FOOTBALL GAME DAY (OCT. 3 AT TOWSON)
WILDCATS IMPROVE TO 3-0 AND HEAD INTO CAA -OPENER AT TOWSON: UNH continues to record wins and is 3-0 heading into its first CAA matchup of the season at Towson. UNH is coming off its highest-scoring effort of the year with 44 points and many players got into the act with three quarterbacks, 10 ball-carriers and 11 receivers making an impact with stats. UNH's offense continues to improve and Saturday was no exception as the Wildcats compiled 528 yards of offense. Meanwhile, the defense, which had some injuries to deal with up front, with Steve Young and Bryan McNally out, still only gave up 14 points. The UNH D has not allowed more than 16 points this season at Ball State, an FBS opponent. The Wildcats are giving up an average of only 14.7 ppg. through three games played in 2009. In fact the Wildcats have more than doubled its opponents point totals, as the Wildcat offense has scored 91 points this season as compared to a collective 44 points by their opponents. UNH is averaging 30.3 ppg. this season. Opponents are averaging just 213 ypg. against the Wildcats. Meanwhile the offense is moving the football at a 375.7 ypg. clip. The key to the win was the five turnovers the UNH defense caused against the Big Green, including two interceptions by junior defensive back Dino Vasso, who returned his second pick 34 yards for a touchdown to seal the victory for the Wildcats.
SCOUTING TOWSON: Towson is 1-3 heading into its CAA season-opener vs. UNH after defeating Coastal Carolina (21-17), but losing at Northwestern (47-14) and most recently at Morgan State (12-9) in poor weather. Towson has been getting great production out of senior wide receiver David Newsom, who checks in as the team's top receiver with 15 catches for 212 yards and three touchdowns. He is averaging 70 receiving yards per game. The squad's leading rusher has been Tremayne Dameron who has run with the football 63 times for 243 yards and a touchdown. He is averaging 81.9 ypg. for the Tigers. At quarterback, first-year head coach and former Towson offensive coordinator Rob Ambrose has been utilizing two players with Peter Athens leading the way after completing 39 of 66 passes for 420 yards and four touchdowns. On the defensive side of the football, redshirt freshman linebacker Denzel White leads the squad in tackles (12-15-27) and Yaky Ibia has given offenses problems with his team-high five tackles for a loss and one sack this season. As a team, Towson has been outscored by opponents (25.3-14.7 ppg.) and has been outgained by the enemy (345.0-288.0 ypg.). Coach Ambrose has been a veteran of coaching college football for 17 years and is the fourth coach at Towson in the 40-year history of the program. He servved as the Tiger's offensive coordinator from 1997 through 2000. He also served as the head football coach at Catholic University in 2001 and was an assistant coach there from 2002 through 2008. He was the offensive coordinator at UConn from 2006-08.
UNH AND TOWSON PRESIDENTS SET FOR CRUSTACEAN KICK-OFF CHALLENGE: DURHAM, N.H. - University of New Hampshire President Mark W. Huddleston has a crab feast riding on the outcome of the Oct. 3, 2009, football game between the UNH Wildcats and the Towson University Tigers when Towson President Robert Caret -- a UNH alum -accepted Huddleston's friendly Crustacean Challenge -- one dozen New Hampshire lobsters against a bushel of Maryland blue crabs. The UNH D.C. Alumni Chapter and UNH Athletics are partnering to ensure UNH has a strong presence at the game, hosting a pre-game tailgating reception for Wildcat fans from 1-3 p.m. Kick-off is 3:30 p.m. Tickets to the game and pre-game reception are $25, which includes a ticket in the UNH seating area at Johnny Unitas Stadium, food, beverage and cash bar plus shuttle transportation to the stadium; $15 for tailgating only. Wildcat merchandise will be available at the UNH Alumni Association Marketplace and the Wildcat Marching Band will perform. A limited number of tickets are available to the pre-game reception, so fans are encouraged to take advantage of early registration. For more information, to purchase tickets and to register for the pre-game tailgating party visit http://www.alumni.unh.edu or call Lynn Smith at (603) 862-2040. A special hotel rate of $109 per night is available at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Baltimore North-Hunt Valley for anyone traveling. Call 877-898-1721 and ask for the special UNH group rate.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES VS. TOWSON: The UNH football program has never lost to Towson and leads the all-time series vs. Tigers by a 5-0 margin. UNH defeated Towson in the series opener (10-6) in Maryland and then won at home in 1981 (31-29. The series did not start up again until 2004 when UNH won at home (52-24). In 2005, the Wildcats won 62-21 and last season UNH won by a 42-14 margin. UNH has averaged an amazing 41.4 ppg. vs. Towson, while only givng up 18.8 ppg. in the five meetings. In the most recent CAA conference games, UNH has outscored Towson by a 55.3-19.7 ppg. margin.
UNH FOOTBALL ON TELEVISION FOR FIRST TIME IN 2009: The UNH game vs. Towson marks the Wildcats' first game on television this season. A CAA production, the game will be shown live on all three Comcast Networks, including Comcast Sportsnet New England. Play-by-play for the game will be handled by Bob Picozzi and the color will be provided by Scott Brunner.
WILDCATS ONCE AGAIN OFF TO FANTASTIC START: UNH has opened the 2009 season with a 3-0 mark after defeating St. Francis, Ball State, and Dartmouth. Getting off to a quick start has been a Coach McDonnell trademark in recent seasons. The Wildcats got out of the gates 4-0 in 2008, 5-0 in 2006, 4-0 in 2005 and 4-1 in 2004.
WILDCATS KEEP GRANITE BOWL TROPHY AT HOME WTH 44-14 VICTORY OVER DARTMOUTH: DURHAM, N.H.— The No. 6-ranked University of New Hampshire football team put together a 24-0 scoring run in the second half to keep the Granite Bowl Trophy at home after posting a decisive 44-14 victory over Dartmouth in front of a home crowd of 8,271 at Cowell Stadium Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats, now 3-0 overall in 2009, were led by sophomore backup quarterback Kevin Decker (Armonk, N.Y.) who threw for a touchdown and ran for another to put the game away for UNH in the second half. For the Big Green, now 0-2 overall this season, sophomore running back Nick Schweiger recorded the first 100 yard rushing game for Dartmouth since October of 2007. He finished the day with 26 carries for 119 yards. The victory gave the Wildcats the lead in the all-time series, which now stands at 18-17-2. The game was still in question into the third quarter as the Wildcats led 20-14, but then UNH junior starting quarterback R.J. Toman (Mission Viejo, Calif.) left the game with a toe injury. The Big Green was driving quickly down field, but gave up a fumble that was recovered by senior defensive back Ryan Hinds (Toronto, Ont.), which gave UNH the ball on its own 12 yard line. UNH took advantage of the turnover with a long, sustained 13-play, 88 yard drive that was capped by a beautiful 15-yard touchdown pass by Decker (Armonk, N.Y.) to senior wide receiver J.T. Wright (Agoura Hills, Calif.). Decker completed a two-point conversion pass to junior running back Sean Jellison (Amherst, N.H.) and UNH held a 28-14 lead with 3:12 left in the third quarter. UNH took control of the game for good at 11:11 of the fourth quarter after Decker ran to the sideline, tip-toed along it, and then dove into the end zone on a 33-yard touchdown scamper to give the Wildcats a commanding 34-14 advantage. Junior defensive back Dino Vasso (Crum Lynn, Pa.) added an exclamation point to the Wildcat run with 7:36 left to play when he grabbed his second interception of the game and ran it back 34 yards for a touchdown to give the Wildcats the 41-14 lead with just 7:36 remaining in the contest. UNH senior kicker Tom Manning (Rome, N.Y.) finished the scoring with a 24 yard field goal with 1:03 to play in the game as he completed the 24-0 run by the ‘Cats. The contest began wildly as UNH started the scoring at 12:17 after a long and effective opening drive for the ‘Cats that went eight plays for 70 yards and was capped off by a 4 yard TD run by senior running back Chad Kackert (Simi Valley, Calif.), who was playing in his first game after suffering a pulled hamstring during fall preseason practice. UNH led 7-0 after the PAT. The Big Green responded quickly, however, taking advantage of a 58 yard kickoff return by Shawn Abuhoff. Quarterback Alex Jenny completed a 10 yard TD pass to wide receiver Michael Reilly and the game was tied (7-7) with 10:14 remaining in the first stanza. UNH answered. The Wildcats took a 14-7 lead at 7:16 of the first quarter following another TD run, this time for 15 yards. by Kackert, his second of the game and season as he scampered in for the score. The Wildcat defense came up with a forced fumble by sophomore safety Ryan McGuinness (Howell, N.J.), which was recovered by Hinds. The offense took over once again, and Toman completed a beautiful pass to sophomore wide receiver Mickey Mangieri (Bedford, N.Y.) for 65 yards that could have been a touchdown had it not been stopped by a Big Green touchdown saving tackle. UNH still managed to score on the drive with a 7 yard touchdown run by Toman with 2:41 remaining in the first quarter and UNH was up by a 20-7 margin after a blocked PAT. The Big Green took advantage of a key UNH penalty and made the Wildcats pay when Jenny completed a 12 yard TD pass to wide receiver Niles Murphy that made the game close again, as UNH’s lead was narrowed to 20-14. The Big Green was driving again late in the first half, but an outstanding interception by Vasso in the UNH end zone in the closing seconds allowed UNH to hold the lead heading into the lockerroom at the half. Looking at the statistics for the day, Kackert led UNH in rushing with 12 carries for 71 yards and two touchdowns. Decker completed 9 of 14 passes for 76 yards and a touchdown and Toman completed 9 of 13 passes for 154 yards. UNH had 10 different players rush the football and 11 players made catches. Senior tight end Scott Sicko (Stillwater, N.Y.) led all UNH receivers with five catches for 53 yards. UNH was led defensively by Vasso, who collected two interceptions and seven tackles and by linebackers Devon Jackson and Sean Ware, who each had a team-high eight tackles. Jenny had a solid day at quarterback for Dartmouth completing 20 of 29 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns and wide receiver Scott Tanner led the Big Green with six catches for 48 yards. UNH outgained the visitors on the afternoon (528 yards to 314 yards) and the UNH defense recorded five turnovers in the contest.
UNH DEFENSE RANKED NO. 3 IN THE NATION IN YARDAGE ALLOWED PER GAME: The UNH defense continues to impress and has proven itself to be the strength of the team, After three games played the Wildcats are ranked No. 3 in the nation when it comes to yards allowed with a very low mark of 213.0 yards per game. The team has also compiled eight sacks, recovered six fumbles, and have intercepted four passes. UNH has also been outstanding against the run, ranked 12th in the nation and allowing opponents just 73.67 yards per game on the ground, while giving up just 139.3 yards per game through the air.
A LOOK AT UNH AMONG THE NATION'S STATISTICAL LEADERS: The Wildcats are ranked high in several statistical categories according to www.NCAA.com.
Total Defense 3rd 213.0 ypg.
Rushing Defense 12th 73.67 ypg.
Pass Eff. Defense 5th 92.99 ypg.
Sacks 22nd 2.67 pg.
Ryan Hinds-Interceptions T22nd .67 ipg.
Dino Vasso T22nd .67 ipg.
Sean Jellison-Scoring T24th 8.0 ppg.
WILDCAT OFFENSE PROVING TO BE A QUICK-STARTER: The UNH offense has always prided itself on being a quick-starter and this season looks to be no different. In three games played UNH has has been explosive in the first quarter with 41 of its 91 total points scored in the opening stanza. Comparing first half to second half point totals, the 'Cats have scored 60 points in the first half and 31 in the second half.
SPREADING THE OFFENSE AROUND: In just three games played, UNH has had 10 different players run with the football and no less than 13 different players have caught the football for the Wildcats.
JUNIOR PUNTER RYAN GLASOW AS PLEASANT SURPRISE AS THE STARTING PUNTER FOR UNH: Junior punter Ryan Glasgow (Beford, N.H.) is one of the pleasant surprises of the fall for the football team. He has earned the starting nod at punter and has made the most of his opportunity this season. Looking at the numbers, he is averaging 39.0 yards per punt and has had no less than seven of his 18 kicks land inside the 20 yard line. He has also kicked one punt over 50 yards a career-best 60-yarder in the first game of the season vs. St. Francis.
A LOOK AT 11TH-YEAR HEAD COACH SEAN McDONNELL:11th-year head coach Sean McDonnell, who now owns a 73-50-0 record as the head coach at the University of New Hampshire. In the last six seasons, McDonnell and his team has posted an impressive overall mark of 50-17 and the program is 28-12 vs. CAA opponents during that timespan. He was named the New England Football Writers Coach Of the Year for his outstanding efforts in 2008. It was the second time he won the award, after being honored in 2005. McDonnell led UNH to its fifth straight appearance in the NCAA Playoffs and a 10-3 mark in 2008. He was named the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year in 2005 as selected by "The Sports Network". 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 led his squad to the NCAA I-AA Quarterfinals four times 2004 through 2006 and in 2008.
UNH QUICK HITTERS:
• The Wildcats have nine different players who are in double digits in tackles after three games played.
• Senior linebacker and tri-captain Sean Ware leads UNH in tackles made with 21 (12-9-21). Ware is ranked 16th among the CAA tackle leaders this season.
• Senior corner Ryan Hinds is ranked second in the CAA in passes defended this season with 1.67 per game.
• Junior Hugo Souza and senior Ryan Hinds are both tied for the CAA lead in fumbles recovered with two apiece..
• UNH has seven different players who have recorded sacks in 2009.
• UNH is ranked first in the CAA in yardage allowed with a mark of just 213.0 yards per game.
• UNH is ranked second in the CAA in rushing defense with a mark of 73.7 ypg.
• UNH is ranked No. 1 in the CAA in pass defense with a mark of 139.3 yards per contest.
• UNH is ranked No. 1 in the CAA in Red Zone offense with with a mark of 90.0 percent (9 of 10).
• UNH is ranked No. 2 in the CAA in turnover margin at +2.00.
• First-year assistant coach Jake Zweig was a Navy SEAL for Team 8 in Little Creek, Va. and attained the rank of Lieutenant.
• First-Year assistant coach Matt Dawson is the brother of Mike Dawson who was defensive coordinator at UNH and moved on to coach at Akron.
• The football team picked sophomore linebacker John Duffey as the best dancer on the squad. He can be seen on video on the front page of www.unhwildcats.com.
• The players had several nominations for funniest UNH teammate in the video, but sophomore wide receiver Micky Mangieri was widely regarded as one of the funniest.
• Starting left tackle Seth Price was recruited for and played basketball for the UNH men's basketball team before switching over to play football for the Wildcats. He is 6-6, 280 pounds and was recruited by several Division I colleges to play both football and basketball.