FOOTBALL GAME DAY (OCT. 17 NO. 4 UNH AT NO. 18 MASSACHUSETTS) LIVE ON CSNE

FULL SET OF GAME NOTES IN PDF |VIDEO  | AUDIO

UNDEFEATED NO. 4 WILDCATS HIT THE ROAD WITH A KEY CAA NORTH DIVISION RIVALRY GAME AT NO. 18 UMASS: Whenever UNH and UMass meet on the football field it is always  a hard-fought, traditional rivalry game. Both teams are in the CAA North Division and both are off to strong starts as UNH is undefeated at 5-0, and UMass is 3-2 but barely lost to FBS squad Kansas State in their season opener (21-17). The Wildcats are ranked No. 4 in the nation and the Minutemen are ranked No. 18 in this week's poll. Both teams feature strong and talented defenses and both teams can score in a hurry on offense. UNH is averaging 35.2 ppg. this season and UMass checks in at 32.4 ppg. UNH is giving up just 15.0 ppg. and UMass has allowed just 19.6 ppg. this season. Up for grabs in this contest is the Bill Knight Trophy, which is named after former UNH Sports Information Director, Bill Knight, and is awarded to the MVP of the game as decided by the team's SIDs and the media. UNH, which also sits on top of the CAA North Division with a 2-0 record in the conference, can distance itself from the rest of the team's in the division with a key CAA win and the Minutemen can close the gap with a victory over the Wildcats this week. Fans can once again expect a battle on the football field between these two New England rivals. The game can also be seen live on Comcast Sportsnet New England.

SCOUTING UMASS:  The Minutemen are 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the CAA and are coming off a hard-fought loss at Delaware, 43-27. The team took Kansas State to the wire in their first game of the season and was defeated (21-17), but posted victories over the likes of Albany, Rhode Island and Stony Brook.  The Minutemen have been very tough against the run for most of the season and have held opponents to just 118.0 rushing yards per contest and are giving up just 304 yards per game in 2009, while the offense is moving the football well with 406.6 yards per contest. Leading the team at quarterback this season has been Kyle Havens who has completed 88-156 passes for seven touchdowns, while also throwing 7 interceptions. The offense's mainstay at tailback is Tony Nelson who has carried the football 84 times for 375 yards and he is averaging nearly 100 rushing yards per contest (93.8 ypg.). Looking at the receivers, the key targets of Havens have been Victor Cruz and his 23 catches for 400 yards and three touchdowns, while Julian Talley has also been hot with 15 receptions for 212 yards. On the defensive side of the football, look for Tyler Holmes to rack up the tackles as the team's leader (20-25-45) and Jeromy Miles with his 35 tackles. Both players lead UMass in interceptions this season with two apiece. As a team, the defense has compiled seven sacks this season but has been in the backfield consistently with a total of 32 tackles for a loss of 123 yards. UMass is coached by first-year mentor Kevin Morris, who is in his ninth year at UMass overall and his seventh season as a head coach overall. He was the offensive coordinator at UMass from from 2004-2008.

THE ALL-TIME SERIES VS. UMASS:  The all-time series between UNH and UMass stands at 42-26-3 in favor of the Minutement and UMass has dominated at home with a mark of 22-11-1 vs. the Wildcats.  The Minutemen are also 15-7 vs. UNH at McGuirk Stadium. UNH was victorious in last year's contest by an impressive 52-21 margin in Durham after putting together a 38-7 lead at halftime. The most points scored by UNH in a UMass game is 56 in 1921 and the most scored by UMass is 64 in 1988. The all-time series began in 1897.

A LOOK AT THE CAA STANDINGS:

NORTH DIVISION    CAA    OVERALL
New Hampshire    2-0    5-0
Maine                  2-1    3-3
Massachusetts     1-1    3-2
Hofstra               1-2    3-3
Rhode Island       0-2    1-4
Northeastern       0-3    0-6

SOUTH DIVISION CAA    OVERALL
Richmond          3-0    5-0
Villanova           2-1    5-1
William & Mary  2-1    5-1
Delaware          2-2    4-2
Towson            1-1    2-3
James Madison 0-2    1-3

THE HISTORY OF THE  BILL KNIGHT AWARD: The Most Outstanding Player in the University of New Hampshire-Massachusetts football game on November 15th will receive the 24th 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 senior linebacker Matt Parent won the honor after returning a interception 100 yards for a touchdown in the UNH victory.
   
    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    Jason Hatchell, DE, UMass
    2007    Matt Lawrence, TB, UMass
    2008    Matt Parent, LB, UNH

A LOOK BACK AT LAST YEAR'S UNH VICTORY OVER UMASS: DURHAM, N.H. – Matt Parent (Long Beach, Calif.) recorded six tackles, two fumble recoveries and a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown to lead the 13th-ranked University of New Hampshire football team to Saturday afternoon’s 52-21 CAA victory against 22nd-ranked University of Massachusetts on Senior Day at Cowell Stadium. UNH improves to 8-2 overall and 5-2 in the CAA while UMass is now 6-5, 3-4. Parent was named the recipient of the 23rd Annual Bill Knight Award, which is presented to the most outstanding player in the game between these programs. He is the third defensive player to earn the award. The Wildcats’ defense forced six turnovers and five three-and-outs in 15 Minutemen possessions. UNH’s balanced offense amassed 326 rushing yards and 295 passing yards for a total of 621 yards. R.J. Toman (Mission Viejo, Calif.) completed 10 of 18 attempts for 295 yards and four touchdowns; he also had a 43-yard rushing TD and 61 yards on the ground. Mike Boyle (Plymouth, N.H.) had four receptions for 147 yards and one TD, and he also had two carries for 42 yards. Chris Jeannot (Moon Township, Pa.) caught two passes – both for scores – for 92 yards. Robert Simpson (Brockton, Mass.) was UNH’s top rusher with 125 yards on 23 carries. Chad Kackert (Simi Valley, Calif.) scored once on the ground and once through the air and had a total of 128 yards (86 rushing, 42 receiving). For UMass, Tony Nelson went over 1,000 yards on the season during his 24-carry, 154-yard effort. Liam Cruz had nine receptions for 80 yards as the top target for Liam Coen, who was 22-for-41 for 211 yards, one TD and four interceptions. Defensively, Jeromy Miles was credited with a game-high 18 tackles. Sparked by Parent’s 100-yard interception return, UNH raced out to a 24-0 lead in the first quarter. The Wildcats took a 3-0 lead on a Tom Bishop (Newfield, N.Y.) career-long 46-yard field goal at 13:34. On the subsequent UMass possession, the Minutemen faced 3rd-and-goal at the UNH 6 and Coen’s pass intended for Joe Sanford was deflected at the goal line by Dino Vasso (Crum Lynne, Pa.). Parent caught the ball and, surrounded by a fleet of blockers, rumbled down the left sideline for the TD at 9:30.New Hampshire’s defense immediately gained the ball back on a Devon Jackson (Williamstown, N.J.) interception that gave the ‘Cats possession at the UM 43.

UNH DEFENSE RANKED NO 1 IN THE NATION IN TURN OVER MARGIN AND RANKED HIGH IN SEVERAL OTHER STATISTICAL CATEGORIES:  The UNH defense remains among the national leaders in several key statistical categories. The Wildcats are No. 1 in the nation in turnover margin (2.60), No. 2 in pass efficiency defense (82.59), fourth in total defense (238.40) and sixth in pass defense (139.20).

UNH ARGUABLY THE TOP DEFENSE IN THE CAA: The UNH football team is ranked No. 1 among CAA teams in several key statistical categories. The Wildcats are No. 1 in total defense (238.40 ypg.), first in pass efficiency defense (82.59), first in scoring defense (15.0 ppg.), first in turnover margin (2.60), and first in pass defense (139.20). UNH is also second in sacks with an average of 3.0 per contest.

UNH LEADS THE CAA IN BOTH SCORING OFFENSE AND SCORING DEFENSE: If you can score more than other teams and keep other teams from scoring more than you then you will win football games. UNH is doing just that as the top CAA team in scoring (35.20) and scoring defense (15.00).

A LOOK AT WHAT THE UNH DEFENSE HAS DONE SO FAR IN 2009, GAME-BY-GAME: The No. 1 ranked UNH defense has done a great job of holding teams to low yardages in 2009. Here's a look game-by-game at opponent yardge totals. UNH is allowing just 238.40 ypg this season:

St. Francis       14 points        198 yards
Ball State        16 points        127 yards
Dartmouth      14 points        314 yards
Towson             7 points        201 yards
Villanova         24 points        352 yards

A LOOK AT UNH'S IMPROVEMENT GAME-BY GAME OFFENSIVELY: The UNH offense continues to score more and move the ball better in 2009. Here's a look at what the team has done in terms of yards and scoring in 2009.

St. Francis       24 points        277 yards
Ball State        23 points        212 yards
Dartmouth      44 points        259 yards
Towson           57 points        285 yards
Villanova        28 points        368 yards

SENIOR RUNNING BACK CHAD KACKERT MOVES INTO 10TH PLACE ON UNH'S ALL-TIME CAREER RUSHING LISTING:  Senior running back Chad Kackert is finally playing healthy after suffering a hamstring injury in the preseason and he is quickly moving up UNH's all-time career rushing listing. He now has 1,810 rushing yards in his career and moved past Dan Curran to take over the 10th spot. He now needs 138 yards to move into ninth all time at UNH and pass Curt Collins (1980-82).

Here's a look at the UNH career rushing list:
1.    Jerry Azumah (1995-98)          6,193
2.    Bill Burnham (1974-77)           3,773
3.    Stephan Lewis (1999-02)        3,679
4.    Norm Ford (1986-89)             3,538
5.    Barry Bourassa (1989-92)      3,015
6.    Andre Garron (1982-85)         2,901
7.    Avrom Smith (1991-94)         2,237
8.    Jim Quinn (1979-82)             1,947
9.    Curt Collins (1980-82)          1,927
10.    Chad Kackert                      1,810

LB TERRENCE KLEIN NAMED CAA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK AND THE ECAC CO-DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK AFTER KEY INTERCEPTION IN UPSET OF VILLANOVA: DURHAM, N.H.—Senior linebacker Terrence Klein (Westwood, N.J.) of the University of New Hampshire football team was named the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Defensive Player of the Week and the ECAC Co-Defensive Player of the Week for his outstanding efforts in the ‘Cats upset victory over No. 2 Villanova at Cowell Stadium on Oct. 10, 28-24.  Klein made five total tackles, including 1.5 for a loss of 12 yards.  The senior also posted a sack for 11 yards and came up with a key interception in the fourth quarter halting a Villanova drive and allowing No. 5 New Hampshire to kick a field goal for the eventual four-point win. In addition, Klein knocked the ball away during Villanova’s final drive on fourth down to give UNH the football allowing the home team to run down the clock for the victory.

UNH KICKER TOM MANNING NAMED CAA SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK AFTER MAKING TWO LATE FIELD GOALS IN UPSET OF VILLANOVA: DURHAM, N.H.—Senior kicker Tom Manning (Rome, N.Y.) was named the Colonial Athletic Association’s Special Teams Player of the Week after kicking two late field goals to clinch the 28-24 upset victory over No. 2 Villanova on Oct. 10.  Manning was true on a 27-yarder in the first quarter then connected on a 35-yarder which proved to be the game-winner in the fourth.  Following a Villanova turnover with just over five minutes left to play, Manning put New Hampshire in front by four with a 22-yard field goal.
   
SEAN JELLISON NAMED CAA SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK FOLLOWING THE 57-7 VICTORY OVER TOWSON: Junior running back Sean Jellison (Amherst, N.H.) returned his first kick for a touchdown in his UNH career during the victory over Towson this past Saturday, 57-7. With 7:28 remaining in the first quarter, Jellison gave The Wildcats a 23-0 lead after taking a free kick following a UNH safety and he returned it 81 yards along the left sideline for paydirt. Jellison also carried the football nine times for 46 yards in the contest and leads the team with three rushing touchdowns, one receiving touchdown and one return for a touchdown giving him a total of five this season.

WILDCATS ONCE AGAIN OFF TO FANTASTIC START: UNH has opened the 2009 season with a 5-0 mark after defeating St. Francis, Ball State, Dartmouth, Towson and most recently Villanova.  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.

UNH RANKED FOURTH IN THE NATION IN KICKOFF RETURNS:  The UNH football team is presently ranked fourth in the nation in kickoff returns this season with an average of 26.43 yards per return. Leading the team is junior Dino Vasso with an average of 23.5 yards per return and Chad Kackert at 31.0 per  return in two games.

NH FOOTBALL MOVES UP TO NO. 4 IN SPORTS NETWORK FCS TOP 25:  The UNH football team moved  up from No. 5 to No. 4 in the most recentl Sports Network FCS Top 25 National Poll. Here's a look at the poll:

1. Richmond Spiders (119)              5-0     3,253     1
2. Northern Iowa Panthers (11)        5-1    3,050    3
3. Montana Grizzlies                        5-0    2,936    4
4. New Hampshire Wildcats (1)        5-0    2,923    5
5. Southern Illinois Salukis              4-1    2,646    6
6. Villanova Wildcats                       5-1    2,557    2
7. William & Mary Tribe                   5-1    2,403    8
8. Elon Phoenix                              5-1    2,292    10
9. Appalachian State Mountaineers  3-2    2,219    9
10. Central Arkansas Bears             4-1    2,129    11
11. South Carolina State Bulldogs   4-1    1,626    17
12. Jacksonville State Gamecocks   4-2    1,554    18
13. McNeese State Cowboys           3-2    1,455    7
14. South Dakota State Jackrabbits 4-1    1,345    20
15. Weber State Wildcats               3-3    1,240    21
16. James Madison Dukes              2-3    1,134    13
17. Colgate Raiders                       6-0    1,007    23
18. Massachusetts Minutemen        3-2    950    12
19. Cal Poly Mustangs                    2-3    785    15
20. Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks  4-1    733    NR
21. Eastern Washington Eagles        4-2    718    17
22. Florida A&M Rattlers                 4-1    547    22
23. Delaware Blue Hens                 4-2    530    NR
24. Eastern Kentucky Colonels        3-2    476    16
25. Holy Cross Crusaders                4-1    342    19

Others receiving votes: Liberty 255, Eastern Illinois 227, Harvard 213, Northern Arizona 182, Prairie View A&M 161, Chattanooga 84, Lafayette 65, Furman 57, Tennessee State 53, Montana State 50, Brown 49, Youngstown State 48, UC Davis 36, Morgan State 35, Albany 31, Maine 31, Gardner-Webb 21, Tennessee Tech 20, Butler 19, Central Connecticut State 13, Grambling State 11, Southeastern Louisiana 8, Southern 7, North Dakota 7, Hampton 6, Hofstra 6, Alabama A&M 5, Charleston Southern 5, Southern Utah 4, Georgia Southern 3, Old Dominion 3, Sam Houston State 3, Missouri State 2, Samford 2, Texas State 2, Drake 1.

 

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