Football GAME NOTES VS. UMASS (11/10/07)

WILDCATS GEAR UP FOR BIG RIVALRY MATCHUP VS. UMASS LIVE ON CN8-TV: UNH head coach Sean McDonnell is not interested in hearing about the word Playoffs. His team is coming off a 31-13 loss to Northeastern and he told his players they will be focusing all week on one thing, playing UMass.  Both the Minutemen and UNH suffered losses last weekend in the wind and rain, as UMass was upset at Rhode Island 12-6. Both are looking to rebound in a game that will draw national attention. A pair of injured, Walter Payton Award candidate quarterbacks face off in Liam Coen of UMass who has struggled through the pain of a knee injury and UNH QB Ricky Santos, who has managed to play through the pain of his injured shoulder. UNH is looking for revenge after losing twice to UMass last season, once during the regular season at Cowell Stadium (28-20) and again in the NCAA quarterfinals in Amherst (24-17). Both games went down to the wire with UNH threatening to score before running out of time. One of the traditions of this rivalry game is the Bill Knight Trophy, which is given annually to the top player of the game.  UMass is averaging 30.3 ppg. this season, while UNH is averaging 38.7. Defensively UNH is allowing 30.3 ppg. while the Minutement allow just 18.7 ppg. Santos has thrown  for 18TDs and run for nine, while Coen checks in with 18 passing TDs.  Fans should be in for some exciting hard-fought football.

SANTOS MOVES UP TO FOURTH ON THE NCAA ALL-TIME CAREER  TD PASSING LIST AND IS SIXTH ALL-TIME IN NCAA PASSING YARDAGE: Senior quarterback Ricky Santos (Bellingham, Mass.) became the CAA's all-time TD passing leader on Sept. 8 after throwing for a pair of TDs against James Madison.. The previous mark was 99 set by Villanova's Chris Boden. Santos now has 117 passing TDs heading into the game vs. Northeastern,  which places him fourth on the NCAA FCS all-time list. He now needs only two more TD passes to tie Alcorn State's Steve McNair for third place on the list and three TD passes to take over the third spot. In passing yardage, Santos is ranked fifth among the NCAA all-time leaders with 12,207 passing yards in his amazing career. Santos was named the pre-season CAA Player of the Year and last year was named the 2006 winner of the Walter Payton Award as the top player in FCS football. He missed winning the honor in 2005 by just five points and is one of 16 top candidates for the honor this year. He could become the only player ever to win the honor twice in their college career.

UNH FOOTBALL FOUR-GAME WINNING STREAK ENDED: The UNH football team haD won four straight games before losing to Northeastern on Nov. 3.  The winning streak started  on Oct. 6 with a victory over Delaware (35-30) through this the hard-fought win over Rhode Island (49-35).  During that successful stretch, the Wildcats also defeated Iona (40-21) and previously undefeated Hofstra (40-3).

SENIOR FREE SAFETY JEFF PAMMER RECORDS BIG TACKLES OVER THE LAST TWO WEEKS FOR 'CATS:  Senior free safety Jeff Pammer (Northampton, Pa.) has been making a strong bid for All-America honors once again in 2007. Over the last two weeks, Pammer has recorded 37 total tackles, including a season-high 21 total tackles vs. Northeastern.

QB RICKY SANTOS PROBABLE DESPITE SHOULDER INJURY:  Senior quarterback Ricky Santos (Bellingham, Mass.) suffered a shoulder injury in the second quarter of the Delaware game on Oct. 6, and missed the rest of the contest. He also sat out the Iona game on Oct. 13. He returned to action on Oct. 20 at Hofstra for three quarters and played the entire game vs. Rhode Island on Nov. 27. He is once again probable to play this week.

UNH DEFENSE HAS FIVE PLAYERS RECORD DOUBLE-DIGIT TACKLES VS. RHODE ISLAND AND EIGHT VS. NORTHEASTERN:  The UNH defense was kept busy vs. Rhode Island on Oct. 27 as five defensive players posted double-digit tackles in the contest. Leading the was was senior linebacker Husain Karim with a career-high 21 tackles, followed with a career-high 16 by senior defensive lineman Marvin Wright, a career-high 16 by redshirt freshman strong safety Hugo Souza, 14 by senior free safety Jeff Pammer and 13 by junior linebacker Matt Parent. Against Northeastern Pammer led the way with 21, followed by Karim (19), Wright (13), John Clements (13), Parent (12), Souza (12), Terrence Klein (12) and Matt  Perdoni (10).

UNH PUNTER TOM BISHOP AVERAGES 42.7 YARDS PER PUNT VS. RHODE ISLAND AS HIS SEASON AVERAGE NEARS 40 YARDS PER PUNT: Junior punter Tom Bishop averaged 42.7 yards per punt in UNH's victory over Rhode Island. On the afternoon, he punted three times for 128 yards with a long of 44 yards. For the season he is averaging 38.8 yards per punt and has punted 33 times for 1,279 yards.

THE SERIES VS. MASSACHUSETTS :  The series between these two long-time New England rivals now stands at 41-25-3 in favor of the Minutemen. UNH has not had a great deal of success in Amherst, as the home team holds a 21-11-1 advantage in games played there. UMass won both games last season, one a regular season contest and the other in the quarterfinals of the NCAA playoffs. UNH head coach Sean McDonnell is 4-5 against UMass during his career.

THE BILL KNIGHT AWARD: The Most Outstanding Player in the University of New Hampshire-Massachusetts football game on November 10th will receive the 22nd Annual Bill Knight Trophy.  The award is named after Bill Knight, the long-time Sports Information Director at New Hampshire. Knight passed away in November of 1985 following a long bout with cancer. In addition to his duties at UNH, Knight was a past President of the New England Sports Information Directors Association, a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee at the 1984 Winter Games and a recipient of the Irving T. Marsh ECAC Service Bureau Award. He also served as the Information Officer of the Yankee Conference. Knight was inducted into the UNH 100 Club Hall of Fame on Oct. 2, 1987. UNH'S Stephan Lewis became the second player to capture the award three years in a row.  In his senior season, Lewis ran for 186 yards and two touchdowns and also caught another TD pass.  In 2000,  Lewis brought the trophy back to Durham for the first time since Jerry Azumah won in 1997. In 1993, UMass fullback John Johnson rushed for 152 yards on 12 carries to break the amazing string of seven consecutive years of quarterbacks winning the award. 1994 was also an historic year for the award, as New Hampshire defensive end Mike Foley became the first defensive player to capture this honor. The pregame banner read the "Battle of the Backs," but two strong and talented defenses proved otherwise. Foley led the way with five tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the end zone for a touchback as UNH prevailed 14-11.1995 marked another first for the trophy as Azumah, a true freshman, took home the hardware. Then, in 1996, Azumah became the second player to win the award two consecutive times. UNH quarterback Matt Griffin also won the honor twice, in 1990 and 1991. Azumah did it one more time in 1997, becoming the first player ever to win the Bill Knight Trophy three consecutive times. Last season Jason Hatchell took home the honor and the last Wildcat to win it was wide receiver David Ball in 2006
    1986    Tim Bryant, QB, UMass
    1987    Bob Jean, QB, UNH
    1988    Dave Palazzi, QB, UMass
    1989    Gary Wilkos, QB, UMass
    1990    Matt Griffin, QB, UNH
    1991    Matt Griffin, QB, UNH
    1992    Jim Stayer, QB, UNH
    1993    John Johnson, FB, UMass
    1994    Mike Foley, DE, UNH
    1995    Jerry Azumah, TB, UNH
    1996    Jerry Azumah, TB, UNH
    1997    Jerry Azumah, TB, UNH
    1998    Marcel Shipp, TB, UMass
    1999    Adrian Zullo, WR, UMass
    2000    Stephan Lewis, TB, UNH
    2001    Stephan Lewis, TB, UNH
    2002    Stephan Lewis, TB, UNH
    2003    Jason Peebler, WR, UMass
    2004    Steve Baylark, TB, UMass
    2005    David Ball, WR, UNH
    2006    JasonHatchell, DE, UMass.

UNH DEFENSE GETS THE JOB DONE VS. HOFSTRA:  The UNH defense not only held the 10th-ranked team in the nation to just three points on Oct. 20, but also came up with four turnovers in the game, which included three interceptions and a fumble recovery.. Coming up with interceptions were senior free safety Jeff Pammer, who returned his 66 yards for a TD, junior linebacker Matt Parent and sophomore defensive lineman T.J. Taylor.

Senior quarterback Ricky Santos earned his second CAA Offensive Player of the Week Award on Monday for his oustanding efforts in UNH's 40-3 victory at No. 10 Hofstra on Oct. 20. Santos, who returned after suffering a shoulder injury in the Wildcats' win over Delaware two weeks ago, garnered CAA Football Offensive Player of the Week honors.  The Bellingham, Mass., native was responsible for five (four passes, one rush) of New Hampshire's six touchdowns in a 40-3 road-win over No. 10 Hofstra.  The senior, who played until midway through the third quarter, had touchdown tosses of 31, 26, 1 and 47 and piled up a total of 262 yards in the air on 19-of-23 attempts.  Santos, who also garnered league offensive honors Sept. 17, finished the game with negative rushing yards, but did cross the goalline once on a one-yard plunge.  Santos remains on the Payton Award Watch List and has been responsible for a total of 20 touchdowns this season, including 12 passing.  He is averaging 282.3 yards of total offense per game which ranks fourth among the CAA leaders.

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