WILDCATS CELEBRATE SENIOR DAY WITH A TRADITIONAL MUSKET MATCHUP VS. MAINE: This Saturday's contest vs. Maine is big for a number of reasons. It's a battle for the CAA North Divsion title. The annual Brice-Cowell Musket is awarded to the winner of this traditional New England rivalry game. And, the Wildcats would like to get another win under their belts as the field of 16 teams who will play in the NCAA FCS Championship Playoffs will be announced on Sunday at 3 p.m. and The Wildcats would be assured a one of the 16 spots if they can post a 9-2 record. It's also senior day in Durham. UNH suffered its second loss of the season last week at then No. 5-ranked Willliam & Mary and Maine crushed Rhode Island last week en route to an impressive 41-17 victory against the Rams, a team UNH defeated in a closer battle (55-42) two weeks ago. The Wildcats were tied with The Tribe late in the game until Brian Pate booted the game winning field goal with just over 2 minutes left in the contest to earn the victory for W&M. Maine featuerd an outstanding record-breaking effort by quarterback Chris Treister, who passed for 465 yards and five touchdowns while he ran for another in the win over URI. Wide receiver Landis Williams was unstoppable for the Black Bears with 17 catches for 220 yards and three TDS on the day to help lead Maine to their fifth victory of the season.
SCOUTING MAINE: The Black Bears have proven to be a very tough opponent in every game they have played this season and have posted victories over the likes of St. Cloud State (34-27 OT), Northeastern (17-7), Hofstra (16-14), Massachsetts (19-9) and most recently Rhode Island (41-17). The quarterback spot has been handled by committee this season with senior Mike Brusklo seeing a bulk of the action in 10 games and Warren Smith passed for 1,695 yards in eight games played, and completed 12 passes for TDs, and Chris Triester passed for 465 yards and five TDs in the most recent win over the Rams. The top rusher on the team has been Derek Session with 119 carries for 479 yards and three rushing touchdowns. Leading the receiving corps in 2009 for the Black Bears has been Landis Williams with his 64 catches for 723 yards and 12 touchdown receptions. Another weapon for Maine has been Tyrell Jones with 42 catches for 470 yards and six touchdowns. On the defensive side of the football, Maine is a very physical squad and has been led in tackles by linebacker Donte Dennis and his 99 total tackles (43-56-99) and by Brandon McLaughlin with his 60 total tackles (10-24-36). Leading the team in sacks this season has been defensive end Jordan Stevens with a total of 10 sacks in 2009 for a loss of 45 yards and the team has been very good at cause turnovers with 18 interceptions this season and the squad is led in that statistical category by strong safety Jerron McMillian and his five on the season so far.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES VS. MAINE AND
THE HISTORY BEHIND THE BRICE-COWELL MUSKET: The series between
longtime New England rivals now stands at 47-43-8 in favor of the Wildcats, who have won the last six meetings between these two CAA schools. Last year, UNH won by a28-24 in the snow. In 2008 it was a 39-14 margin. Three seasons ago, UNH won in OT to propel the Wildcats into the NCAA playoffs with a 19-13 win in Orono. Maine has not won in Durham since the 2001 campaign when the Black Bears posted an impressive 57-24 victory. The all-time series began back in 1903 and Maine won that initial meeting in New Hampshire, 10-0, and went on to win eight straight for the longest winning streak of the series. The Brice-Cowell Musket is a special award that is given to the winning team in this New England rivalry game each season. The award is named after two former coaches, Fred Brice of Maine and William Cowell of UNH. The tradition began in the late 1940s. The musket is a flintlock rifle made by Ebenezer Nutting of Falmouth, Maine sometime between 1722 and 1745. The George I period flintlock has a 43 inch barrel and is rifled to a .65 caliber.
A LOOK AT THE CAA STANDINGS: UNH is now alone in first place in the CAA North Division with a 5-2 conference record and 8-2 mark overall. Three teams are not ahead of UNH with marks of 9-1 overall and 6-1 in the CAA, Richmond, Villanova and William and Mary.
New Hampshire 5-2 8-2
Maine 4-3 5-5
Massachusetts 3-4 5-5
Hofstra 2-5 4-6
Northeastern 2-5 2-8
Rhode Island 0-7 1-9
Richmond 6-1 9-1
Villanova 6-1 9-1
William & Mary 6-1 9-1
Delaware 4-3 6-4
James Madison 3-4 5-5
Towson 1-6 2-8
A LOOK BACK AT LAST YEAR'S VICTORY AT MAINE: ORONO, Maine -- Trailing 24-21 with under four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the No. 11 University of New Hampshire football team scored with 3:27 remaining and held on to capture a 28-24 win over the University of Maine on Saturday afternoon at a cold, snow-covered Alfond Stadium. The Wildcats captured the Colonial Athletic Association’s (CAA) North Division Regular Season title, the Brice-Cowell Musket and have solidified their chances for a fifth-straight trip to the NCAA FCS Tournament. UNH will await its placement in the NCAA field, which will be announced during the selection show on Sunday night (7 p.m.) live on ESPNU. The game-winning touchdown came on a 22-yard strike from R.J. Toman (Mission Viejo, Calif.) to Mike Boyle (Plymouth, N.H.) at 3:27 in the fourth quarter, which gave the Wildcats a 28-24 lead that they never relinquished. The score proved to be the only tally of the quarter as the Black Bears had a pair of chances with the football in the final three minutes, but both drives were foiled by interceptions by Terrence Klein (Westwood, N.J.). UNH improves to 9-2, its best regular-season finish since 2005 (11-2), and captures the CAA North title with a 6-2 mark. The Wildcats retain possession of the coveted Brice-Cowell Musket, awarded to the winner of the UNH-Maine game, for the six-straight year. All-and-all, New Hampshire holds the Granite Bowl (via a win over Dartmouth), the Bill Knight Award (via a win over Massachusetts) and the Brice-Cowell Musket. Chad Kackert (Simi Valley, Calif.) had 12 carries for 89 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Boyle and Toman connected twice for the other two UNH scored. Towan finished 6-of-12 for 127 yards and two TD passes despite the cold and snowy conditions, while Boyle was the team’s leading receiver with three catches for 55 yards. Maine’s Michael Brusko was 6-of-15 for 98 yards and a pair of late interceptions, but was the team’s leading rusher with 18 carries for 65 yards and a touchdown. Jhamal Fluellen had 14 rushes for 33 yards and a score, while Pushaun Brown had 16 yards and a score.
SENIOR KICKER TOM MANNING NOW RANKS EIGHTH ON THE CAA ALL-TIME EXTRA POINT LISTING WITH 140 IN HIS CAREER: Senior kicker Tom Manning (Rome, N.Y.) presently ranks eight on the CAA all-time career extra points list. He heads into the game vs. Maine with 140 kicked PATs for the Wildcats.
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 2,283 rushing yards in his career and moved past Avrom Smith (1991-1994) and his 2,237 career rushing yards. Kackert now needs 644 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 2,283
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 147 in his career. He moved past former TE Jon Williams who was in 10th place with 140 catches in his career. He now needs just four 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 147
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.
UNH IS 8-0 WHEN SCORING 18 POINTS OR MORE AND 0-2 WHEN SCORING 17 POINTS: The UNH football team is 8-0 when scoring 18 points or more in a game. However, the squad is 0-2 in games where it has scored 17 points. The Wildcats lost to UMass 23-17 and lost to William & Mary by a 20-17 margin.
WILDCATS LEAD THE CAA IN SCORING: The UNH football team leads the CAA in points per game this season with an average of 33.1 points per game. Second in the CAA is Richmond (32.9 ppg.) followed by Villanova (32.0 ppg.), William & Mary (28.1 ppg.) and Delaware (27.0 ppg.) to round out the top five in the conference.
A LOOK BACK AT THIS TIME LAST SEASON: The UNH football team was also 8-2 overall last season heading into the contest at Maine on Nov. 22. UNH won that contest in the snow by a 28-24 margin and improved to 9-2 earning a first-round game at Southern Illinois which the tesm won by a 29-20 margin. UNH lost at Northern Iowa in the FCS Quarterfinals, 36-34.
UNH FOOTBALL RANKED NO. 1 IN CAA IN KICK RETURN AVERAGE AT 25.1 YARDS PER RETURN: The Wildcats have proven to be an outstanding kick return team this season and presently lead the CAA in kick return yardage with an average of 25.1 yards per return. UNH is ahead of second-place James Madison (24.5 ypr.), Villanova (24.2 ypr.), Hofstra (23.2) and Delaware (21.6) to round out the top five in the conference.
NCAA FCS FOOTBALL PLAYOFF SELECTION SHOW ON ESPNEWS: The NCAA will announce the NCAA Division I Football Championship field on Sunday, Nov. 22 starting at 3 p.m. and the show will be aired live on ESPNEWS. The show will be hosted by Linda Cohn. At 8-2, the UNH football team will have all eyes glued to the television, regardless of the outcome of this Saturday's game vs. Maine. A win over the Black Bears would just about guarantee that the Wildcats are in the playoffs. A loss to the Black Bears would leave some doubt, making the game vs. Maine an important one for the 'Cats.