No. 25/22 New Hampshire (1-3, 0-1 CAA) vs Rhode Island (2-4, 1-2 CAA)
Oct. 12, 2013 • 12:00 p.m. • Cowell Stadium • Durham, N.H.
Homecoming • Homecoming Traffic Map
Game Sponsors: AMI Graphics • Service Credit Union • Waste Management
Video Streaming: UNHWildcats.TV
Radio: Wildcat Sports Radio Network
Bob Lipman (play-by-play) • Chris Chandler (analyst)
Live Stats: http://livestats.prestosports.com/unhwildcats/
• UNH has not lost to URI at Cowell Stadium since Sept. 16, 1995, when the Rams eked out a 10-7 victory. The Wildcats are 6-0 against the Rams in Durham since that time.
• This weekend's tilt against Rhode Island marks New Hampshire's 400th all-time game as a member of the CAA (previously Yankee Conference, Atlantic 10). The Wildcats are 208-181-10 (.535) with 13 overall titles, including a share of the 2012 CAA crown.
• UNH is the only school in the CAA to rank in the top-3 in both rushing offense (219.8 yards/game/No. 3) and passing offense (235.8/No. 3). The Wildcats' balanced attack has resulted in 455.5 yards/game, which ranks second in the league.
• The Wildcats boast the CAA's top punting game (42.8 net yards/punt) and the league's No. 1 punt returner, Casey DeAndrade (5.4 yards/return).
• UNH has outscored its opponents 64-12 in the first quarter and has led by double digits in each of its three losses this year. The Wildcats led Central Michigan by 14 points (21-7), Lehigh by 16 points (19-3) and Towson by 17 points (20-3).
• The Wildcats and the Rams meet for the 87th time, making this the second-longest rivalry in UNH history (Maine, 100 games). New Hampshire has won eight of the last nine meetings and is 10-3 vs the Rams in the Sean McDonnell Era.
•Since the start of the 2007 season, the Wildcats are 30-4 at Cowell Stadium. The 'Cats have recorded wins in 11 of their last 12 home games and are 23-2 in their last 25 matchups in the Dungeon.
•New Hampshire has not been defeated in a Homecoming game since William & Mary posted a 38-34 triumph against the Wildcats on Oct. 11, 2008.
•Coach Mac announced during his weekly press conference that sophomore QB Sean Goldrich would likely make his first start of the season in place of injured QB Andy Vailas (knee). Vailas may still see action.
•With 39 career field goals, senior kicker Mike MacArthur is one field goal shy of UNH's all-time leader Connor McCormick (2002-05), and MacArthur is two field goals away from becoming the first Wildcat to reach the CAA career Top 10 in field goals.
132 WEEKS IN A ROW: UNH owns the nation's longest streak of Top-25 appearances with 132 in a row, a stretch that dates back to Sept. 13, 2004, and is an amazing 83 weeks longer than Montana State, which has the country's second-longest ranked streak. Towson, with 31 weeks, has the CAA's second-longest streak:
School Consecutive Weeks Ranked
Montana State (2nd in FCS) 49
Towson (2nd in CAA) 31
LAST MEETING: OCT. 27, 2012 - 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.
Matt Evans totaled 12 tackles, eight of the solo variety, for team-high honors. 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.
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 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.
UNH-URI ALL-TIME SERIES (WILDCATS LEAD 54-27-5): The Wildcats and the Rams engage in football battle for the 87th time, the second-longest rivalry in school history (Maine-100 meetings). UNH and Rhode Island met each year from 1905-1917, resumed the annual series from 1923-28, played just once ('42) over the next 17 years and then have squared off each season since 1946 with one exception (2002). New Hampshire has won eight of the last nine meetings and is 10-3 vs the Rams in the Sean McDonnell Era.
SCOUTING THE RAMS: Rhode Island enters Saturday's game with a 1-2 conference record and 2-4 overall after falling to Brown last week, 31-14, in the Governer's Cup. In the 1,000th game in URI history, quarterback Bob Bentsen threw one touchdown and ran for another while surrendering two interceptions. Brown scored on its first offensive play for an early 7-0 lead, but the Rams tied the game up with a touchdown of their own near the end of the first quarter. However, URI then gave up 24 straight points and did not score again until the final minute of the game.
This season the Rams have third-best Red Zone defense (66.7%) in the CAA, but Rhody ranks last in both scoring (16.8 points/game) and total offense (326.8 yards/game).
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior LB Andrew Bose, who is currently fourth in the CAA with 56 total tackles, is averaging 9.3 tackles/game and carrying the Rams on defense. His 32 solo stops are also tied for third best in the league.
Senior DL James Timmins ranks third in the CAA with 7.5 tackles for a loss this season. He also leads URI with 35 yards lost resulting from those tackles. The lineman is fourth in the league in tackles per game too, with 4.3.
Junior kicker Dylan Smith is fifth in the league in field goals per game with 0.8. His 66.7 field goal percentage is fourth best in the CAA, and his longest made FG was from 45 yards away.
•Junior WR R.J. Harris needs eight receiving yards to become the 10th player in school history to reach 2,000 receiving yards.
•Senior WR Justin Mello is 48 yards shy of 1,000 career receiving yards.
•Junior QB Andy Vailas is 70 all-purpose yards away from 3,000 for his career.
•With 39 career field goals, senior kicker Mike MacArthur is one field goal away from No. 1 all-time at UNH, and he is two field goals away from cracking the CAA all-time Top-10.
•R.J. Harris is one all-purpose yard away from 2,500 for his career, and Nico Steriti needs 69 all-purpose yards to hit the 2,500 plateau.
KNUDS-OFF: It was a bittersweet Saturday for sophomore safety Hayden Knudson on Oct. 5. Knudson set a career high with a team-leading 12 tackles at Towson, but he suffered a broken foot that will sideline him for six to eight weeks. Knudson, who started the first four games of the season, ranks fourth on the team with 27 tackles.
GOLDRICH GETTING THE NOD: Coach Sean McDonnell said during his Wednesday afternoon press conference that sophomore QB Sean Goldrich would likely make his first start of the season Saturday against Rhode Island. Goldrich leads the CAA in pass efficiency (173.7). He is 13-for-20 for 204 yards with two TDs and an interception while seeing action in each of the Wildcats' first four games. Goldrich won the starting job from Vailas last season before suffering an injury at Minnesota on the second snap of the second game of the year. Each QB started six games a year ago.
Vailas, who injured his knee during the loss at Towson on Oct. 5, is questionable for Saturday's game vs URI.
BACKED AGAINST THE WALL: It has been 10 years since the Wildcats started the season with a 1-3 record. That 2003 campaign was the last time UNH finished with a below-.500 record (5-7). The 'Cats are looking to prevent their worst start since going 0-4 at the outset of the 2002 campaign.
RAM TOUGH: UNH has not lost to URI at Cowell Stadium since Sept. 16, 1995, when the Rams eked out a 10-7 victory. The Wildcats are 6-0 against the Rams in Durham since that time.
THE 400 CLUB: This weekend's tilt against Rhode Island marks New Hampshire's 400th all-time game as a member of the CAA (previously Yankee Conference, Atlantic 10). The Wildcats are 208-181-10 (.535) with 13 overall titles, including a share of the 2012 CAA crown.
BALANCING THE BOOKS: UNH is the only school in the CAA to rank in the top-3 in both rushing offense (219.8 yards/game/No. 3) and passing offense (235.8/No. 3). The Wildcats' balanced attack has resulted in 455.5 yards/game, which ranks second in the league.
Eight Wildcats average at least 5.0 yards/carry: R.J. Harris (13.7); Dalton Crossan (10.6); Jared Allison (8.7); Jimmy Owens (7.5); Sean Goldrich (5.8); Nico Steriti (5.6); Chris Setian (5.5) and Jim Earley (5.0).
Both Andy Vailas (63.1%) and Sean Goldrich (65.0%) are completing more than 60% of their passes; Goldrich leads the CAA in pass efficiency (173.7) with 13 completions in 20 attempts for 204 yards.
PUNTING: The Wildcats boast the CAA's top punting game (42.8 net yards/punt) and the league's No. 1 punt returner, Casey DeAndrade (5.4 yards/return). Junior punter Brad Prasky is second in the conference with a 44.3 yards/punt average.
D-ANDRADE: Pressed into a starting role after senior Chris Houston suffered a preseason foot injury, redshirt freshman Casey DeAndrade has responded by leading the CAA in passes defended. The cornerback has broken up four passes in four games (1.0/game).
DOUBLE DIGIT DANGER: UNH has outscored its opponents 64-12 in the first quarter and has led by double digits in each of its three losses this year. The Wildcats led Central Michigan by 14 points (21-7), Lehigh by 16 points (19-3) and Towson by 17 points (20-3).
10TH ANNUAL COOK-OFF: UNH Athletics is proud to host the 10th Annual Wildcat Tailgating Cook-off presented by The Meat House on Homecoming weekend. The cook-off will take place in the Boulder Field tailgating area. Fans are encouraged to bring their best tailgating recipes and fire up the grill prior to the 12 p.m. kickoff of the UNH/Rhode Island football game at 12 p.m.
Judges for the event will be Greg Kretschmar of WHEB 100.3 FM and Rock 101 WGIR's The Morning Buzz radio show and representatives from The Meat House.
Judging will begin at 10 a.m. and registration for the event starts at 9 a.m. at the UNH Wildcats stage and Meat House display located in the east end of Boulder Field (near Bremner Field). Registration is free and fans are encouraged to get there early.
The grand prize is a new portable tailgate grill and $250 at The Meat House to use for catering services or in-store credit. Meat House prizes will also be awarded to fans for second and third place, respectively, and in the following categories: best Wildcat-themed recipe and best student entry.
The winners will be announced at the conclusion of judging and during the game at the start of the third quarter over the public address system.
HOUSTON STILL HAS A PROBLEM: Senior cornerback Chris Houston will be out of the lineup for the fifth straight game with a Lisfranc injury (midfoot) to his left foot that required a walking boot and crutches last month.
Houston's eight career interceptions rank No. 1 among all Wildcat active players, and he led the CAA with six picks during his sophomore season (2011). He tallied 59 tackles, including 49 solo stops, to rank fourth on the team while starting 11 games.
NEW WR COACH: Ricky Santos, the most prolific quarterback in UNH history, has joined the Wildcat coaching staff as the wide receivers coach. Santos, whose uniform No. 2 is one of five jerseys ever retired by the UNH football program, was a four-year starter at quarterback (2004-07) who led the Wildcats to a 37-14 record. Over that time, Santos guided New Hampshire to the NCAA I-AA/FCS playoffs all four seasons, led the squad to its first-ever D-I postseason victory at Georgia Southern (Nov. 27, 2004), was part of the 2005 Atlantic 10 championship team and two A-10 Northern Division titles (2004, 2006). The Bellingham, Mass., native ranks first in D-I FCS history with 2,140 career plays, he is No. 3 all-time in passing yards (13,212) and touchdown passes (123) and fourth in total offense (14,615 yards). Santos hooked up with UNH's all-time leading receiver David Ball for 53 touchdowns in three seasons to set an FCS record for most career TD connections for a QB-WR duo. In 2006 Santos won the Walter Payton Award as the most outstanding offensive player in FCS football.