November 29, 2011

11th-ranked football battles No. 7 Montana State in NCAA second-round playoff tilt on ESPN3

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No. 11/12 New Hampshire (8-3, 6-2 CAA) at No. 7/7 Montana State (9-2, 7-1 Big Sky)

NCAA Division I FCS Championship Second-Round Game   
Dec. 3, 2011 • 3:00 p.m. (EST) • Bobcat Stadium • Bozeman, Mont.
TV:
ESPN3
  Trey Bender (play-by-play) • Jay Taylor (analyst)
Radio: Wildcat Sports Radio Network
Jim Jeannotte (play-by-play) •  Bob Lipman (analyst)

Quick Hitters
•UNH has qualified for the NCAA postseason for the eighth straight year, the longest current streak in the nation. The Wildcats have posted a mark of 6-1 in their opening playoff games during this span, including five wins in six road games. The 'Cats have defeated teams from the MEAC (Hampton '06, Bethune-Cookman '10), Patriot League (Colgate '05),  Missouri Valley Conference (Southern Illinois '08), Southern Conference (Georgia Southern '04) and Southland Conference (McNeese State '09). New Hampshire's only matchup vs. a Big Sky Conference opponent during this run was a 47-17 loss at Montana in the 2004 national quarterfinals.  

•The Wildcats return to Bozeman for the first time since suffering a heartbreaking 17-16 setback at the hands of the Bobcats in the NCAA D-II quarterfinals Nov. 27, 1976. Head coach Sean McDonnell was a safety on that UNH team, and he totaled six tackles while returning four punts for 12 yards. The voice of the Wildcats, Jim Jeannotte, worked the broadcast in '76 as well.

•Senior QB and co-captain Kevin Decker was named the CAA Offensive Player of the Year on Nov. 21. Decker leads the CAA in total offense/game (317.2), passing yards/game (279.3), pass efficiency (154.3), points responsible for/game (17.1) and TD passes (20).  Decker joins former Wildcat RBs Barry Bourassa (1991) and Jerry Azumah (1996, '98) along with QB Ricky Santos (2005-07) in garnering that honor.

*Decker, a finalist for the Walter Payton Award, was joined on the All-CAA First Team by fellow co-captain DE Brian McNally and MLB Matt Evans, a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award. WR R.J. Harris, a finalist for the Jerry Rice Award, headlines UNH's All-CAA Second Team representatives, which include OL Ricky Archer and PK Mike MacArthur. WR Joey Orlando and OL Seamus O'Neill were tabbed to the All-CAA Third Team.

•UNH captured its first December win in school history with a 45-20 second-round defeat of Bethune-Cookman in the 2010 FCS playoffs Dec. 4, 2010. The 'Cats were previously 0-7 in December games all-time.

•A victory would mean a school-record sixth over a ranked opponent.

111 WEEKS AND COUNTING: UNH is ranked in the Top 25 for a CAA-best 111th straight week, the nation's second-longest streak that dates back to Sept. 13, 2004.  Delaware, at a distant 28 weeks, has the second-longest ranked tenure in the league.  Montana's staggering run of 191 consecutive weeks leads the country. The next poll will be released following the FCS Championship Game in January.

LAST MEETING, NOV. 27, 1976: MONTANA STATE-17, UNH-16
BOZEMAN, Mont. - "Bill Bowes and the UNH football team will look back on the contest and, for a long time, will ask themselves, 'what would have happened if...? - if Sam Checovich's extra point attempt with seven miutes remaining and UNH down 17-16, had been just six inches to the right -if the temperature had been warmer than the 10 degrees reported- if Jeff Allen's 60 yards-in-the-air pass attempt to Lee Pope at the end of the game had been just six inches shorter... So many variables, so many things that could have happened to turn the game around. The facts are that UNH fought back on three separate occasions before finally succumbing to Montana State University by a single point, 17-16, in the Division II playoff quarterfinal game." -Steve Malley, Foster's Daily Democrat

• UNH head coach Sean McDonnell made six tackles and returned four punts for 12 yards in the game.

• Future NFL linebacker Bruce Huther made a team high 24 tackles, 16 unassisted, with two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Huther played for the Dallas Cowboys (1977-80, 83), Cleveland Browns (1981) and Chicago Bears (1982).

• NHL Hall of Famer Rod Langway made seven tackles, six unassisted.

UNH-MONTANA STATE ALL-TIME SERIES (BOBCATS LEAD 1-0): This is the first head-to-head battle between the Wildcats and the Bobcats since they squared off on the frozen field in Bozeman for the 1976 Division II quarterfinals, a 17-16 Montana State triumph. The Bobcats went on to beat North Dakota State, 10-3, in the national semifinals before capturing the D-II championship by virtue of a 24-13 victory against Akron in Wichita Falls, Texas.  It was Montana State's second of three natoinal titles. The Bobcats won the then-Division I-AA crown in 1984 by downing Louisiana Tech, 19-6, in Charleston, S.C.    
 
                 
TALE OF THE TAPE:
Totals (NCAA Rank)    UNH            MONTANA ST.
Total Offense              444.1 (8)     440.4 (10)    
Rush Offense             162.6 (51)    222.7 (13)
Pass Offense           281.5 (T-15)    217.6 (51)    
Scoring Offense            33.5 (20)     34.2 (16)      
Total Defense           430.1 (106)    322.0 (25)    
Rush Defense             176.2 (89)    132.5 (31)
Pass Defense            253.9 (110)    189.6 (29)
Scoring Defense           32.1 (97)    22.2 (T-32)    
Possession Avg.        26:50 (109)    32:11 (15)
Sacks Allowed        27/173 (T-77)    14/94.0 (T-24)
Sacks Made/Yards   23/142 (T-54)    38/246 (7)
Penalties Against     63/557 (T-41)    75/698 (T-72)    
Punts/Net Avg.          35/35.3 (44)    40/33.7 (64)    
Turnover Differential       -5 (T-83)    +1 (T-50)
3rd Down Conversion%    48.9 (4)     45.4 (11)
4th Down Conversion% 44.4 (T-67)    70.0 (T-7)    
Red Zone Offense%       85.0 (28)     88.0 (12)    

SCOUTING THE BOBCATS: Montana State shared the Big Sky Conference regular-season championship with rival Montana,  but a 36-10 home loss to the Grizzlies on Nov. 19 prevented the Bobcats from claiming the automatic bid for a second straight year and knocked them from the No. 1 ranking in the nation after only one week atop the poll. It was the Bobcats' first No. 1 ranking since winning the 1984 National Championship. Still, Montana State earned its fifth conference championship of this young century, and coach Rob Ash's squad features the nation's 10th-ranked offense, No. 13 rushing offense and 16th-ranked scoring offense.
 
PLAYERS TO WATCH:  All-Big Sky First Team RB Cody Kirk averages 112.1 yards rushing/game. He's amassed 1,233 yards and 14 TDs, averaging 5.8 yards/carry. Fellow First-Team WR Elvis Akpla paces the receiving game with 49 catches for 940 yards and 11 TDs. Two offensive lineman, OT Conrad Burbank and OG Alex Terrien, were tabbed to the All-Sky First Team.  Defensively, the Bobcats are led by All-Big Sky First-Team OLB Jody Owens, who has collected a team-leading 87 tackles, 47 solo, with five sacks and an interception.  Unanimous First-Team DT Zach Minter has racked up a league-leading seven sacks, 9.5 tackles for loss, seven QB hurries, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, while Second-Team DE Brad Daly has amassed a team-best 10 sacks for 95 yards and six QB hurries.
        
STREAKING:
•QB Kevin Decker has either passed or rushed for a TD in every start of his career, a span of 13 consecutive games.
•WR Joey Orlando has recorded receptions in all 11 games and notched multiple catches in 13 of his last 14 games, dating back to last season.
•RB Dontra Peters has secured at least one pass reception in each of the 10 games in which he's appeared.
•CB Chris Houston has registered at least one interception in each of the last three games and four picks during that span.
•The Wildcats' defense has recorded at least one INT in each of the last 10 games.

NATION-LEADING EIGHT STRAIGHT FCS POSTSEASONS: UNH has qualifed for the NCAA FCS Championship tournament for eight straight years, the longest span in the nation. When the Wildcats last met the Bobcats, during the 1976 NCAA D-II quarterfinals, it marked only the third playoff game -and fourth postseason tilt- in UNH history. The 'Cats would never play another D-II playoff game, would have to wait 15 seasons for their next postseason appearance and 28 years for their next playoff win.  All told, UNH was 1-5 during postseason play in the 47 seasons between 1947-94.  Since 2004, however, the Wildcats are 6-1 in their opening playoff games, including 5-1 on the road.  Here is a breakdown of UNH's all-time postseason record (home games in BOLD), beginning with its lone bowl appearance in 1947 at the Glass Bowl:

Year     Game                    Opponent              Result
1947    Glass Bowl             Toledo                   L, 14-20
1975    D-II Quarterfinals   Lehigh                   W, 35-21
1975    D-II Semifinals       W. Kentucky          L, 3-14
1976    D-II Quarterfinals   Montana State        L, 16-17    
1991    I-AA First Round     Samford                L, 13-29
1994    I-AA First Round     App. State             L, 10-17(OT)    
2004    I-AA First Round     Ga. Southern         W, 27-23
2004    I-AA Quarterfinals   Montana               L, 17-47
2005    I-AA First Round     Colgate                 W, 55-21
2005    I-AA Quarterfinals   Northern Iowa       L, 21-24
2006    FCS First Round      Hampton              W, 41-38
2006    FCS Quarterfinals    UMass                  L, 17-24
2007    FCS First Round      Northern Iowa       L, 35-38
2008    FCS First Round      Southern Illinois    W, 29-20
2008    FCS Quarterfinals    Northern Iowa       L, 34-36
2009    FCS First Round      McNeese State      W, 49-13
2009    FCS Quarterfinals    Villanova               L, 7-46
2010    FCS 2nd Round       Bethune-Cook.      W, 45-20
2010    FCS Quarterfinals    Delaware              L, 3-16

WILDCATS VS THE TOP 25: The Wildcats have matched a school record by defeating five ranked opponents (Lehigh, Richmond, UMass, James Madison, Maine) in a season for the second consecutive year. Montana State represents the eighth Top-25 opponent on the schedule this season, and fourth in a row, in addition to FBS bowl-bound Toledo, the co-champions of the MAC West Division. So far, the 'Cats are 5-2 vs ranked foes and 3-1 against FCS tournament teams. 

LAST TIME OUT: UNH-30, MAINE-27  NOV. 19:
 DURHAM, N.H. – Redshirt freshmen Nico Steriti  and R.J. Harris combined for 373 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns to steal the Senior Day spotlight as the 12th-ranked University of New Hampshire football team rallied past No. 11 Maine, 30-27, before a crowd of 8,536 at Cowell Stadium on Nov. 19.
    In capturing the 99th all-time meeting between the CAA rivals, the Wildcats (8-3, 6-2 CAA) reclaimed the cherished Brice-Cowell Musket for the eighth time in nine years and punched their ticket to the NCAA Division I Football Championship tournament for a nation-leading eighth consecutive season.
    Maine (8-3, 6-2) saw its opportunity to claim a share of the CAA championship go by the wayside, but the Black Bears also qualified for the NCAA postseason.
    Steriti, who made his first career start at running back in place of injured Dontra Peters, rushed for 150 yards on 21 carries, returned a kickoff 71 yards and totaled 237 all-purpose yards –all career highs. Harris tallied six catches for 106 yards, his fourth 100-yard receiving game of the season, and two touchdowns.    
    Chris Beranger (game-high 16 tackles), Alan Buzbee (13 tackles) and Matt Evans (12 tackles) paced a Wildcat defensive effort that forced four turnovers.
    New Hampshire turned a four-point deficit into a 10-point lead within 15 seconds of the fourth quarter courtesy of two forced turnovers and subsequent TDs.  Kevin Decker  found Harris from five yards out with 13:41 left to stake the 'Cats to their first lead, 23-20. The go-ahead score was set up by the second interception of the game from cornerback Chris Houston (five tackles), who picked a pass from Warren Smith and returned it 11 yards to Maine's 18. Steriti carried four straight times, gaining 13 yards to the Maine 5 before Harris was the recipient of Decker's third scoring pass of the game and league-leading 20th of the season.
    On the ensuing kickoff, Steven Thames (two tackles) knocked the ball loose from Maine return man Kendall James, and Manny Asam (five tackles) pounced on the loose ball on the Black Bears' 18. Steriti wasted no time streaking in for the 18-yard TD with 13:26 left, putting UNH in front, 30-20.
    Decker finished the game 16-for-30 for 203 yards with three TDs and three INTs.
    Smith (24-for-41, 200 yards, TD, 3 INT/eight rushes-38 yards, TD) connected with Damarr Aultman (12 catches-105 yards, TD) for a 10-yard touchdown that sliced UNH's lead to 30-27 with 9:23 remaining, but Chad Wilkes sealed the win for UNH by notching his first career interception on Smith's desperation 4th-and-16 heave at the Wildcats' 45 with 1:09 left.
    Maine capitalized on an interception to take a 7-0 lead with 10:22 left in the first quarter. Two plays after Troy Russell's pick gave the Black Bears possession at UNH's 36, Pushaun Brown (20 rushes-77 yards, TD) burst free for a 33-yard score.
    UNH squared the game at 7-7 when Decker hit Harris in stride down the left sideline for a 34-yard TD on a 4th-and-8 pass with 7:42 remaining in the first.
    The lead swung back to Maine, 14-7, with 56 seconds left in the opening stanza when Smith carried in from two yards out.
    Brian Harvey's 41-yard field goal upped Maine's advantage to 17-7 with 6:23 left in the first half.
    Mike MacArthur  drew the Wildcats within 17-10 by kicking a 32-yard field goal with 18 seconds left before halftime.
    Early in the second half, a Steriti 56-yard rush coupled with a personal foul penalty put the ball on Maine's 11. On 2nd-and-9 from the 10, Decker threw to Jimmy Giansante (one catch-10 yards-TD) in the left flat, and the redshirt freshman receiver followed his blockers into the end zone. The PAT failed, allowing Maine to maintain a 17-16 lead with 11:19 left in the third.
    Harvey's 21-yard field goal with 2:29 left in the third built the Bears' lead back to 20-16.


MILESTONE WATCH:
•LB Matt Evans needs three tackles to overtake his 2010 season total for No. 2 in school single-season history and eight tackles to move into UNH's all-time Top 5.
•QB Kevin Decker is 134 passing yards away from No. 9 all-time in school history.  He is 38 passing yards shy of No. 4 in single-season history; 53 yards away from No. 3 and 246 yards shy of No. 2.  
 •FS Chris Beranger is three tackles away from fifth place in school single-season history and nine tackles away from No. 4 on the single-season list.

DECKER NAMED CAA OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF YEAR: UNH senior quarterback Kevin Decker was named the Colonial Athletic Association Football Offensive Player of the Year in voting conducted among league head coaches Nov. 21. Decker becomes the fourth student-athlete in school history to earn this distinction. Decker leads the league in total offense/game (317.2 yards/fifth in FCS), passing yards/game (279.3/10th in FCS), pass efficiency (154.3/sixth in FCS), points responsible for/game (17.09/fifth in FCS) and TD passes (20). The first-year starter has completed 244 of 350 passes (69.7 percent) while rushing 121 times for 417 yards and a team-leading nine touchdowns. As just the fourth quarterback in school history to eclipse 3,000 passing yards in a season, Decker's 3,072 passing yards rank fifth in University single-season history, and he is within 246 passing yards of the No. 2 spot. His 3,951 career passing yards place him 10th all-time at UNH. Running backs Barry Bourassa (1991), Jerry Azumah (1996, '98), and quarterback Ricky Santos (2005-07) were previous Wildcat recipients of the conference player of the year honor.

DECKER ON FINAL WALTER PAYTON AWARD WATCH LIST: UNH senior quarterback Kevin Decker is one of 20 finalists for the 2011 Walter Payton Award, presented by Fathead.com, for the most outstanding player in the FCS. A national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries voted this week on the 25th Walter Payton Award. The honor will be presented at the FCS national awards banquet Friday night, Jan. 6, in Frisco, Texas.
    Running back Jerry Azumah (1998) and quarterback Ricky Santos (2006) are the two previous Wildcats to garner the Payton Award.

DECKER CHASING SANTOS:  Senior QB Kevin Decker has already won the CAA Offensive Player of the Year award, following in the footsteps of UNH's all-time greatest signal caller Ricky Santos, a three-time winner of the honor. Decker is within 246 passing yards of leapfrogging Santos's junior and freshman campaigns, respectively, to take sole posssesion of second place on the school's single-season passing list, trailing only Santos's stunning sophomore campaign in 2005. Here is a closer look at Decker's race to the top of the charts in his first and only year as a starter:
Player                  Year    Passing Yards    
1. Ricky Santos     (2005)    3,797
2. Ricky Santos     (2004)    3,318
3. Ricky Santos     (2006)    3,125
4. R.J. Toman       (2008)    3,110
5. Kevin Decker  (2011)    3,072
6. Bob Jean          (1986)    3,035
7. Ricky Santos    (2007)    2,972
8. Matt Griffin       (1991)    2,734
9. Ryan Day         (2001)    2,605
10. Mike Granieri  (2003)    2,595

DECKER AMONG ALL-TIME TOP 10 IN COMPLETIONS,YARDS:  After serving as a backup for three seasons, senior QB Kevin Decker has made the most of his lone year as the starter, climbing into UNH's all-time Top 10 in career completions (No. 9) and passing yards (No. 10). He is 134 yards shy of No. 9 all-time in yardage and 21 completions away from No. 8.  Here is a glance at Decker's career totals, and how he rates among the best in school history:

Player                  Seasons    Career Passing Yards
1. Ricky Santos    2004-07    12,189

8. Jeff Allen               1974-77     4,184
9. Chris Bresnahan    1995-96     4,085
10. Kevin Decker    2008-11    3,951

Player                      Seasons    Career Completions
1. Ricky Santos         2004-07    1,024

7. Matt Griffin           1987-91    392
8. Chris Bresnahan    1995-96    349
9. Kevin Decker      2008-11   328
10. Jeff Allen             1974-77    280

Player                      Seasons      Career Attempts
1. Ricky Santos        2004-07      1,498

9. Jeff Allen              1974-77      563
10. Kevin Decker    2008-11    484

EVANS ON FINAL BUCK BUCHANAN AWARD WATCH LIST:  Junior MLB Matt Evans was named to the final Buck Buchanan Award Watch List for the top defensive player in FCS football, and for good reason. The junior leads all of FCS football in tackles/game (14.0), solo tackles/game (8.0), total solo tackles (88) and total tackles (154). He has posted double-digit tackles in nine of his 11 games this year and in 20 of his last 24 games. He set a career benchmark with a CAA season-high 24-tackle performance in the victory at then 11th-ranked Lehigh on Sept. 10, and then registered 14 more tackles and returned his second career interception for a TD, racing back 31 yards for a score, in the Wildcats' 45-43 upset of then No. 5 Richmond on Sept. 24. For his efforts, Evans was feted with honorable mention as the CFPA National Linebacker Performer of the Week.
    In the Colonial Clash victory over then No. 22 UMass (27-21) on Oct. 22, Evans notched a game-high 13 tackles -all solo- and was subsequently named the CAA Defensive Player of the Week, a College Sporting News All-Star  and the Beyond Sports Network Defensive Player of the Week.  More recently, the Hanover, Mass., native racked up 19 tackles, nine solo, at Towson on Nov. 12 to capture the Beyond Sports Network Defensive Player of the Week award.
    Evans finished fourth in voting for the Buchanan Award last year. A national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries voted earlier this week for the Buchanan Award. The honor will be presented at the FCS national awards banquet Friday night, Jan. 6, in Frisco, Texas. 

EVANS ON CUSP OF PASSING SELF ON SINGLE-SEASON TACKLES' LIST:  Junior MLB Matt Evans is within two tackles of surpassing his career high in stops, set during his sophomore campaign. Evans already owns the No. 2 and 3 single-season stop totals, and is 41 tackles away from the highest one-year total in school history.
    On the career list, Evans is currently ranked sixth, he's within seven tackles of joining UNH's all-time Top 5 and 90 tackles shy of the all-time leader, Steve Doig:
Single-Season Tackles
1.    Steve Doig (1981)        195
2.    Matt Evans (2010)        156
3.    Matt Evans (2011)        154
4.    Chris Robinson (2003)        136
T-5.    Aaron Thomas (2004)        130
T-5.    Husain Karim (2007)        130
T-5.    Jeff Pammer (2007)        130
T-8.    Brett Bashaw (2000)        127
T-8    Chris Beranger (2011)    127
10.    Jeff Pammer (2005)        123    
    
Career Tackles
1.    Steve Doig (1978-81)               434
2.    Jeff Pammer (2004-07)             359
3.    Matt Parent (2005-08)              356
4.    Aaron Thomas (2000-04)          343
5.    Hugo Souza (2007-10)              331
6.    Matt Evans (2009-present)   324
7.    Chris McGrath (1987-91)          322
8.    John Clements (2005-08)         300
T-9.    Brett Bashaw (1996-2000)    297
      Romande Carter (1993-96)       297
    
SAFETY IS BERANGEROUS: Sophomore FS Chris Beranger has proven to be more than just Robin to Matt Evans's Batman in 2011. While Evans leads the country in tackles/game, Beranger is third in the league with 11.6 tackles/game (ninth in FCS) and third in the CAA with 6.4 solo tackles/game (T-10th in FCS).  He is tied for eighth place in single-season school history with 127 stops, just three tackles away from owning a spot in the Top 5 (see above). The Winthrop, Mass., native has led the Wildcats in tackles in six of the last nine games, including a game-high 16 tackles, and career-high 10 solo, in the Nov. 19 win over Maine. Additionally, he notched 13 stops in the Oct. 29 Homecoming victory over Rhode Island. Beranger tacked on his first career sack and a forced fumble to earn honorable mention as the CFPA National Defensive Back Performer of the Week. Beranger previously recorded a career-high 17 stops in the win at Richmond on Sept. 24,  notched16 tackles in the loss at William & Mary on Oct. 15 and topped the 'Cats with 14 tackles in the Colonial Clash victory over UMass on Oct. 22.

EVANS/BERANGER = BEST 1-2 PUNCH IN SCHOOL HISTORY: The combination of MLB Matt Evans and FS Chris Beranger has the school's all-time record for single-season tackles by a pair, surpassing the previous pace-setters from the 2007 squad, MLB Husain Karim and FS Jeff Pammer:
2007                2011
Husain Karim    130 tackles    Matt Evans    154 tackles
Jeff Pammer    130 tackles    Chris Beranger    127 tackles
Total        260 tackles    Total        281 tackles
    
DECKER, MCNALLY HEADLINE ALL-CAA TEAM MEMBERS: Kevin Decker, fellow co-captain Brian McNally and junior linebacker Matt Evans were named to the All-CAA Football First Team on Nov. 21. Wide receiver R.J. Harris, offensive lineman Ricky Archer and place kicker Mike MacArthur garnered All-CAA Second Team honors, while wide receiver Joey Orlando and offensive lineman Seamus O'Neill were tabbed to the All-CAA Third Team.

•Decker leads the league in total offense/game (317.2 yards/fifth in FCS), passing yards/game (279.3/10th in FCS), pass efficiency (154.3/sixth in FCS), points responsible for/game (17.09/fifth in FCS) and TD passes (20). The first-year starter has completed 244 of 350 passes (69.7 percent) while rushing 121 times for 417 yards and a team-leading nine touchdowns. As just the fourth quarterback in school history to eclipse 3,000 passing yards in a season, Decker's 3,072 passing yards rank fifth in University single-season history, and he is within 246 passing yards of the No. 2 spot. His 3,951 career passing yards place him 10th all-time at UNH.

•McNally, a member of the CAA Preseason All-Conference Team, garners All-CAA First Team honors for the second straight year. The 2008 CAA Defensive Rookie of the Year is ranked second in the conference with 7.5 sacks and paces the Wildcats with 11 tackles for loss. The defensive end was named to the College Sporting News Preseason All-America Team, The Sports Network/Fathead.com Preseason All-America Second Team, Phil Steele's Preseason All-American Second Team and the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) FCS Watch List.

•Evans, the nation's leader in total tackles (154), tackles/game (14.0), solo tackles (88) and solo tackles/game (8.0), receives All-CAA First Team recognition for the first time in his career. The middle linebacker was a preseason all-conference selection following a berth on the 2010 All-CAA Second Team. The junior, who is on the final Buck Buchanan Award Watch List, is three tackles shy of besting his career high and the school's No. 2 spot in single-season tackles, plus he is currently ranked sixth all-time at the University with 324 stops, a mere seven tackles away from cracking the top five. He is a five-time CAA Defensive Player of the Week, including twice this season following a career-high, 24-tackle game at Lehigh on Sept. 10 and a 13-tackle, two-forced fumble performance in the Colonial Clash victory against Massachusetts on Oct. 22. His preseason accolades included placement on the College Sporting News All-America Team, The Sports Network/Fathead.com All-America First Team, Phil Steele's Preseason All-American First Team and the College Sports Madness All-America First Team.

•Harris, a two-time CAA Rookie of the Week, lands on the all-conference second team after posting four 100-yard receiving games, amassing 46 receptions for a team-best 658 yards and a CAA-leading seven touchdown catches in 10 games. His 65.8 receiving yards/game are ranked fifth in the CAA, his 4.6 receptions/game are sixth-best in the league and he is No. 9 in scoring among non-kickers at 4.8 points/game.

•Archer, a sophomore, has started all 13 games at right guard for an offense that is averaging a CAA-leading 444.1 yards of total offense, ranked eighth in the nation.

•MacArthur, a sophomore, earns All-CAA Second Team honors after notching a spot on the third team as a freshman in '10. The Granite State native is 14-for-17 (82.4 percent) in field goal kicking, which is No. 2 in the league, and he is fourth in the league in PAT kicking percentage (95.0) with 38 conversions in 40 attempts.

•Orlando's 49 receptions lead all UNH receivers (sixth in CAA), and he is seventh in the league with 4.5 catches/game. The durable junior is the only Wildcat WR to start all 13 games, make at least one reception in every game and he's made multiple receptions in 13 of his last 14 games. Overall, the wideout has accumulated 617 yards and three receiving TDs in addition to 123 punt-return yards, highlighted by a 56-yard TD return at Lehigh on Sept. 10 that earned him the CAA Special Teams Player of the Week award.

•O'Neill, a sophomore, has started all 13 games at left tackle a season after serving as a part-time starter at guard.

HARRIS NAMED CAA ROOKIE OF WEEK-Nov. 21: UNH wide receiver/kick returner R.J. Harris was named the CAA Football Rookie of the Week and the College Sports Madness CAA Player of the Week on Monday for his performance in the Wildcats' 30-27 win against Maine on Nov. 19 at Cowell Stadium.
    Harris registered six receptions for 106 yards, which marked his fourth 100-yard receiving game of the season. The redshirt freshman collected a pair of touchdown receptions, a 34-yard TD in the first quarter and a five-yard scoring grab in the fourth period that put UNH ahead to stay. His long catch of the day went for 49 yards, and he totaled 136 all-purpose yards.
    This marks the second career CAA award for Harris, who was previously tabbed as the Rookie of the Week following his 12-catch, 120-yard, two-TD performance in a victory at Richmond on Sept. 24.
    The 6-foot, 194-pound receiver leads the Wildcats with 46 receptions for 658 yards and seven touchdown catches, tied for the CAA lead, in 10 games. His 65.8 receiving yards/game are ranked fifth in the CAA, his 4.6 receptions/game are sixth-best in the league and he is No. 9 in scoring among non-kickers at 4.8 points/game.
    
HARRIS PROGRAMED TO RECEIVE:  R-Fr. WR R.J. Harris has registered four 100-yard receiving games, becoming the first Wildcat receiver with four 100-yard games in a single season since Mike Boyle in 2008. Harris leads UNH with seven TD catches, including a 66-yarder (vs Villanova) and a 47-yarder (at Richmond), receptiongs/game (4.6) and yards/reception (14.3).

HARRIS ON FINAL RICE AWARD WATCH LIST:  R.J. Harris is a member of the final  Watch List for the inaugural Jerry Rice Award, presented by the Sports Network and sponsored by Fathead.com. The Rice Award will honor the outstanding freshman in the Football Championship Subdivision. A national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries voted on the award earlier this week. The legendary Rice, who played in the FCS (then Division I-AA) at Mississippi Valley State, will present the award at the national awards banquet Jan. 6, 2012, in Frisco, Texas.

HOUSTON IS THEIR PROBLEM: Sophomore CB Chris Houston has tallied a team-high five interceptions in 2011, highlighted by a two-pick afternoon in the triumph over Maine on Nov. 19. Houston has recorded an INT in three straight games, and four picks in those three weeks.

STERITI AND ABLE: RB Nico Steriti capitalized on his first career start Nov. 19 by rushing for a team season-high and career-best 150 yards on 21 rushes. The R-Fr., who was filling in for injured Dontra Peters, added a 71-yard kickoff return, the longest of the season by a Wildcat. In fact, Steriti has accounted for the two longest plays of the season, the aforementioned kick return and an 87-yard TD rush at Toledo on Sept. 1.

ALL-PURPOSE PETERS: Dontra Peters, who is expected to return to action this weekend after an injury kept him out of the the regular-season finale against Maine, has been a multi-purpose threat for the 'Cats all season. The junior ranks second in the CAA with149.3 all-purpose yards/game, and he ranks third in kick-return yardage (24.6/return).  Peters notched the third 100-yard rushing game of his career and first of the season Oct. 1 when he collected 104 yards on 18 carries in the victory over Holy Cross. He leads the Wildcats with 568 rushing yards (ninth in CAA) and he's made at least one pass reception in all 10 games in which he's seen action.

ZARKOSKIE NAMED TO 2011 CAPITAL ONE ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT ® FOOTBALL TEAM: UNH junior offensive lineman Chris Zarkoskie was named to the 2011 Capital One Academic All-District ® Football Team on Nov. 11, selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) to recognize the nation's top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom.
    Zarkoskie, a psychology major, boasts a cumulative 3.54 grade point average (GPA). After starting all 13 games last season at center, the 6-foot-1, 288-pound lineman has started nine games at left guard this year. He was tabbed to the NCAA Division I District, which encompasses all the New England states and New York.
    Zarkoskie, along with other First-team Academic All-District honorees, will advance to the Capital One Academic All-America ® Team ballot, where first- and second-team All-America selections will be announced later this month. He previously received the 2010-11 CAA Academic Award and was named to the 2010 CAA Academic All-Conference Team.
    The Seton Hall Prep product was a nominee for the 2011 Allstate American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team ®, which recognizes the selfless contributions to volunteerism and community service made by college football student-athletes across the nation. Zarkoskie volunteers his time to welcome members of the U.S. Armed Forces back from sfdddervice overseas and to bid them well upon deployment as a member of the "Pease Greeters" at Portsmouth International Airport at Pease International Tradeport in Portsmouth, N.H.
 

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