos, who was UNH’s leading rusher with 55 yards on 18 carries. A UMass personal foul on that run advanced the ball to the UM 21, then an 11-yard pass play from Santos to Ball gave the ‘Cats 1st-and-goal with 1:30 to play. Santos was stopped for a two-yard gain, then was forced to throw the ball away when the UMass secondary blanketed his receivers on 2nd down. Santos scrambled to his right and was tackled at the UM 3. The ‘Cats called time out on 4th-and-goal with :24 on the clock. Santos’ toss on the option play was batted out of the air by John Hatchell and a teammate fell on the ball on the 13-yard line to secure the victory. The Minutemen took a 7-0 lead at 2:18 of the first quarter when Coen found Rasheed Rancher in the front left corner of the end zone for an eight-yard pass play. That drive began on the UNH 49 after UMass stopped the Wildcats on a fake punt play. UMass’ Tim Washington blocked a punt to give his team possession at the UNH 17, and three plays later a 15-yard strike from Coen to J.J. Moore extended the visitor’s lead to 14-0 at 10:05 of the second quarter. Manning converted a 27-yard field goal attempt to lift the ‘Cats within 14-3 at 4:47, but UMass responded with a four-play, 66-yard drive capped by Baylark’s 38-yard run up the middle to make the score 21-3. The Minutemen took that 18-point advantage into halftime, and a 1-yard plunge by Baylark gave them a 28-3 lead at 8:49 of the third quarter.

UNH IN THE ZONE IN THE RED ZONE: 
The UNH offense continues to be outstanding when it comes to scoring from inside the red zone. UNH is now 31-36 in eight games played. Here's a look at what the UNH offense has done from inside the red zone game-by game.

1. at Northwestern (5-5)
2. Stony Brook (7-7)
3. at Dartmouth (5-5)
4. at Delaware (4-4)
5. Richmond (3-4)
6. James Madison (4-4)
7. Northeastern (2-6)
8. Hofstra (1-2)
9. Massachusetts (3-4)

A GAME-BY-GAME LOOK AT THE UNH OFFENSE (2006):
The UNH offense appears to be explosive yet again. Here's a look at the numbers so far:. UNH has been ranked among the top five offenses all season in I-AA. The Wildcats have topped the 500 yard mark four times this season and have been over 400 five times.

1. at Northwestern    329 yds    5 TDs
2. Stony Brook    598 yds    9 TDs
3. at Dartmouth     564 yds    8 TDs
4 at Delaware    516 yds    7 TDs
5. Richmond    272 yds    3 TDs
6. James Madison    361 yds    3 TDs
7. Northeastern    562 yds    5 TDs
8. Hofstra (high winds, rain)    140 yds    1 TD
9. Massachusetts    441 yds    2 TDs

UNH'S TACKLE LEADERS THIS SEASON: 
The Wildcats had been led in tackles this season by a pair of All-America candidates in junior free safety Jeff Pammer and senior defensive back Corey Graham until both suffered injuries.  Here's a look at UNH's top tacklers so far this season with two relative newcomers in junior linebacker Husain Karim, who leads the team in tackles,  and sophomore corner John Clements getting the job done:

53 Husain Karim      40-35-75
31 Jeff Pammer     33-29-62
7   John Clements    39-15-54
34 Matt Parent    37-26-53

HE'S MY BROTHER: 
The Wildcats have always had outstanding brothers combos and this year is no exception as both senior linebacker Muji Karim and junior linebacker Husain Karim are brothers from Burlington, Vt. Husain leads the entire team in tackles with season (40-35-75), while Muji is not far behind his brother is sixth place on the team with 24-14-38.

TURNOVERS ARE KEY FOR UNH DEFENSE: 
For the UNH defense to be successful turnovers are a key. The UNH defense has created turnovers in five of its six victories this season for a total of 13.  The Wildcats are ranked fourth in all of I-AA football in turnover margin with a mark of 1.3.

Northwestern (3 total, 1 int., 2 fumble recoveries)
Stony Brook (1 fumble recovery)
Dartmouth (4 total, three ints, 1 fumble recovery)
Richmond (4 total, 2 ints, 2 fumble recoveries)
Hofstra (1 fumble recovery)

A RECORD-BREAKING PASSING DAY FOR RICKY SANTOS AT NORTHEASTERN: 
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.

UNH FOOTBALL FALLS TO NO. 13 IN THE SPORTS NETWORK I-AA TOP 25: The UNH football team fell to No. 13 from No. 9 in the top 25 poll after losing a close one to No. 3 Massachusetts on Nov. 4, 28-20. The Wildcats had been ranked No. 1 for a University record five straight weeks before losing to No. 13 James Madison on Oct. 14. UNH opened the season ranked No. 2, but moved up to No. 1 following its victory at Big 10, I-A Northwestern. Here's a look at the Sports Network Rankings for this week:
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