FOOTBALL UPSETS BALL STATE, 23-16, CAPTURES FIFTH-STRAIGHT WIN OVER FBS FOE
MUNCIE, IND. -- The No. 9 ranked University of
New Hampshire football team, led by the outstanding play of its
defense and the fine running of junior running back Sean
Jellison (Amherst, N.H.) (two TDS) helped lead the
Wildcats (2-0) to an impressive 23-16 victory over FBS team Ball
State, 23-16 at Scheumann Stadium Saturday night.
The victory marks UNH’s fifth straight over an FBS opponent as the Wildcats defeated Army in 2008, Marshall in 2007, Northwestern in 2006 and Rutgers in 2004. It also marked the fourth victory over an FBS team by Colonial Athletic Association teams this season. The Cardinals, which fall to 0-2 after the upset, finished the 2008 regular season a perfect 12-0 and played in the GMAC Bowl.
New Hampshire was clinging to a 23-16 lead in the final minutes as the Cardinals drove the ball down to the UNH 20 yard line. The Wildcat defense came up with two sacks and a forced fumble to end Ball State’s final drive. Junior linebacker Devon Jackson (Williamstown, N.J.), who had a team-high eight tackles, caused a Cardinal fumble and although Ball State recovered, the ball went over on downs to the Wildcats on the 35 yard line with 2:40 to play in the contest. R.J. Toman (Mission Viejo, Calif.) ran 17 yards to give UNH a first down and keep the clock running down the stretch and allowed the 'Cats to secure victory.
Freshman Ball State quarterback Kelly Page completed a 21 yard TD to wide receiver Seth White with 8:50 to go in the contest which cut the Wildcat lead to just 23-16 after the made PAT by Ian McGarvey.
Junior safety Hugo Souza (Marshfield, Mass.) recoved a fumble forced by senior linebacker Sean Ware (Bristol, Conn.) on the Ball State 7 yard line after the play was reviewed. On the next play Toman pitched to Jellison late and he carried the football eight yards for the Wildcats’ third TD of the game at 3:47 of the third quarter to give UNH a 23-9 lead after the PAT by Manning.
On the ensuing kick, the ball was fumbled by Eric Williams and recovered by UNH redshirt freshman Tyler Sargent (Fairview, Pa.) at the Ball State 10 yard line, but penalties and miscues pushed the UNH offense back to the 50 yard line and out of field goal range. At the end of the third quarter, the UNH defense held Ball State’s offense to just 58 yards on 40 plays.
McGarvey opened the third quarter with his third field goal of the game, a 37 yarder, that cut the UNH lead to 16-9 with 11:12 left in the third quarter after 50 yard kick return gave Ball State good field position once again.
Offensively, Jellison had 22 carries for 55 yards and a pair of scores, Toman completed 21-35 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 51 on 16 carries. Freshman wide out Joey Orlando (Bethlehem, Pa.) announced his presense with a team-high four catches for 70 yards and his first career touchdown.
Defensively, the Wildcats allowed just 127 yards of total offense and held one of the nation's elite running backs MiQuale Lewis to just 24 yards on 14 carries.
UNH opened the game with a three-and-out on its opening possession and Ball State immediately took over on the UNH 38 yard line. After three plays by the Cardinals, that led to a 48 yard field goal by Ian McGarvey and the Cardinals quickly took a 3-0 lead with 12:42 to play in the first quarter.
On the second UNH drive, the Wildcats were forced to punt again but it was blocked and Ball State started its second drive on UNH’ s 33 yard line. The UNH defense held again forcing another field goal, this time a 47 yarder by McGarvey and Ball State built up a 6-0 advantage with 9:25 to play in the first quarter.
After the first half, the UNH defense’s worst enemy was Ball State’s good field position, as the D held Ball State to just 31 yards of offense, while the Wildcats compiled 101 yards on 25 plays.
After a fantastic punt by Ryan Glasgow (Bedford, N.H.) that pinned Ball State on its own 1 yard line, the UNH recorded a safety and got on the scoreboard with 13:50 of the second quarter and cutting the Cardinal lead to four, 6-2.
UNH took the lead on a 5-play, 52-yard drive that was capped by a nice 26 yard TD pass by Toman to Orlando and UNH was up 9-6 with 9:36 to play in the first half after the Tom Manning (Rome, N.Y.) kicked extra point. It was the first touchdown catch of Orlando’s career at UNH.
The Wildcat defense was fantastic in the first half, holding Ball State to just 27 yards of offense on 24 plays and no touchdowns and held Ball State all-conference running back MiQuale Lewis to just 21 yards rushing on nine carries and the Cardinals were just 1 of 7 on third down conversions.Meanwhile the UNH offense compiled 240 yards of total offense on 46 plays and had 16 first downs to BSU’s six.
The Wildcats opened up a 10 point lead with 3:16 remaining before the half on an impressive 5 yard TD run off a pitch from Toman that gave the Wildcats more momentum and a 16-6 advantage after the Manning PAT.
The Wildcats are off next week and will return to action on Sat., Sept. 26 vs. Dartmouth. Game time is 12 p.m. at Cowell Stadium and tickets are available online at www.unhwildcats.com.