PHILADELPHIA--University of New Hampshire quarterback Ricky Santos (Bellingham, Mass.) and senior teammate and strong safety Baron Flenory (Pittsburgh, Pa.) were both honored by the Atlantic 10 Football Conference for their outstanding efforts in UNH's 45-17 victory over No. 38 ranked Villanova on Oct. 1. Santos was named the Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Week and Flenory earned Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Santos, who is listed as one of the 16 top candidates to win the Walter Payton Award, completed 28 of 33 pass attempts for 371 yards and five touchdowns in the victory. He was very effective early in the contest as he completed his first 10 passes for 142 yards and a pair of TDs. During that stretch he connected with five different receivers. Santos helped UNH to score touchdowns on five of its first eight possessions and the offense racked up a grand total of 572 yards in the game, with 201 rushing yards and 371 through the air. Santos completed three of his touchdown passes to junior wide receiver David Ball (Orange, Vt.). The first was a 66-yard version of the "Flea-Flicker" where, on UNH's first play from scrimmage, Santos threw a backwards pass to redshirt freshman receiver Mike Boyle (Plymouth, N.H.), who then flipped the football back to Santos, who found Ball wide open down the center of the football field.
Looking at the season numbers for Santos, he has completed 107 of 145 passes for an eye-popping completion percentage of 73.8. He also checks in with 1,396 passing yards in just four games played for an average of 349 yards per contest, and he has passed for 12 TDs, while running for three more.
In the post-game press conference Flenory said that he and the rest of the defense have a goal ,and that is to get the football back in Santos's hands as quickly as possible. Flenory got the job done as he single-handedly grabbed an interception and returned it 11 yards, forced a fumble, came up with a sack for a loss of six yards, recorded two tackles for a loss of seven yards and he was second on the team in overall tackles with 12 on the afternoon (9 solo).
Flenory is now leading UNH with three interceptions and is fourth on the squad in tackles with 29.
Thanks in part to the hard-hitting Flenory, the UNH defense has not given up more than 21 points so far this season and has only allowed an average of 17.8 ppg. after four games played. UNH held UC Davis to a season-low 13 points.
Santos and the UNH offense are averaging well above 17.8 ppg. with a mark of 173 total points, good for an average of 43.25 ppg. Over the last three games played, UNH has scored 156 points for an average of 52.0 ppg.
UNH is not off to its best start since the 2000 campaign when the team opened with a 4-0 record. The last time the Wildcats opened 5-0 or better was back in 1977 when UNH opened with seven consecutive victories.
The No. 1 ranked Wildcats will return to action on Sat., Oct. 8, when the squad travels to play at No. 16 William & Mary. Game time is 1 p.m.