DURHAM, N.H. – The UNH football team held its annual banquet on Saturday at the Memorial Union Building, honoring its senior class and bestowing individual and team awards. The event marks the end of a season that saw the Wildcats post an 8-5 record, advancing to the NCAA D-I Football Championship for a nation-leading seventh consecutive season.
Cornerback Dino Vasso (Crum Lynne, Pa.) was named the winner of the Bill Bowes Coaches Award. A four-year starter, Vasso amassed a team-leading six interceptions in 2010 and ended his Wildcat career with 18 career picks, two shy of the University's all-time record. The defensive co-captain tied for the team lead in pass break-ups (eight) while compiling 59 tackles, 42 solo. He ranks 10th in school history with 289 tackles and started 50 of the 51 games he appeared in. Vasso's postseason accolades included a spot on the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) FCS Coaches' All-America Team, Associated Press All-America Second Team, The Sports Network/Fathead.com All-America Second Team, ECAC All-Star, FCS All-New England Team and All-CAA First Team.
Quarterback R.J. Toman (Mission Viejo, Calif.) was tabbed the Wildcats' Offensive Most Valuable Player. The senior signal caller completed 228 of 368 passes for 2,414 yards and 15 touchdowns, averaging 201.2 yards per game. The offensive co-captain leaves Durham as one of the greatest QBs in school history, ranking second all-time in passing yards (8,015) and completions (658) and fourth in attempts (1,077). A member of the All-CAA Third Team, Toman finished a mere 83 yards away from ranking in the league's top 10 in career all-purpose yards.
The Defensive Most Valuable Player was Hugo Souza (Marshfield, Mass.), who set a school record by starting in all 51 games of his illustrious career. The free safety finished fifth in UNH history with 331 tackles, collecting 95 tackles as a senior, including 55 unassisted stops, to rank second on the team and earn All-CAA First Team and FCS All-New England Team honors. Souza added one interception, one forced fumble and five pass break-ups to help anchor the secondary.
Running back Sean Jellison (Amherst, N.H.) and wide receiver/kick returner Terrance Fox (Piscataway, N.J.) shared the team's Bob Demers 12th Player Award. Jellison, an offensive co-captain, rushed for 375 yards on 110 carries, averaging 3.4 yards per rush with two touchdowns. In addition to being the team's second-leading rusher, he was also its fourth-leading receiver with 26 catches for 161 yards, averaging 6.2 yards per reception. Fox, who returned the opening kickoff the season 91 yards for a touchdown against Central Connecticut State University, was named to both the All-CAA First Team and the FCS All-New England Team after pacing the 'Cats with 1,312 all-purpose yards. He tallied 80 receptions for 821 yards and seven touchdowns, all team highs.
Steve Young (Rochester, N.H.) was presented with the Jack French Unsung Hero Award. The defensive tackle started all 13 games, leading Wildcat linemen with 46 tackles, including 28 solo stops, to be feted as an All-CAA Third Team member. The Granite Stater closed out his career with a career-high nine tackles in the NCAA D-I quarterfinal contest at Delaware on Dec. 10.
The recipient of the Buck Buchanan Distinguished Service Award was linebacker Devon Jackson (Williamstown, N.J.). Following a 2009 season that saw him rack up a team-best 98 tackles, the defensive co-captain suffered a season-ending injury in the second game after posting 15 tackles, including nine unassisted.
The Bo Dickson Spirit Award was bestowed upon administrative assistant Nancy Brown, who is retiring this summer after nearly a quarter-century of dedication to the UNH football program. In addition to her importance to the football team, Brown has also proven to be instrumental to the gymnastics, cross country, track & field, skiing and field hockey programs.
Tight end/punter Kyle Auffray (Cornwall, N.Y.) earned the team's Eugene K. Auerbach Student-Athlete Award. Auffray compiled a cumulative GPA of 3.39 as a kinesiology: sport studies major and was named to the CAA Academic All Conference Team while also capturing the 2010-11 CAA Commissioner's Academic Award. On the field, he made four receptions, including a touchdown, for 34 yards and punted 71 times for 2,679 yards, an average of 37.7 yards per punt.
The team also awarded its official game balls for each victory of the 2010 season:
*Central Connecticut State, Sept. 4: Safety Ryan McGuinness (Howell, N.J.), who recorded seven tackles and made a fumble recovery in a 33-3 triumph.
*Lehigh, Sept. 25: Left tackle Seth Price (Grove City, Ohio), the lone senior on the offensive line, helped the Wildcats compile a season-high 519 yards of total offense in a 31-10 victory.
*Richmond, Oct. 9: Safety John Greer (Buffalo, N.Y.) grabbed two of UNH's six interceptions, returning his first pick 40 yards for a touchdown in a 17-0 Homecoming shutout.
*James Madison, Oct. 16: Kevon Mason (Quincy, Mass.), the only UNH receiver with at least one catch in every game, snared three passes for 58 yards, including a game-high 36-yard reception in a 28-14 win.
*Massachusetts, Oct. 23: Safety Mike Perkins (Hingham, Mass.), with two tackles and a pass break-up, led a stalwart defensive effort that helped UNH build a 29-0 lead on the way to a convincing 39-13 defeat of the Minutemen at Gillette Stadium in the inaugural Colonial Clash.
*Villanova, Nov. 13: Linebacker Jamie Cosgrove (Sharon, Mass.) set a career high with six tackles to propel UNH to a 31-24 win on the Main Line.
*Towson, Nov. 20: Wide receiver Mike Greene (Stonington, Conn.) made his first career touchdown catch, hauling in a 28-yard pass in the 38-19 Senior Day victory.
*Bethune-Cookman, Dec. 4: Defensive tackle Lance Mailloux (Bedford, N.H.) recorded one of the Wildcats' six sacks in a 45-20 NCAA D-I Championship second-round win.
For more information on the UNH football team, visit www.unhwildcats.com.