PISCATAWAY, N.J.-- Redshirt freshman quarterback Ricky Santos (Bellingham,
Mass.) led the University of New Hampshire football team to one of the biggest
victories in the 108-year history of the program as he passed for a
school-record five touchdowns and 385 yards in the 19th-ranked Wildcats' 35-24
victory over Big East foe Rutgers University on Saturday night at Rutgers
The win is the first for the Wildcats vs. a Division I-A team since the NCAA split into Division I-A and Division I-AA in the late 1970's. UNH, which opened the 2004 season with a 24-21 road victory against Div. I-AA national champion Delaware one week earlier, improved to 2-0 on the season. Rutgers drops to 1-1 on the year.
Sophomore wide receiver David Ball (Orange, Vt.) and Santos, who completed 30 of 40 pass attempts, were a two-man wrecking crew for the Wildcats as they connected for two TDs. Ball finished with nine catches for a career-high 132 yards.
Trailing 24-14 at the half, UNH pulled within 24-21 on a 10-yard Santos to Ball connection at 10:36 of the third quarter and then took a lead they would not relinquish on another Santos to Ball strike of 24 yards at 2:11 of the third quarter.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Will Morey (Bridgewater, Mass.) recovered a muffed punt at the Rutgers' 15 -yard line to set up Santos' fifth touchdown pass of the game, a 21-yard completion to senior wide receiver Shaun Diner (Montreal, Que.) at 6:04 that extended the Wildcat lead to 35-24. Junior defensive back Etienne Boulay (Montreal, Que.) sealed the win for the 'Cats with an interception in the end zone with 1:44 to play. Junior running back John McCoy (Groton, Conn.), who led the team with 42 yards rushing on eight carries, ran out the clock on the ensuing UNH possession.
UNH got on the board first with 8:28 remaining in the first quarter when Santos hooked up with David Bailey (Bronx, N.Y.) on a 53-yard pass play to give the Wildcats an early 7-0 lead.
After Rutgers tied the game 7-7 late in the first quarter, UNH regained the lead at 9:11 of the second quarter when Santos found sophomore wide receiver Aaron Brown (Central Square, N.Y.) for a three-yard scoring play.
UNH plays its home opener on Saturday, Sept. 18th against William & Mary. Kick off for the Hall of Fame game is 12 p.m. at Cowell Stadium.