No. 11/11 New Hampshire (7-2, 5-1 CAA) vs William & Mary (2-6, 1-4 CAA)
Nov. 3, 2012 • 12:00 p.m. • Cowell Stadium • Durham, N.H.
Radio: Wildcat Sports Radio Network
Bob Lipman (play-by-play) • Chris Chandler (analyst)
•The Wildcats are riding their first five-game winning streak since winning their first five games in 2009. A victory against the Tribe would give UNH its third winning streak of at least six games in the Coach Mac era and the longest since a seven-game stretch from Oct. 15-Nov. 26, 2005.
•Since Nov. 17, 2007, UNH is 23-2 at Cowell Stadium. Both defeats came at the hands of William & Mary: 38-34 on Oct. 11, 2008, and 13-3 on Nov. 6, 2010. The latter loss snapped UNH's school-record 12-game home winning streak. The Wildcats are bidding for their 10th straight home win in The Dungeon this weekend.
•Senior middle linebacker Matt Evans, the FCS active leader with 427 career tackles, is seven tackles away from matching Steve Doig (1978-81) as the all-time leader in UNH history. Evans leads the CAA in tackles (93).
•R.J. Harris moved into ninth place on UNH's all-time, single-season receiving yards (884) list last week at Rhode Island. He needs 116 yards to become only the fifth Wildcat –and first since Mike Boyle (2008)- to post a 1,000-yard season. Only Boyle, David Ball (2004-06), David Gamble (1993) and Curtis Olds (1988) are in that exclusive club. The sophomore, who owns a CAA-leading 61 receptions, is six catches shy of No. 9 in University single-season history.
•William & Mary is the only CAA team that the Wildcats have not beaten in the Coach Mac era (0-9). The Wildcats' last victory over the Tribe was Oct. 24, 1998. That 31-19 win was historic because UNH senior RB Jerry Azumah set the NCAA I-AA (now FCS) career rushing record. Azumah carried 33 times for 235 yards that afternoon and ended his Hall of Fame career with 6,193 rushing yards. Azumah is now No. 3 all-time in FCS history, behind Adrian Peterson (Georgia Southern, 6,559) and Charles Roberts (Sacramento State, 6,553).
•The Wildcats went 4-0 in October, marking their first unbeaten October since 2007 and only the third time they've turned the trick in the last 19 years.
•Chris Setian has tallied at least one carry and one reception in each game this season, and the RB has scored a TD in eight of nine games.
122 WEEKS IN A ROW: UNH owns the nation's longest streak of Top-25 appearances with 122 in a row. The streak dates back to Sept. 13, 2004. Delaware, at a distant 39 weeks, has the second-longest ranked tenure in the CAA.
UNH-W&M ALL-TIME SERIES (TRIBE LEADS, 13-2): The Tribe is the lone CAA team that the Wildcats have not beaten in the Sean McDonnell era (0-9). Seven of those nine games have been decided by 10 points or less. The College is the only team to defeat UNH at Cowell Stadium since the start of the 2008 season, and it's turned the trick twice. The Tribe turned back the Wildcats 38-34 to spoil Homecoming on Oct. 11, 2008, and W&M snapped New Hampshire's school-record 12-game home winning streak Nov. 6, 2010, 13-3.
SCOUTING THE TRIBE: William & Mary's 2-6 record is deceiving. The Tribe has suffered a pair of one-point losses and a couple of three-point losses. The one-point defeats came at the hands of FBS Maryland (7-6) in the opening week and a gut-wrenching 27-26, double-overtime loss at longtime rival and now 10th-ranked James Madison on Oct. 13. No. 19 Towson edged The College, 20-17, at Unitas Stadium on Sept. 15, and Lafayette pulled off a 17-15 at Zable Stadium on Sept. 8.
The Tribe features the CAA's fourth-ranked scoring defense (22.1 points/game) and No. 2 passing defense (174.2 yards/game), but moving the ball through the air has proven challenging with the league's 11th-ranked pass offense (164.1 yards/game).
A disciplined W&M squad is the least penalized unit in the CAA with only 32 penalties for 288 yards.
WILLIAM & MARY PLAYERS TO WATCH: The QB position has been unstable. Raphael Ortiz is the league's No. 10 signal caller in terms of total offense (154.0 yards/game) and does not even crack the top-10 in passing yards (942) or passing average (134.6 yards/game).
Keith McBride leads the rushing attack with 101 carries for 518 yards, which is good for eighth in the CAA at 74.0 yards/game. Tre McBride (no relation) has been the Tribe's most prolific receiver, hauling in 43 catches for 668 yards and five TDs. His 83.5 receiving yards/game rank third in the CAA.
On the other side of the ball, redshirt freshman middle linebacker Luke Rhodes ranks fifth in the conference with 8.1 tackles/game, and junior free safety Jerome Couplin is ranked 10th with 7.5 tackles/game. Senior outside linebacker Jabrel Mines has forced two fumbles, and sophomore defensive end Stephen Sinnott has recovered two fumbles.
LAST TIME OUT: UNH-40, RHODE ISLAND-20 - OCT. 27
KINGSTON, R.I. – Dontra Peters forced a fumble and notched an interception that sparked scoring drives, Chris Setian scored both a rushing and receiving touchdown and the 12th-ranked UNH football team spoiled Saturday's Homecoming game at Rhode Island by posting a 40-20 CAA victory.
UNH, which recorded its fifth straight victory, improved to 7-2 overall and maintained at least a share of first place in the CAA with a league mark of 5-1. URI dropped to 0-8, 0-5.
Sean Goldrich completed 17 of 27 passes for 245 yards and a touchdown while rushing six times for 24 yards and a TD.
R.J. Harris registered his fourth 100-yard receiving game of the season by snaring a team-leading eight catches for 131 yards. Jimmy Giansante collected 55 receiving yards on a career-high-tying four receptions.
Setian was UNH's leading rusher with four carries for 55 yards, while Andy Vailas added 54 yards on eight rushes.
Matt Evans totaled 12 tackles, eight of the solo variety, for team-high honors. The senior co-captain, with 427 career stops, moved to within seven tackles of UNH all-time leader Steve Doig (434, 1978-81).
New Hampshire's defense turned three Rhode Island turnovers into 17 points.
Mike MacArthur staked UNH to a 3-0 lead by kicking a 28-yard field goal that capped the game's opening drive with 13:15 remaining in the first quarter. Setian began the game with a career-long 44-yard rush to the URI 28. Two completions from Goldrich to Harris placed the ball on the Rams' 11. Vailas, who split time at quarterback with Goldrich, ran for an apparent 11-yard TD, but the play was negated by a personal foul penalty and the 'Cats had to settle for three.
Rhody's initial drive was thwarted when Jared Smith (two tackles) blocked a 29-yard field goal try by Dylan Smith, but the Rams alertly recovered the ensuing fumbled return by Peters at the UNH 16-yard line.
Rhode Island capitalized on that turnover to take a 6-3 lead two plays later on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Bob Bentsen (24-for-38, 266 yards, two INT, TD) to Brandon-Johnson Farrell (nine catches-92 yards, TD) with 10:59 left in the first. Bentsen's two-point conversion pass attempt fell incomplete.
The Wildcats came right back with a 10-play, 72-yard drive which culminated in Setian's two-yard scoring rush with 7:53 remaining in the opening stanza. The failed PAT left UNH's advantage at 9-6.
Peters (five tackles) atoned for his earlier fumble when he intercepted Bentsen's pass in the UNH end zone to snuff out Rhode Island's 13-play, 75-yard drive that chewed up nearly seven minutes. The pick was Peters' fourth of the season, which is tied for the most in the CAA.
New Hampshire then covered 80 yards on seven plays, climaxing in an 11-yard rushing touchdown from Nico Steriti (five rushes-19 yards, TD) for 16-6 lead with 14:36 left in the second quarter.
Peters caused a second Rhode Island turnover deep in UNH territory to halt the Rams' following possession when he ripped the ball loose from URI running back Assani Mudimbi on a rushing play. Manny Asam (six tackles) recovered the fumble on the Wildcats' 21.
UNH parlayed that turnover into more points courtesy of MacArthur's 31-yard field goal with 8:08 left in the half that staked the Wildcats to a 19-6 advantage.
New Hampshire seized a commanding 26-6 lead on Goldrich's nine-yard TD pass to Setian (two catches-25 yards, TD) with seven seconds left in the half. That put a bow on a seven-play, 71-yard scoring drive that took only 44 seconds to materialize.
URI scored on its initial possession of the second half when Bentsen scored on a six-yard keeper to trim the deficit to 26-13 at 9:10 of the third.
Vailas got into the scoring action with a 19-yard TD pass to Justin Mello (two catches-27 yards, TD) with 7:22 left in the third for a 33-13 lead. Mello made a full-extension grab in the far left corner of the end zone for his second scoring reception of the year. Jared Allison (55 kick-return yards; 103 all-purpose yards) set the stage for the four-play, 52-yard drive by virtue of his 40-yard kickoff return to the UNH 48.
The Wildcats took advantage of favorable field position on their next scoring drive, which began when Alan Buzbee (four tackles) picked off Bentsen's fourth-down pass and brought it back 12 yards to the URI 35. It was Buzbee's third interception in the last four games.
It took all of five plays, 33 yards and 53 seconds to score the fifth TD of the day. Goldrich called his own number for a nine-yard score to push the lead to 40-13 with 2:46 left in the third.
The Rams made it 40-20 with 11:05 left on a five-yard keeper by Bentsen.
WELCOME TO THE DUNGEON: Since the start of the 2007 season, the Wildcats are 28-3 at Cowell Stadium. The 'Cats have posted a 21-1 mark in their last 22 home games and have gone unbeaten at Cowell Stadium in two of the last three seasons.
They've lost to only two schools during this amazing stretch: Northeastern, 31-13, on Nov. 3, 2007, and twice to William & Mary: 38-34, on Oct. 11, 2008, and 13-3 on Nov. 6, 2010. In between the two defeats to the Tribe, UNH set a school record with 12 straight home victories. The current home winning streak is nine games with the Tribe returning to Mooradian Field this Saturday.
GOING STREAKING: UNH is riding its first five-game winning streak since Sept. 5-Oct 10, 2009, when the 'Cats opened the season 5-0. Under Coach McDonnell, UNH has managed a total of three five-game winning streaks, one six-game winning streak and a seven-game winning streak.
PERFECT ROCKTOBER: The Wildcats registered a perfect 4-0 month of October for only the third time in the last 19 seasons. The only previous perfect October in the Coach Mac era came in 2007, when the 'Cats posted wins over Delaware (35-30), Iona (49-21), at Hofstra (40-3) and against Rhode Island (49-36).
I'LL BE YOUR DOIG: Senior linebacker Matt Evans is now within seven tackles of toppling Steve Doig's 31-year record as UNH's all-time leader in tackles. Evans, the FCS active career leader with 427 tackles, has picked up steam in recent weeks. After notching one double-digit-tackle game in the first six weeks of the season (12 at ODU on Sept. 22), the reigning Buck Buchanan Award winner has rolled up three straight double-digit efforts: a 16-tackle Homecoming win over Richmond; 11 tackles at Maine and 12 tackles at Rhode Island. Evans has either led or tied for the team lead in tackles seven times in nine games this season. He is the CAA's leader in tackles (93), tackles/game (10.3), solo stops (64/No. 2 in FCS) and solo stops/game (7.1/No. 6 in FCS).
•Matt Evans, who moved into No. 2 on UNH's all-time tackles list Sept. 15, needs eight tackles to surpass all-time leader Steve Doig.
•Joey Orlando needs 86 receiving yards to move into eighth place all-time and is within seven receptions of No. 7 all-time.
AIMING FOR 1,000: R.J. Harris moved into ninth place in school single-season history in receiving yards (884) by virtue of his eight-catch, 131-yard output at Rhode Island on Oct. 27. Harris needs 116 receiving yards to become UNH's first 1,000-yard receiver since Mike Boyle in 2008 and only the fifth receiver in school history to reach that plateau.
The sophomore has a streak of 14 straight games with at least one reception. He has tallied 13 consecutive multi-catch contests. The last time Harris was held without a catch was Oct. 22, 2011, in the Colonial Clash victory over Massachusetts at Gillette Stadium. His last single-catch game was in the Oct. 29, 2011, triumph over Rhode Island at Cowell Stadium.
The Odenton, Md., native leads the CAA in receptions (61), receiving yards (884), receiving yards/game (98.2), is tied for the lead in TD catches (eight) and is second in receptions/game (6.8). He is six receptions away from the single-season Top 10 and is within 10 grabs of the Top 5.
STEADY-IN: Chris Setian has at least one reception and one rushing attempt in each game and has scored at least one touchdown in eight of the nine games this season. The lone exception was the Wildcats' victory against Delaware on Sept. 29. His nine TDs –five rushing, four receiving- lead the team, and he's also tallied UNH'S lone two-point conversion reception of the season. The jack-of-all-trades even has amassed six tackles with his role on special teams, highest among all players who ply their trade on offense.
SUBDIVISION'S RUSH ATTACK: UNH's balanced backfield continues to be among the best in the FCS. The Wildcats, who average 240.8 rushing yards/game, trail only Villanova (253.9) in the CAA and are 11th overall nationally. The SOS Express of Nico Steriti (98 carries-701 yards, seven TDs), Jimmy Owens (59 rushes-402 yards, four TDs) and Chris Setian (73 rushes-458 yards, five TDs) has combined for 1,561 rushing yards on 230 carries, which averages out to 173.4 yards/game and 6.8 yards/carry from the backfield trio.
PICKING THEIR SPOTS: UNH leads the CAA and is tied for third nationally with 15 interceptions. The Wildcats have produced multi-INT games six times, including four picks in the last two weeks, seven in the last four games and nine over their previous five matchups. Dontra Peters, the reigning CAA Defensive Player of the Week, is tied for the CAA lead with four picks and Alan Buzbee has registered an INT in three of the last four games.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DOWN MAKES: The Wildcats are converting third downs 49.3 percent of the time (66 of 134), ranked second in the CAA. However, UNH is a mere 1-for-10 on fourth down, the lowest success rate among the 11 league teams.
ZONED IN: By successfully scoring on all seven trips inside URI's red zone Oct. 27, the Wildcats boosted their CAA-leading red zone offense to 92.9% (39 of 42). The 'Cats have tallied 30 touchdowns (14 rushing, 16 passing) and are a perfect 9-for-9 in field-goal kicking inside the opponent's 20.
PETERS WINS 2ND CAA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF WEEK AWARD: UNH cornerback Dontra Peters was named the CAA Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 28 for the second time this season. Peters notched an interception and forced a fumble in the Wildcats' 40-20 victory at Rhode Island.
Peters, who previously garnered this honor Oct. 1 for his two-interception effort in a Sept. 29 win against Delaware, made his fourth pick of the season –tied for the CAA lead- on Bob Bentsen's second-down pass in the UNH end zone to halt an eight-minute URI drive and preserve the Wildcats' 9-6 lead late in the first quarter.
New Hampshire scored on its ensuing drive to build a 16-6 advantage. Early in the second quarter, the senior co-captain came through again when he jarred the ball loose from Rams running back Assani Mudimbi, tallying his first career forced fumble that was recovered by Manny Asam at the UNH 21.
The 'Cats took advantage of the change of possession by moving down the field and adding a field goal for a 19-6 lead.Peters leads a defense ranked first in the league with 15 interceptions and rated second in the league with a plus-10 turnover margin. This is the fourth CAA weekly award for the 5-foot-11, 200-pound Peters, who was named Special Teams Player of the Week twice in 2011.