UNH FOOTBALL MEDIA NOTES (DELAWARE 9/30)
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THIS WEEK'S GAME :While David Ball needs just one more TD to break the record of 50 career TDs held by legendary NFL wide receiver Jerry Rice, perhaps what is even more important is the fact that UNH will be playing its first Atlantic 10 conference game at Delaware. The Wildcats are ranked No. 1 and undefeated with a 3-0 mark, but whenever a team goes to play at Delaware you can expect the game will be a battle against a great team and in front of a sold-out Delaware Stadium crowd. UNH continues to roll on offense, averaging 479.9 yards per game on offense (No. 1 in I-AA), and averaging 50.6 ppg, also No. 1. In fact, UNH has been amazing at scoring in the Red Zone, hitting paydirt 17 times in 17 opportunities.  The defense has caused eight turnovers in three games played.  Delaware, ranked 17th among the top 25, has a dangerous running back in Omar Cuff, who checks in with 55 carries for 225 yds and two TDs and the squad is coming off an Atlantic 10 victory on the road vs. Rhode Island (24-17). UNH head coach Sean McDonnell has said that he expects Delaware to be highly-motivated to knock of the No. 1 Wildcats and UNH has almost always played well in Newark, which makes this, as it usually is, a very interesting game, which will be broadcast live on CN8. 

RICKY SANTOS AND DAVID BALL NAMED TO THE "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 in recognition of their outstanding efforts last year, and for what the pair is expected to accomplish in 2006. 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 the voting, just five points behind first place, while Ball finished seventh overall in the voting.  Santos has completed 52 of 72 passes for 612 yards and has passed for nine touchdowns. He has also carried the football 18 times for 95 yds and three TDs. Ball has caught 23 passes for 267 yds and five TDs this season.

THE ALL-TIME SERIES VS. DELAWARE: This will mark the 28th meeting between these two Atlantic 10 rivals and the Fightin' Blue Hens lead the series by a commanding 19-8 margin. However, UNH has had some success in recent meetings, posting victories over the Delaware in 2004 (24-21) and in 2000 (45-44 OT). The victory in 2004 at Delaware Stadium featured the first appearance by Ricky Santos as a collegiate quarterback, as the Wildcats lost starting quarterback Mike Granieri to a knee injury early in the contest. Santos went on to earn the victory and the next week, in his first career start, defeated I-A Rutgers (35-24).

SCOUTING DELAWARE: Delaware is off to a 2-1 start with victories over the likes of West Chester (30-7) and Atlantic 10 foe Rhode Island (24-17). The lone loss of the season came at the hands of Albany (17-10).  The team is led on offense by Omar Cuff, who is the squad's top rusher with 55 carries for 225 yards and two touchdowns. Guiding the Delaware offense is junior quarterback Joe Flacco, who has completed 42 of 83 pass attempts for 492 yds and two touchdowns. The team's top receiver is big senior tight end Ben Patrick with 12 catches for 126 yds. Defensively, the squad is led in tackles by KeiAndrew  Hepburn with 26 total tackles (15-11-26).

UNH FOOTBALL HAS THE LONGEST STREAK OF WEEKLY APPEARANCES IN THE TOP 25 AMONG ALL ATLANTIC 10 TEAMS: The Wildcats lead the entire Atlantic 10 in the number of consecutive appearances in the Sports Network Top 25 with 32, including two straight weekly appearances at No. 1 in 2006. UNH has been in the top 25 dating all the way back to Sept. 6, 2004.

1. New Hampshire (32)
2. Massachusetts (19)
3. Richmond (10)

UNH LOOKING TO BREAK ITS OWN RECORD FOR MOST CONSECUTIVE WEEKS RANKED NO. 1:  The UNH football team has been ranked No. 1 for three consecutive weeks. Should UNH stay No. 1 in next Monday's Sports Network Top 25, it would amount to the most consecutive weeks ever at No. 1 for UNH. The Wilidcats were ranked No. 1 for three straight weeks at the end of the 2005 season.

RICKY SANTOS NEEDS 16 PASSING YARDS TO BECOME UNH'S ALL-TIME LEADER IN PASSING YARDS: Junior quarterback Ricky Santos (Bellingham, Mass.) needs just 16 more passing yards heading into the game at Delaware to become UNH's all-time leading passer. He presently has 7,727 yards and is looking to pass Bob Jean, who finished his career with 7742 yards from 1985 -88. With his 318 yards at Dartmouth, Santos passed second-place Ryan Day, who left UNH with 7,670 career yards fom 1997-2001.

VOTE FOR DAVID BALL (CINGULAR NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK):  Four nominees for the Cingular All-America Player of the Week have been announced after the fourth weekend of college football action, and the power now rests solely in the hands of the fans to determine a winner.  New Hampshire wide receiver David Ball, Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson, Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, and South Carolina wide receiver Sidney Rice have been selected by a panel of ESPN college football analysts as this week’s top candidates based on their outstanding performances this weekend.  Fans can determine the winner by text messaging “VOTE” to “87654” on their wireless phone and casting their votes for the nominees.
Ball caught 12 passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns in New Hampshire’s 56-14 win over Dartmouth. Ball caught his 50th career touchdown, tying Jerry Rice’s Division I-AA record. Johnson had six receptions for a career-high 165 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Yellow Jackets to a 24-7 win over Virginia. Johnson had scoring plays of 58 and 66 yards against the Cavaliers. Quinn passed for 319 yards and five touchdowns as the 12th-ranked Fighting Irish overcame a 16 point fourth quarter deficit to defeat Michigan State, 40-37. Quinn previously won the Cingular All-America Player of the Week for his performance against Penn State two weeks ago. Rice hauled in nine passes for 162 yards and a school-record five touchdowns in the Gamecocks’ 45-6 win over Florida Atlantic. Rice set school records for most touchdowns scored and most touchdown receptions in a game. Fans have until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday to submit their votes.  The winner will be announced during ESPN’s Thursday night college football game.  Fans can vote as many times as they like, with each vote counting as one entry into a sweepstakes to win a trip to the 2007 BCS National Championship game.  The Cingular All-America Player of the Week program will continue throughout the season, with the nominees being revealed each Sunday on the 9 a.m. ESPN SportsCenter and on the Web at www.espnallamerica.com.

UNH IN THE ZONE IN THE RED ZONE:  The UNH offense continues to be perfect when it comes to scoring from inside the red zone. UNH is now 17-17 after going 5-5 vs. Dartmouth. Here's a look at what the UNH offense has done from inside the red zone game-by game.

1. Northwestern (5-5)
2. Stony Brook (7-7)
3. Dartmouth (5-5)

UNH FOOTBALL RIDING A THREE-GAME WINNING STREAK:  The UNH football team has opened the 2006 season with three straight victories. The Wildcats opened last season with a 4-0 mark before losing at William & Mary and also went 4-0 to start the season in 2000. The last time UNH opened a season with five or more straight wins was back in 1977, when the Wildcats opened with a seven-game winning streak.

UNH AMONG THE NCAA-I-AA NATIONAL STATISTICAL LEADERS:
Individuals
Ricky Santos (2nd in passing efficiency, 184.9)
Ricky Santos (1st in points responsible for, 24.0 ppg. )
David Ball (5th in receptions per game, 7.67)
UNH Offense
UNH is 1st in total offense (479.67 ypg.)
UNH is 1st in scoring offense (50.67 ppg.)
UNH is 1st in passing efficiency
UNH is third in rushing (254.0 ypg.)
UNH Defense
UNH 5th in turnover margin (2.33 margin)

COACH MAC NEARS THE BIG FIVE-OH:  Eighth-year head coach Sean McDonnell owns a 47-37 record as the head coach at the University of New Hampshire and needs just three more wins 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 23-5 and the team is 13-3 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.

UNH GOAL: MISTAKE-FREE FOOTBALL: The UNH football team, like all football teams, is not perfect, but it has a goal to make as few mistakes as possible. This year's team is not making many mistakes. Here are some examples.
1. Ricky Santos has thrown no interceptions in three games.
2. UNH has allowed just two sacks this season in three games.
3. UNH has just one turnover in three games.

KICK/PUNT RETURNER COREY GRAHAM NAMED ATLANTIC 10 SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK AFTER STONY BROOK CONTEST:  Senior kick/punt returner Corey Graham (Buffalo, N.Y.) was named the Atlantic 10 Special Teams Player of the Week for his efforts in UNH's decisive 62-7 victory over Stony Brook. Graham returned five punts for 75 yards, but one of them went 51 yards for a touchdown at 13:53 of the second quarter to give UNH a 34-7 advantage.

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 is averaging 437.5 yards per contest in 2006.

1. at Northwestern    329 yds    5 TDs
2. Stony Brook    598 yds    9 TDs
3. at Dartmouth     564 yds    8 TDs

UNH'S TACKLE LEADERS THIS SEASON:  The Wildcats have 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. Here's a look at UNH's top tacklers so far this season:

31 Pammer, Jeff      3   16    6    22
53 Karim, Husain     3    9    9    18
7  Clements, John    3   14    3    17
8  Graham, Corey     3    8    7    15

TURNOVERS ARE KEY FOR UNH DEFENSE:  For the UNH defense to be successful turnovers are a key. The UNH defense has created turnovers in each of its three victories this season for a total of eight.

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

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