DURHAM, N.H. – University of New Hampshire head football coach Sean McDonnell unveiled Friday the team's 2012 schedule, which kicks off with a Thursday night game at Holy Cross (Aug. 30) one week before a road matchup at Minnesota (Sept. 8), a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team. The Wildcats' home opener will be Saturday, Sept. 15, at 12 p.m. versus Central Connecticut State.
"Our players are looking forward to another challenging season featuring tough, traditional rivals and some of the best competition in the nation," McDonnell said. "We'll start with some big road tests in September at Holy Cross and Minnesota before facing a good Central Connecticut team in our home opener, which leads right into the always-difficult CAA schedule."
UNH begins the campaign on a Thursday night for the second straight season, playing a 7 p.m. game at Fitton Field in Worcester, Mass., versus the Crusaders. New Hampshire and Holy Cross renewed a regional rivalry that had been dormant for 27 seasons when the Wildcats pulled out a 39-32 victory at Cowell Stadium on Oct. 1, which evened the all-time series, 6-6.
For the 10th time in 11 seasons, UNH squares off with an FBS foe when it clashes with Minnesota on Sept. 8. The Wildcats are 5-4 all-time in the previous nine encounters with FBS opponents and 1-0 against the Big Ten courtesy of a 34-17 win at Northwestern on Sept. 9, 2006.
The 'Cats put their perfect 6-0 all-time record versus Central Connecticut State on the line when the Blue Devils return to Durham for the second time in three seasons for a non-conference tilt. UNH claimed a 33-3 decision in the season opener Sept. 4, 2010.
The first CAA game of the season pits UNH against Old Dominion for the first time ever Sept. 22 in Norfolk, Va. The Monarchs' maiden voyage in the league resulted in a 9-2 overall record (6-2 CAA mark) and a berth in the 2011 NCAA Division I FCS National Championship tournament. ODU has become the winningest start-up program in FCS history with a three-year record of 27-8 since reviving the program.
UNH welcomes Delaware back to Cowell Stadium for the first time since 2007 on Sept. 29. The Wildcats boast a three-game, regular-season winning streak against the Blue Hens, but Delaware leads the all-time series, 20-10, including a 16-3 defeat of the 'Cats in the quarterfinals of the 2009 NCAA tournament.
On Oct. 6, the Wildcats venture to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta for their inaugural matchup against Georgia State, the newest member of the CAA.
Richmond serves as the Homecoming opponent at Mooradian Field on Oct. 13. The all-time series is knotted, 10-10, with the Wildcats having notched back-to-back victories over the Spiders, including a 17-0 final at 2010 Homecoming, which was UNH's school-record 12th consecutive home victory, and a thrilling 45-43 win at Robins Stadium in Richmond this past Sept. 24.
After reclaiming the cherished Brice-Cowell Musket by virtue of a 30-27 victory over arch-rival Maine at Cowell Stadium in the '11 regular-season finale, the Wildcats return to Orono for the 100th all-time meeting between the two schools Oct. 20. UNH leads the series, 48-43-8.
UNH and Rhode Island meet for the 86th time Oct. 27 at Meade Stadium in what will be their final clash as league members. The Rams, who suffered a 31-24 setback to the Wildcats on 2011 Homecoming in Durham, will leave the CAA to join the Northeast Conference (NEC) in 2013. UNH holds a 53-27-5 edge all time.
The 'Cats will be seeking to snap a nine-game losing streak against William & Mary when the Tribe invades Durham on Nov. 3. W&M posted a 24-10 victory at Zable Stadium in '11 to improve to 13-2 all-time against UNH.
Following an open week Nov. 10, New Hampshire's regular-season finale will be against Towson on Nov. 17 at Cowell Stadium. UNH will seek to avenge a 56-42 loss to the CAA champions this season, which is the only time the Wildcats have fallen to the Tigers in eight career gridiron meetings.
For more information about UNH football, visit www.unhwildcats.com.
2012 UNH FOOTBALL SCHEDULE (caps/bold = home)
Thursday, Aug. 30 at Holy Cross (7 p.m.)
Saturday, Sept. 8 at Minnesota (TBA)
Saturday, Sept. 15 CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE (12 p.m.)
Saturday, Sept. 22 at Old Dominion (TBA)
Saturday, Sept. 29 DELAWARE (12 p.m. | Family Weekend)
Saturday, Oct. 6 at Georgia State (TBA)
Saturday, Oct. 13 RICHMOND (12 p.m. | Homecoming)
Saturday, Oct. 20 at Maine (TBA)
Saturday, Oct. 27 at Rhode Island (TBA)
Saturday, Nov. 3 WILLIAM & MARY (12 p.m.)
Saturday, Nov. 10 OPEN
Saturday, Nov. 17 TOWSON (12 p.m. | Senior Day)