November 22, 2009

FOOTBALL TO BATTLE McNEESE STATE IN FIRST ROUND OF NCAA DIVISION I CHAMPIONSHIP ON NOV. 28 IN LAKE CHARLES, LA.

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DURHAM, N.H.— The 10th-ranked University of New Hampshire football team will be making its sixth straight appearance in the NCAA Division I Championships when it travels to play No. 8 McNeese State in a first-round matchup on Sat., Nov. 28. Game time is at 2 p.m. central time and the contest will be played at Cowboy Stadium in Lake Charles, La.

The Wildcats (9-2), who won the Colonial Athletic Association North Division title, will be playing McNeese (9-2) for the first time in the program’s history. McNeese has enjoyed a highly-successful campaign in 2009, winning six straight contests to close out the regular season. The Cowboys also won their first three games, including a very impressive 40-35 victory over then No. 2-ranked Appalachian State. The only losses for the Cowboys were at FBS Tulane (42-32) and at Stephen F. Austin (16-13). McNeese is a member of the Southland Conference and the school has won a record 13 Southland Conference titles. The team is coached by fourth-year mentor Matt Viator, a 1986 graduate of McNeese.

UNH has moved on to play in the NCAA FCS quarterfinals in four of the last five seasons. In 2008, the Wildcats defeated Southern Illinois, 29-20, in first round action in Carbondale. However, the 'Cats ran into playoff nemesis Northern Iowa and were defeated in the UNI Dome, 36-34. UNH's current streak of six consecutive NCAA appearances is third-best in FCS, behind only Montana and Southern Illinois.  The Wildcats enter the NCAA Division I Championship Playoffs with an overall playoff record of 4-7. In 2007, UNH was defeated at No. 1 seed Northern Iowa in the first round (38-35), after the Panthers came back to win on a late TD pass. In 2006, UNH posted a victory over Hampton (41-38) in the first round and lost to Massachusetts in the quarterfinals (24-17). In 2005, UNH lost to UNI in the quarterfinals at Cowell Stadium (24-21) and the Wildcats defeated Colgate in Durham in the first round (55-21). In 2004, UNH won at Georgia Southern (27-23) and was defeated at Montana in the quarterfinals (47-17). UNH also lost in the first round of the NCAAs to Appalachian State in 1994 (17-10 OT) and lost to Samford in the first round in 1991 (29-13).

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