DURHAM, N.H.  –  David Ball (Orange, Vt.) caught nine passes for 60 yards, including a one-yard touchdown reception for the 51st of his career to supplant Jerry Rice as the Div. 1-AA record holder, to highlight the top-ranked University of New Hampshire football team’s 27-17 victory Saturday afternoon against No. 7 University of Richmond at Cowell Stadium.
    In a battle of unbeatens in the Atlantic 10, UNH improved to 5-0 and 2-0 in the conference while the Spiders fell to 4-1, 1-1.
Senior Wide Receiver David Ball salutes the fans at Cowell Stadium on Saturday

    Ball entered the game with 50 career TD receptions, a mark that tied the benchmark established in all of Div. I by Rice in I-AA and Troy Edwards in Div. 1. He gained sole possession of the record at 9:26 of the third quarter when quarterback Ricky Santos (Bellingham, Mass.) capped a 12-play, 64-yard drive with a one-yard pass to Ball to pull the Wildcats within 14-13. The play started with Santos in the shotgun and Ball lined to the left side of the formation, and Santos took a couple of steps to the right before finding Ball, who was cutting across the field, in the center of the end zone.
    The teams then exchanged punts, giving Richmond possession on its 28-yard line. Four plays later, B.J. Ross (Fort Worth, Texas) forced a fumble by UR quarterback Eric Ward, and Muji Karim (Burlington, Vt.) picked up the loose ball at the UNH 40 and ran down the left sideline for a touchdown to give the ‘Cats a 20-14 lead at 1:56 of the third quarter.
    The Spiders responded with a nine-play, 69-yard drive that culminated in a 26-yard field goal by Andrew Howard at 12:23 of the fourth quarter to pull within 20-17.
    UNH then drove methodically down the field in a 12-play drive that featured seven running plays and five pass plays, including the eight-yard strike from Santos to Evan Loring (Chocorua, N.H.) in the left corner of the end zone that gave the ‘Cats their largest lead of the game, 27-17, at 8:07.
    On the ensuing Richmond possession, Ward dropped back to pass in a 3rd-and-22 situation and his pass attempt was intercepted by John Clements (Hammonton, N.J.) at the UR 48. It was Clements’ second interception of the game – he was also credited with two pass breakups – and he tied for the team lead in tackles with 11.
    The ‘Cats were held to a three-and-out to give the Spiders the ball back on their 23-yard-line with 3:33 remaining in the game. UR advanced to the UNH 30, but on a first-down play Dan Wagner (Gibsonia, Pa.) stripped Ward of the football and teammate Brendan St. Peter (Marshfield, Mass.) recovered the fumble to secure the victory, as UNH ran out the remaining 1:37 on three running plays.
    Santos finished the game 25-of-31 for 181 and two touchdowns and also had 20 rushing yards on 16 carries. Chad Kackert (Simi Valley, Calif.) led the Wildcats’ ground game with 66 yards on 16 carries. Keith LeVan (Waltham, Mass.) caught seven passes for a team-high 67 yards.
    UNH’s defense, which forced four turnovers, was led by Clements, Matt Parent (Long Beach, Calif.), Husain Karim (Burlington, Vt.), Corey Graham (Buffalo, N.Y.) and Jeff Pammer (Northampton, Pa.).
    UR’s Ward finished the game 18-of-28 for 218 yards, one TD and two interceptions. Tim Hightower gained 95 yards on 14 carries and he also had seven receptions for 65 yards. Matt Hale caught six passes for 102 yards.
    New Hampshire took a 3-0 lead on the game’s opening drive, when Tom Manning (Rome, N.Y.) kicked a 35-yard field goal attempt between the uprights to cap a nine-play, 48-yard drive at 10:52.
    A 24-yard screen play from Ward to Hightower gave UR a 7-3 lead at 8:22 of the second quarter, then Manning connected on a 48-yard field goal attempt to lift the ‘Cats within 7-6 at 5:10. Josh Vaughan extended the Spiders’ lead to 14-6 at 2:27.
    New Hampshire returns to action Oct. 14 at home vs. James Madison University. Kick off at Cowell Stadium is 12 p.m.
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