FOOTBALL GAME DAY (NO. 8 UNH AT NO. 5 WILLIAM & MARY, NOV. 14, 2009)
THE CAA TITLE AND PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS, ALL AT STAKE IN BATTLE BETWEEN 8-1 WILLIAM & MARY AND UNH: Championship month (November) continues for the No. 8Wildcats who will travel for perhaps their toughest game of the season, a Nov. 14 matchup at No. 5 William & Mary in what could be a battle for the CAA title and a game with major NCAA FCS Playoff implications as well. UNH, is coming off a high-scoring 55-42 win over Rhode Island and The Tribe easily defeated Towson, 31-0, in a shutout effort. UNH head coach Sean McDonnell has never beaten William & Mary during his stint as the head man at UNH and the Wildcats have not beaten The Tribe since a 31-19 win in Williamsburg in 1998. Last week everyone was talking about the Richmond/Villanova game. This week all eyes are upon the Wildcats and The Tribe. UNH's offense seems to be clicking on all cylinders, especially junior running back Chad Kackert, who has compiled four rushing touchdowns and 342 rushing yards in his last two games. He had a career-best 176 rushing yards vs. Northeastern. William & Mary's defense is even more stingy than UNH's allowing just 13.6 ppg. and only 237.4 yards per game to opponents. Tribe running back Jonthan Grimes has run for six touchdowns in 2009 and has 786 yards this season on the ground. Both teams are likely headed for the playoffs, especially this week's winner.
SCOUTING WILLIAM & MARY: The Tribe has arguably the best FBS win of the season when they traveled to play Virgina on Sept. 5 and came away with a 26 -14 victory in front of 54,587 fans. Since that time, William & Mary has won ever game except for a 28-17 loss at Villanova on Oct. 3. The squad is riding an impressive four-game winning streak right now after posting victories over the likes of Northeastern, James Madison, Rhode Island and Towson. The Tribe offense is loaded with talented football players and it starts with running back Jonathan Grimes and his six rushing TDs and 786 rushing yards. At quarterback, the team is confident behind the leadership of T.J. Archer who has lit opponents up for 13 passing touchdowns and he has completed 174 of 274 pass attempts for 1,829 passing yards and an average of 203.2 passing yards per contest. At receiver, Archer's favorite target in 2009 has been D.J. McAulay, who has made 34 catches for 423 yards and three touchdowns and also Rob Varno and his 33 catches for 323 yards and three touchdowns. Chase Hill also checks in with three touchdown catches for the Tribe making their offense very spread out and versatile. On the defensive side of the football, William & Mary is one of the best in the CAA allowing only 13.6 ppg., while the offense is averaging 29.0 ppg. UNH is averaging 34.9 ppg. and giving up 19.0 ppg. Leading the team in tackles this season has been Evan Francis with his 61 total tackles (37-24-61) and Jake Trantin with 61 tackles in 2009 (30-30-60). William & Mary is led by 29th year head coach Jimmye Laycock and he checks in with an impressive record at W&M of 189-138-2.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES VS. WILLIAM & MARY: The all-time series between UNH and William & Mary stands at 10-2-0 in favor of The Tribe and the William & Mary has won the last six meetings between the two schools. The last time UNH defeated The Tribe was during UNH legendary running back Jerry Azumah's senior season when he led the Wildcats to a 31-19 victory in Williamsburg, Va. Last year, William & Mary won in Durham by a 38-34 margin.
SENIOR RUNNING BACK CHAD KACKERT
MOVES UP TO NO. 7 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 2,263
rushing yards in his career and moved past Avrom Smith (1991-1994)
and his 2,237 career rushing yards. Kackert now needs 664 rushing
yards to catch Andre Garron, who is No. 6 on the all-time rushing
list with 2,901 yards from 1982-1985.
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. Chad Kackert 2,237
SENIOR ALL-AMERICAN TIGHT END SCOTT SICKO MOVES INTO THE UNH TOP 10 IN CAREER CATCHES MADE: Senior All-American tight end Scott Sicko (Stillwater, N.Y.) has moved into the UNH top 10 when it comes to career catches made with 142 in his career. He moved past former TE Jon Williams who was in 10th place with 140 catches in his career. He now needs nine more catches to move past Mike Gallagher for ninth place and he needs 16 more catches to climb to eight and top Chris Braune and his 155 receptions.
Here's a look at the UNH career receptions listing:
1. David Ball (2003-06) 304
2. Keith LeVan (2004-2007) 201
3. Curtis Olds (1985-88) 193
4. John Perry (1989-92) 191
5. David Gamble (1990-93) 182
6. Stephan Lewis (1999-2002) 164
7. Calvin Jones (1993-96) 158
8. Chris Braune (1986-89) 155
9. Mike Gallagher (1989-92) 150
10. Scott Sicko 142
WILDCATS RIDING AN EIGHT-GAME HOME WINNING STREAK DATING BACK TO LAST YEAR'S LOSS TO WILLIAM & MARY IN DURHAM; The Wildcats have won eight consecutive home games played at Cowell Stadium dating back to Oct. 11, 2008 when William & Mary defeated UNH, 38-34. In this order, UNH has defeated Towson, Hofstra, Massachusetts, St. Francis, Dartmouth, Villanova, Northeastern and Rhode Island, all in Durham. UNH is, of course undefeated at home this season with an impressive 5-0 mark.
SENIOR KICKER TOM MANNING NAMED CAA SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK FOR THIRD TIME THIS SEASON AFTER KICKING TWO LATE FIELD GOALS FOR THE THIRD TIME IN 2009 IN WIN OVER RHODE ISLAND: Senior kicker Tom Manning (Rome, N.Y.) is making quite a name for himself this season. For the third time in 2009, Manning kicked two key late game field goals to lead UNH to a victory and for the tird time this season he was the recipient of the CAA Special Teams Player of the Week Award. Manning accounted for 13 points in the win over Rhode Island including kicking two late field goals of 42 and 47 yards and going 6x6 with his PATs. After a slow start, Manning has been more than steady for the team, nailing 14 of his last 15 field goals dating back to Sept. 26.
SENIOR KICKER TOM MANNING NAMED A CoSIDA ESPN THE MAGAZINE ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT SELECTION: DURHAM, N.H.—It was announced today that senior kicker Tom Manning (Rome, N.Y.) of the University of New Hampshire football team was named to the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Team for his efforts in the classroom and on the playing field. Manning, a Business Administration/Marketing major at UNH, posted a grade point average of 3.45 through the spring semester. He has connected on 15 of 19 field goals this season with a long field goal of 54 yards at Hofstra, which broke the UNH record for longest field goal in a game. The previous best was 53 yards made in 1977. It was also a Shuart Stadium record kick. Manning was a key factor in three wins this season, as he kicked two late field goals in UNH’s victory over then-No. 2 ranked Villanova, did it again with two late three-pointers in the Wildcat win at Hofstra and then again with two late three-pointers in the win over Rhode Island. As a result of his heroics, he received CAA Special Teams Player of the Week honors following all three conference victories. Manning leads the Wildcats in scoring this season with 78 points. He has made 14 of his last 15 field goals dating back to Sept. 26 and he has put 33 of 36 PAT kicks through the uprights in 2009. His ability to score points as a kicker has helped keep UNH in the top 10 of the national polls all season long and the Wildcats are presently ranked No. 8 in The Sports Network FCS Top 25 national poll. Manning will now be included on the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America national ballot, and the team will be released on Nov. 24, 2009.
WILDCATS ONCE AGAIN OFF TO AN IMPRESSIVE START: UNH has opened the 2009 season with a 8-1 mark after defeating St. Francis, Ball State, Dartmouth, Towson, Villanova, Hofstra and Northeastern and Rhode Island. The 8-1 mark is the best start since UNH was 11-1 in 2005. Getting off to a quick start has been a Coach McDonnell trademark in recent seasons. The Wildcats got out of the gates 6-1 in 2008, 5-0 in 2006, 11-1 in 2005 and 4-1 in 2004.
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 eight games played UNH has been explosive in the first quarter with 118 of its 314 total points scored in the opening stanza. Comparing first half to second half point totals, the 'Cats have scored 188 points in the first half and 126 points in the second half. In comparison to opponents, UNH has scored 118 points vs.opponents as compared to just 4 points by the opponents in the first quarter and outscored opponents by a 188 to 91 margin in the first half.
GIANT SLAYER UNH HAS WON FIVE GAMES IN A ROW OVER FBS FOOTBALL TEAMS FOLLOWING THIS YEAR'S VICTORY AT BALL STATE: The UNH football team continued its success vs. FBS teams this season with its fifth straight victory over an upper level school, as UNH defeated Ball State on Sept. 12, 23-16. In 2008, UNH upset FBS opponent Army at West Point, 28-10. In 2007, UNH posted a 48-35 victory over Marshall. UNH also recorded two other impressive FBS victories with a 34-17 win over Big Ten Northwestern in 2006 and a win over Big East Rutgers in 2004 (35-24). Upcoming games vs. FBS schools could include contests vs. Pittsburgh and Boston College.
CAA TEAMS SUCCESSFUL VS. FBS THIS SEASON: How tough is the CAA going to be this season? Take a look at what CAA teams did so far against FBS opponents, many stepping up and defeating the big boys. William & Mary topped Virginia (26-14), Richmond defeated Duke (24-16), Villanova topped Temple (27-24), and Massachusetts narrowly missed defeating Kansas State, losing by just a 21-17 margin. UNH defeated Ball State 23-16 and James Madison lost in overtime to a very strong Maryland squad.
WILDCAT RUNNING BACKS MAKE UP TWO OF THE TOP THREE SCORERS (TDS) IN THE CAA: UNH's running back tandem of junior Sean Jellison and senior Chad Kackert make up two of the top three scorers in the CAA in terms of touchdowns. Jellison leads the CAA in first place with nine touchdowns scored for an average of 6.2 ppg. and Kackert is tied for the second-best mark in the conference with 6.0 ppg., (8 touchdowns scored).
SPREADING THE OFFENSE AROUND: In nine games played, UNH has had 12 different players run with the football and no less than 14 different players have caught the football for the Wildcats.
UNH RANKED FIRST AMONG CAA TEAMS IN SCORING: The Wildcat offense is very capable of scoring points in a hurry. UNH is now ranked first in the CAA in scoring offense with an average of 34.9 ppg. The next nearest team in the conference is Richmond at 31.1 ppg.
UNH RANKED FOURTH IN THE CAA IN SCORING DEFENSE: UNH is ranked fourth in the conference in scoring defense, allowing just 19 ppg. The leader, however, is this weeks opponent William & Mary (13.6 ppg.).
UNH SECOND IN THE CAA IN INTERCEPTIONS MADE AND FIRST IN RETURNED INTERCEPTIONS FOR TOUCHDOWNS: The Wildcat defense has now come up with 17 interceptions this season, good for second best in the conference and the D leads the CAA in interceptions returned for touchdowns with three, two by junior corner Dino Vasso (Crum Lynne, Pa. ).
UNH RANKED NO. 1 IN THE CAA IN TURNOVER MARGIN: The University of New Hampshire football team is presently ranked No. 1 in the Colonia Athletic Association in turnover margin with a mark of 1.44. Looking at what the defense has done this season, it has come up with 10 fumble recoveries and 17 interceptions for a total of 27 turnovers gained, while UNH has lost just five fumbles this season and has had nine intercepted passes for a mark of just 14 turnovers lost. That puts the Wildcats at +13 in the turnover margin department.
UNH LINEBACKERS DEVON JACKSON AND SEAN WARE MOVING UP AMONG CAA TACKLE LEADERS: UNH starting linebacker Devon Jackson (Wiliamstown, N.J.) and Sean Ware (Bristol, Conn.) continue to rack up tackles and lead the Wildcats as Jackson checks in with 29-44-73 and Ware has 33-36-69. That places Jackson in seventh place in the CAA with an average of 9.1 tackles per game and Sean Ware in a tie for 12th among CAA leaders.