Santos throws for five TDs, runs for another
DURHAM, N.H. -- Ricky Santos (Bellingham, Mass.) completed 25 of 26 pass attempts for 306 yards and five touchdowns, and also ran for another TD, to lead the fifth-ranked University of New Hampshire football team to Saturday afternoon's 52-21 Atlantic 10 victory against Northeastern University at Cowell Stadium.
UNH, which scored a touchdown on its initial five possessions and Wildcats outgained Northeastern 298-104 yards in the first half to build a 42-7 halftime lead, improved to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in Atlantic 10. NU is now 1-6, 1-4.
Santos tied the school record for touchdowns in a game (six) and ascended to No. 3 on New Hampshire's career passing yards list (5,478) by surpassing both Jim Stayer (5,349) and Matt Griffin (5,425). He also passed Stayer for No. 4 in career completions with 426. David Ball (Orange, Vt.) caught six passes for 110 yards and one touchdown to move past Stephan Lewis into fourth place in career receptions with 165.
Santos, who completed his last 24 pass attempts, opened the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run at 12:50 of the first quarter. NU tied the game on a 13-play, 66-yard drive that culminated on an Anthony Orio to Bobby French five-yard pass play at 6:24.
The 'Cats needed just 1:34 to reclaim the lead, 14-7, on a four-yard pass play from Santos to Jon Williams (Rochester, N.Y.) and extended the advantage to 21-7 and on 10-yard reception by Sean Lynch (Salem, N.H.) with seven seconds remaining in the opening quarter.
Second-quarter strikes from Santos to John McCoy (Groton, Conn.; 21 yards), Ball (six yards) and Keith LeVan (Waltham, Mass.; seven yards) put UNH in front 42-7.
Williams finished with 69 yards on seven receptions and LeVan caught five passes for 58 yards. McCoy was UNH's leading rusher with 62 yards on seven carries.
NU's offense was led on the ground by Maurice Murray, who gained 81 of his 136 rushing yards in the second half. Orio finished 6-for-14 for 30 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. John Sperrazza entered the game in the third quarter and went 5 of 6 for 75 yards and a pair of fourth-quarter TD passes.
UNH's third-quarter points came on a nine-yard rush by Chris Ward (Waltham, Mass.) and a 28-yard field goal by Ben Wardrop (Lebanon, N.H.) NU scored in the fourth quarter on an 11-yard reception by Cory Parks and a 22-yard pass play to Christopher Plum as time expired.
New Hampshire returns to action Oct. 29 (12 p.m.) at the University of Massachusetts. The next Wildcat home game is Nov. 12 vs. Iona. Game time at Cowell Stadium is 12 p.m.