The University of New Hampshire football team gathered in their lockerroom on Sunday afternoon to watch the 2006 NCAA Football Division I Championship selection show on ESPNews and discovered they would be traveling to Hampton University for their first-round matchup on Sat., Nov. 25 at Armstrong Stadium. Game time is tentatively set for 1 p.m. Hampton, ranked ninth in the Sports Network poll last week, enters the playoffs with a 10-1 record and the Pirates were crowned champions of the  Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).  Hampton and UNH have met twice on the football field during their all-time histories and UNH leads the series by a 2-0 margin. Both games were season-openers for the Wildcats, who won 31-17 in Virginia in 2000 and were victorious in Durham in 2001, 45-29.  UNH was ranked 10th in the nation this past week, is 8-3 overall, and is coming off a key 19-13 overtime victory at No. 22 Maine that propelled the Wildcats into the playoffs.  This marks the third straight year that UNH has received a bid to the tournament.

DAVID BALL CHASING A LEGEND: JERRY RICE.  BALL TIES RICE IN 100 YD PERFORMANCES AND IS ALL-TIME NCAA LEADER IN TD CATCHES WITH 56: Senior wide receiver David Ball (Orange, Vt.) could not be happier that he has broken the all-time TD reception record. He received the game ball after scoring on a 1 yard TD pass from junior quarterback Ricky Santos at 9:26 of the third quarter of the Richmond game to lead UNH to its first lead and the eventual victory, 27-17. He even had the opportunity to be interviewed by NFL Legend Jerry Rice, who completed his I-AA collegiate career at Mississippi Valley State where he grabbed 50 career TD passes. Ball has been featured in many national publications such as "Sports Ilustrated", "The New York Times", and "USA Today" among many others. He presently has 56 career touchdown catches and recently tied Jerry Rice's total for number of career games with at least one TD (27). The all-time NCAA record is 29 by Eric Kimble of Eastern Washington. He also is tied with Rice for the NCAA mark for 100 yard receiving performances with 23. after posting 112 yds at Rhode Island.

WILDCATS EARN A BID TO THE I-AA TOURNAMENT FOR THE THIRD STRAIGHT YEAR, FIRST A-10 PROGRAM SINCE DELAWARE (1995-1997) WITH THE TRIFECTA: The University of New Hampshire football team is making its third consecutive appearance at the NCAA I-AA tournament this season and becomes the first Atlantic 10 Football Conference team to accomplish that feat since Delaware did it from 1995 through 1997.

RUN RICKY RUN: Junior running back Ricky Santos (Bellingham, Mass.) has run for 12 touchdowns this season to lead the Wildcats in that category. He is also UNH's second-leading rusher with 126 carries for 391 yards so far this season.

RICKY SANTOS CLOSES IN ON 10,000 PASSING YARDS AS JUST A JUNIOR: Junior quarterback Ricky Santos (Bellingham, Mass.) now needs just 204 passing yards to reach the 10,000 yard passing mark in just three seasons played. He is presently UNH's all-time leader in passing yardage with 9,796.

DAVID BALL NEARS 1,000 RECEIVING YARDS. WOULD MARK HIS THIRD STRAIGHT SEASON OVER 1,000.: Senior wide receiver David Ball (Orange, Vt.) now has 990 receiving yards in 2006 and needs just 10 more passing yards to top 1,000 yards for the third consecutive season at UNH.
RICKY SANTOS AND DAVID BALL REMAIN ONTHE "SPORTS NETWORK'S" PAYTON WATCH LIST: Junior quarterback Ricky Santos (Bellingham, Mass.) and senior wide receiver David Ball (Orange, Vt.) were both named to "The Sports Network's" Walter Payton Award Watch List during the week of Oct. 14 in continued recognition of their outstanding efforts this year. Both Santos and Ball have been recognized as preseason All-Americans by several media outlets, including: "The Sports Network", "Street & Smith's, "Lindy's" and "I-AA. org". In last year's voting for the Walter Payton Award, Santos finished second in , just five points behind first place for the closest margin ever, while Ball finished seventh overall in the voting. 

CONGRATULATIONS UNH SENIORS: The University of New Hampshire football team honored 16 seniors prior to the start of the Wildcats' final home game vs. Massachusetts. Here's a look at UNH's outstanding senior class:
WR David Ball
WR Aaron Brown
SS Christian Callison
DE Cory Dix
DB Corey Graham
P/WR Matt Henry
LB Muji Karim
FS Terrell Lewis
WR Evan Loring
TE Sean Lynch
DB Will Morey
OL Tucker Peterson
DL Brendan St. Peter
SS A.J. Snook
DL Dan Wagner
OL Will Yarborough
WILL MOREY NAMED A-10 DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK FOR EFFOTS IN 19-13 OT WIN AT MAINE: Senior defensive back Will Morey (Bridgewater, Mass.) made the play of his collegiate football career for the University of New Hampshire on Nov. 18 in UNH’s 19-13 victory over No. 22-ranked Maine, and as a result he earned Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Week honors.  The game was tied 13-13 and the Black Bears were driving with under a minute left to play. All Maine needed was a field goal or a touchdown to win the game in regulation time and crush UNH’s hope for a spot in the playoffs. It looked as though Maine was poised to score but Morey outran everyone to catch an overthrown ball on UNH’s own 10-yard line with just 29 seconds remaining in regulation. UNH took a knee to send the contest to overtime and the Wildcats went on to win it 19-13 thanks to a 6-yard touchdown run by freshman running back Chad Kackert (Simi Valley, Calif.).  Morey, who has seen additional playing time as a starter following the season-ending injury to All-Conference performer and senior Corey Graham (Buffalo, N.Y.), also had seven tackles on the afternoon.

SANTOS AND KACKERT RECEIVE ATLANTIC 10 HONORS FOR STRONG EFFORTS IN 63-21 VICTORY OVER URI: Junior quarterback Ricky Santos (Bellingham, Mass.) and redshirt freshman running back Chad Kackert (Simi Valley, Calif.) were both honored on Sunday by the Atlantic 10 Football Conference for their outstanding efforts in UNH’s victory at Rhode Island on Nov. 11.  Santos was named Offensive Player of the Week for the third time this season and the 10th time in his career after accounting for five touchdowns in the contest, three on the ground and two through the air. He ran for 4, 8 and 2 yard TDs and passed for a pair of TDs to junior wide receiver Keith LeVan (Waltham, Mass.) of 18 and 13 yards. Santos completed 23-of-32 passes for 271 yards and carried the football 12 times for 40 yards as well. Santos now has 93 career touchdown passes in 36 games played. Kackert, who has emerged as UNH’s top rusher this season with 441 yards and three TDs, was named that Atlantic 10’s Rookie of the Week after compiling a career-high 228 all-purpose yards and scoring a touchdown in UNH’s key victory at Rhode Island. He recorded six carries for a team-high 82 yards, including a 4 yard scoring run. He also returned four kickoffs for 106 yards and had a reception for 40 yards. Two of his best runs set up TD runs for junior running back Chris Ward (Waltham, Mass.).

UNH IN THE ZONE IN THE RED ZONE:  The UNH offense continues to be outstanding when it comes to scoring from inside the red zone. UNH is now 46-55 in 11 games played. Here's a look at what the UNH offense has done from inside the red zone game-by game.

1. at Northwestern (5-5)
2. Stony Brook (7-7)
3. at Dartmouth (5-5)
4. at Delaware (4-4)
5. Richmond (3-4)
6. James Madison (4-4)
7. at Northeastern (2-6)
8. Hofstra (1-2) (in heavy rain and wind)
9. Massachusetts (3-4)
10. at Rhode Island (9-10)
11. at Maine (3-4)
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