No.16/17 New Hampshire (4-3, 3-1 CAA) at William & Mary (5-3, 2-2 CAA)
Nov. 2, 2013 • 1:30 p.m. • Zable Stadium • Williamsburg, Va.
Radio: Wildcat Sports Radio Network
Bob Lipman (play-by-play) • Chris Chandler (analyst)
Live Stats: http://www.tribeathletics.com/liveStats
•Last season's 28-25 win was the first for the Wildcats against the Tribe in the Sean McDonnell Era; it snapped a nine-game skid in the series, which the College still leads, 13-3. UNH has not knocked off W&M in back-to-back seasons since 1997-98.
•The Wildcats' last victory over the Tribe at Zable Stadium was by a score of 31-19 on Oct. 24, 1998. UNH senior RB Jerry Azumah, carried the ball 33 times for 235 yards and a TD, becoming the all-time career rushing leader in I-AA (now FCS) football. He added an 82-yard kickoff return for a TD. The '98 season was the final season UNH played under legendary Head Coach Bill Bowes.
•William & Mary is undefeated at home (4-0) this season. The Tribe ranks first in the CAA in both scoring defense and total defense, but they rank last in the conference in total offense.
•UNH is among the best in the league in four offensive categories with a No. 2 rank in both scoring offense and red zone offense (87.5%) as well as No. 3 in rushing offense and total offense.
•Junior RB Nico Steriti is within 49 rushing yards of cracking UNH's all-time Top-10, he is 69 yards away from the No. 9 spot and he needs 122 ground yards to reach the 2,000-yard mark for his career.
•Junior WR R.J. Harris, who has missed the last two games, is tied for No. 8 in all-time receptions (160) and ninth place on UNH's all-time receiving yards list (2,036) following a four-catch, 44-yard performance in a win against URI on Oct. 12. Harris is within 95 yards and eight receptions of catching former teammate Joey Orlando for No. 8 and No. 6 all-time, respectively.
•Senior wide receiver Justin Mello recorded career highs in receptions (eight) and touchdowns (three) last week at Stony Brook. He also finished with 110 receiving yards, which is seven less than his personal best established in the season opener at Central Michigan.
135 WEEKS IN A ROW: UNH owns the nation's longest streak of Top-25 appearances with 135 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 34 weeks, has the CAA's second-longest streak.
LAST MEETING - NOV. 3, 2012: DURHAM, N.H. – Nico Steriti carried 19 times for 106 yards and two touchdowns and Matt Evans registered a game-high 10 tackles to become the all-time tackle leader in school history as the 11th-ranked UNH football team downed William & Mary, 28-25, at Cowell Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Wildcats improved to 8-2 overall and upped their CAA-leading mark to 6-1, while the Tribe fell to 2-7, 1-5. With its 10th straight home victory, New Hampshire snapped a nine-game losing skid against William & Mary and gave head coach Sean McDonnell his first career victory against the College.
Sean Goldrich completed 21 of 30 passes for 215 yards, and R.J. Harris notched a team-leading 10 catches for 77 yards. Harris moved into a tie for fifth place in UNH single-season history with 71 receptions and seventh place in single-season history with 961 receiving yards.
Evans surpassed Steve Doig as the University's all-time tackles leader with just under 3:25 remaining in the third quarter and the game tied at 18-18. The senior co-captain combined with Nick Cefalo to wrap up Keith McBride (17 rushes-75 yards) on an eight-yard rush at UNH's 38. Five plays later, W&M kicker John Carpenter missed wide left on a 46-yard field-goal attempt, preserving the deadlock.
William & Mary third-string quarterback Michael Graham, who replaced injured starter Brent Caprio (5 of 5, 47 yards, TD) late in the first half, went 13-for-25 for 167 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Mikal Abdul-Saboor carried 16 times for 87 yards and added four catches for 47 yards to pace the Tribe's offense.
With UNH trailing 7-3, Steriti scored on an 18-yard run with 5:20 remaining in the second quarter to cap a nine-play, 92-yard drive. Andy Vailas (11 rushes-53 yards) connected with Harold Spears on the two-point conversion to stake UNH to its first lead, 11-7.
New Hampshire increased the lead to 18-7 with 16 seconds left in the opening half when Goldrich called his own number for a two-yard score.
Carpenter's 23-yard field goal sliced UNH's lead to 18-10 with 9:20 left in the third, and Tre McBride (four catches-72 yards, two TDs) hauled in a 19-yard pass for his second touchdown catch of the contest with 4:06 left in the period. He was then on the receiving end of Graham's two-point conversion pass to knot the score, 18-18.
Mike MacArthur broke the tie on a 24-yard field goal with 11:22 left in the fourth quarter to give the Wildcats a 21-18 lead.
The Tribe answered with a go-ahead, 13-play, 78-yard drive that concluded with Graham's one-yard keeper on 4th-and-goal for a 25-21 lead with 6:00 to go.
Steriti's second scoring run, a 19-yard rush, proved to be the game-winning score with 4:14 left to conclude a six-play, 84-yard drive and put the 'Cats on top, 28-25. One play earlier, Goldrich hit Joey Orlando (eight catches-94 yards) on a 32-yard pass –the longest pass of the game- down the left sideline.
Keith Parkinson snuffed out the College's next drive when he recorded his first career interception on Graham's 2nd-and-5 pass at the Wildcats' 22 with 1:52 remaining in the contest.
The Tribe's final drive ended on Graham's Hail Mary incompletion from midfield as time expired.
Caprio's 30-yard TD pass to Tre McBride allowed William & Mary to take a 7-0 lead at 4:12 of the first quarter.
MacArthur got UNH on the board with a 23-yard field goal with 13:45 left in the first to make the score 7-3.
UNH-W&M ALL-TIME SERIES (TRIBE LEADS, 13-3): Last season's win was the first for the Wildcats against the Tribe in the Sean McDonnell Era; it snapped a nine-game skid in the series, which the College still leads, 13-3. UNH has not knocked off W&M in back-to-back seasons since 1997-98.
The Wildcats' last victory over the Tribe at Zable Stadium was by a score of 31-19 on Oct. 24, 1998. UNH RB Jerry Azumah, who went on to an NFL career as a defensive back for the Chicago Bears, carried the ball 33 times for 235 yards and a TD, becoming the all-time career rushing leader in I-AA (now FCS) football. He added an 82-yard kickoff return for a TD.
SCOUTING THE TRIBE: The College of William and Mary enters Saturday's game with a 5-3 overall record after defeating James Madison University last week, 17-7. After giving up a second quarter touchdown, junior kicker John Carpenter kicked a field goal to pull W&M to within four points at halftime. The Tribe held the Dukes scoreless in the second half while scoring two touchdowns of their own, the final one coming on a 90-yard interception return by sophomore safety Jared Velasquez to clinch the game.
William and Mary is 2-2 against CAA teams this season, but is undefeated overall at home (4-0). This year, the Tribe ranks first in the CAA in both scoring defense and total defense, only allowing an average of 14 points and 302.2 yards per game. However they rank last in the conference in total offense, averaging only 323.5 yards.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior defensive lineman Mike Reilly ranks first in the CAA in both sacks (6.5) and fumbles forced (4). He also leads the Tribe's linemen in tackles (28). Junior wide receivers Tre McBride and Sean Ballard are eighth and tenth in the conference in receiving yards per game this season (62.8 and 58.9). They have combined for 5 touchdowns on the year. Senior safety Jerome Couplin ranks fourth in the CAA in tackles (75). He has also forced 2 fumbles for W&M this season.
UNH IN THE CAA: UNH is among the best in the league in four offensive categories with a No. 2 rank in both scoring offense (35.4 points/game) and red zone offense (87.5%) with 22 TDs and six field goals in 32 trips inside the 20 as well as No. 3 in rushing offense (228.3 yards/game) and total offense (460.0 yards/game). UNH is second in the CAA in turnover margin (+2).
NATIONAL NUMBERS: UNH is ranked in the top 25 in five national statistics – No. 7 least penalized (34.6 yards/game); No. 18 rush offense, No. 20 total offense, No. 22 red zone offense and No. 24 scoring offense.
OCTOBER: UNH went 3-1 in October and closed the month with three consecutive wins. Nico Steriti was the top rusher with 63 carries for 327 yards (5.2 yards/carry) and three TDs. Sean Goldrich had a 153.53 pass efficiency rating by completing 60 of 92 attempts (65.2%) for 716 yards and seven TDs with just one interception. Justin Mello was the top target through the air with 23 catches for 281 yards and five touchdowns.
NOVEMBER: New Hampshire has not had a losing record in November since 2007, when the 'Cats went 1-3 (including a postseason loss). UNH had winning marks in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, and went 1-1 last November.
MELLO: Senior wide receiver Justin Mello recorded career highs in receptions (eight) and touchdowns (three) last week at Stony Brook. He also finished with 110 receiving yards, which is seven less than his personal best established in the season opener at Central Michigan.
GOLDRICH: Sophomore quarterback Sean Goldrich threw for a season-high three TDs last weekend at Stony Brook.
EDMONDS: Sophomore defensive back Lamar Edmonds recorded a career-high eight tackles and his first career interception last week at Stony Brook. His third-quarter interception gave the 'Cats possession at the SBU 35 and led to a 33-yard field goal that gave New Hampshire a 19-6 lead at 7:03.
DEFENSIVE CLAMPS: UNH's defense forced three turnovers (two interceptions, one fumble) last week at Stony Brook, which tied the season high established Oct. 5 at Towson and matched Oct. 12 vs. Rhode Island. The Wildcats limited Stony Brook to 286 yards of offense to mark the second-lowest total by an opponent in 2013; the 'Cats held Colgate to 278 yards in the Sept. 14 home opener.
CLEAN LIVING: New Hampshire was called for just three penalties for 15 yards last weekend at Stony Brook. The past three weeks, UNH has been penalized 4 times for 25 yards, and that included no penalties Oct. 19 against Villanova. UNH is the second-least penalized team in the CAA (34.6 yards/game) as well as No. 7 in the nation.
SEASON HIGHS: Nico Steriti's 19 rushes last week at Stony Brook is a season high by any Wildcat in 2013. Justin Mello's eight receptions at SBU tied the season high set by R.J. Harris at Towson (Oct. 5).