WILDCATS LOOKING TO REBOUND VS. HOFSTRA FOLLOWING FIRST LOSS OF THE SEASON AT UMASS: While head coach Sean McDonnell noted that UMass was talented and played very well to defeat UNH last week (23-17), he also told his team that they need to play cleaner and that there is still much to work on to get better. That's what the Wildcats will be looking at this week as they prepare for yet another talented CAA football team on the road in Hofstra. The Pride has already defeated James Madison and Rhode Island this season in conference play. UNH's defense continued to get the job done, holding UMass to just 23 points and coming up with several big plays, including two big interceptions by senior linebacker Terrence Klein. The defense also featured senior linebacker Sean Ware and junior corner Dino Vasso, who each had 14 tackles apiece. Offensively, Scott Sicko continues to step up as a leader at tight end after making 10 catches for 145 yards and scoring twice for the 'Cats. However, UNH is looking for more from its running game, which compiled only 72 yards vs. a tough UMass defensive front. At quarterback, R.J. Toman returned after first suffering a "Turf Toe" injury and then more recently an ankle sprain, but he played the entire game and even ran the ball seven times for 29 yards. He passed for two touchdowns on the afternoon to his favorite target, Sicko.
SCOUTING HOFSTRA: Hofstra has been an interesting team in the conference this year as they have posted an impressive win over the likes of James Madison (24-17), but lost on the road to a very tough Richmond squad (47-0). The squad has also posted wins over the Stony Brook (17-10), Bryant (40-24) and is coming off an impressive CAA victory at Rhode Island (28-16). The team is coached by third-year head coach Dave Cohen, a 1988 C.W. Post grad, who enters the game with a 17-24 record while in Hempstead. As a team, Hofstra has been averaging 19 ppg. this season and has holding its opponents to 22.0 ppg. In terms of yardage, The Pride has been moving the ball at a 357.6 yards per game clip while holding opponents to a mark of 309.0 yards per contest. On offense, Hofstra is led by quarterback Cory Christopher, who has passed for 7 touchdowns this season with his favorite targets being Aaron Weaver and Anthony Nelson (2 TDs apiece in 2009). The running game is primarily handled by Miguel Maysonet who has 48 carries for 259 yards and a pair of TDs. On the defensive side, Hofstra has a sensational linebacker in Luke Bonus, who leads the squad with 53 tackles on the year (34-19-53) and the team has received outstanding tackle production from Hasim Hudeen and his 52 tackles (35-17-52). Johnny Hartsfield has been disruptive to opponent offenses this season with a team-high 2.5 quarterback sacks in 2009 and Ray McDonough leads the team in fumbles recovered this season with 2.0. Hudeen also leads the team in tackles for a loss with a mark of 5.5 for a loss of 16 yards.
HE ALL-TIME SERIES VS.
HOFSTRA: The all-time series between UNH and Hofstra stands
at 7-5-0 in favor of the Wildcats and the series began back in 1991
with UNH winning that initial meeting by a 48-28 margin. The
Wildcats won last year's game (45-25) and won 40-3 in 2007, 10-6 in
2006, 29-26 in 2005, 33-27 in 2004, and 27-22 in 2003 for six
straight victories over The Pride. The last time Hofstra
defeated the Wildcats was back in the 2002 season in Durham,
52-28. The last time Hofstra defeated UNH in Hempstead was in
2001, 35-20. UNH's most recent win on the road against The Pride
was in 2007, 40-3.
A LOOK AT THE CAA STANDINGS: UNH is now tied for first place in the CAA North Division with Massachusetts as both teams check in with 2-1 marks in the conference. Hoftra, UNH's opponent this week , is just one loss behind with a 2-2 mark in the CAA.
NORTH DIVISION CAA OVERALL
New Hampshire 2-1 5-1
Massachusetts 2-1 4-2
Hofstra 2-2 4-3
Maine 2-2 3-4
Rhode Island 0-3 1-5
Northeastern 0-3 0-6
SOUTH DIVISION CAA OVERALL
Richmond 4-0 6-0
Villanova 3-1 6-1
William & Mary 2-1 5-1
Delaware 3-2 5-2
Towson 1-2 2-4
James Madison 0-3 2-4
UNH SUFFERS FIRST LOSS OF THE SEASON AT UMASS (23-17):
AMHERST, MASS.— Jon Hernandez rushed 42 yards for a touchdown with 5:23 to play in the game and carried the football 29 times for 166 yards to lead No. 18 Massachusetts to a 23-17 vcitory over the No. 4 University of New Hampshire on Saturday evening at McGuirk Stadium in a key Colonial Athletic Association matchup. He was also the winner of Bill Knight Trophy as the MVP of the contest. An interception by senior linebacker Terrance Klein (Westwood, N.J.) gave UNH (5-1, 2-1 CAA) the football on the UMass 40 yard line with 6:18 to play in the third quarter for good field position. Seven plays and 22 yards later, senior kicker Tom Manning (Rome, N.Y.) lined up for a 35 yard field goal with 4:00 left to play in the third quarter and the game was tied 10-10 after it went through the uprights. Klein made his second interception of the game and fourth of the season, giving UNH the football on the UNH 44 yard line with 1:03 left in the third quarter. UNH drove to the UMass 11 yard line on a 31 yard pass play from junior quarterback R.J. Toman (Mission Viejo, Calif.) to a wide open senior running back Chad Kackert (Simi Valley, Calif.) on the right sideline to get into the red zone. A few plays later Toman connected with Sicko again in the endzone for their second TD of the day, this time for 6 yards at 12:48 of the fourth quarter to give the Wildcats a narrow 17-10 lead. With 7:21 left in the game, UMass kicker Armando Cuko booted a 36 yard field goal, his second of the day, to cut the UNH lead to 17-13 as the UNH defense held UMass (4-2, 2-1 CAA) out of the endzone. However, that’s when UMass’s Hernandez broke a huge 42 yard touchdown run with 5:23 to play in the game and with the PAT the Minutemen grabbed the 20-17 lead it would never relinquish. With 1:31 left n the fourth quarter Cuko added his third field goal of the day from 41 yards and UMass led 23-17 with 1:26 left on the clock. UNH had one final drive but that ended with an interception in the end zone as time ran out. After the UNH defense held and forced a UMass punt on the opening drive to start the game, the Wildcat offense put points on the board quickly with a beautiful pass and catch by Toman to senior tight end Scott Sicko (Stillwater, N.Y.) for a 58 yard TD strike and after the PAT the Wildcats led 7-0 with 8:26 to play in the first quarter. The drive went 91 yards on seven plays, taking 3:08 off of the clock. UMass kicker Armando Cuko connected on a 31-yard field goal at 11:42 of the second quarter cutting the Wildcat lead to 7-3 with 11:42 remaining before the intermission. UMass took the lead with 1:17 to play in the first half after a 10 yard pass by quarterback Kyle Havens to wide receiver Julian Talley to give the home team a 10-7 advantage after the PAT by Cuko and that was the score at the half. UMass outgained the Wildcats by a 154-142 margin in the first half. Neither team was able to run with the ball against stingy defenses, as UNH had only 29 yards on 13 carries and the Minutemen had 40 yards on 21 carries through two quarters. Looking at the final stats for the Wildcats, UNH was led by Toman who completed 23 of 45 passes for 284 yards and 2 TDs and by Sicko with his 10 catches for 145 yards and two TD catches. The UNH defense was led by junior corner Dino Vasso (Crum Lynne, Pa.) and by senior linebacker Sean Ware (Bristol, Conn.), each with 14 tackles.
A LOOK BACK AT LAST SEASON'S VICTORY OVER HOFSTRA IN DURHAM: DURHAM, N.H. – The defense forced seven turnovers, including two interception returns for touchdowns by John Clements and Dino Vasso, to propel the ninth-ranked University of New Hampshire football team to Saturday afternoon’s 45-25 victory against Hofstra University in CAA action at Cowell Stadium. UNH, which compiled 207 interception return yards, won its third consecutive game to improve to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the CAA while Hofstra lost for the third time in as many weeks to fall to 3-6, 1-4. Hofstra capitalized on a UNH fumble – caused and recovered by the Pride’s Luke Bonus – to set up a 45-yard field goal by Roger Williams to take a 3-0 lead at 12:46 of the first quarter. On the visitor’s next possession, a bad exchange by The Pride offense put the ball on the ground and UNH’s John Clements (Hammonton, N.J.) recovered at the HU 38-yard line. The Wildcats did not take advantage, however, as junior running back Sean Jellison (Amherst, N.H.) was short of a first down on a 4th-and-3 play from the HU 31. A Hugo Souza (Marshfield, Mass.) interception gave the Wildcats 1st-and-10 at the HU 19, but the Pride defense turned aside the threat on 3rd-and-goal from the 1-yard line on a Leslie Jackman interception at the goal line. Three plays later, Clements intercepted the ball at the Hofstra 47 and raced along the UNH sideline to the end zone to give UNH a 7-3 lead at 4:46 of the first quarter. In the second quarter junior tight end Scott Sicko (Stillwater, N.Y.) capped a three-play 84 yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown reception, his first of two on the day from junior quarterback R.J. Toman (Mission Viejo, Calif.), at 11:09 to make it 14-3 UNH. However, Hofstra struck again at 5:55 of the second stanza on a 10 yard pass play from freshman Steve Probst to Everette Benjamin and the UNH lead was cut to 14-9 after the PAT.
UNH DEFENSE RANKED NO. 1 IN THE NATION (FCS) IN TURNOVER MARGIN: The University of New Hampshire football team is presently ranked No. 1 in the nation among all FCS teams in turnover margin with a mark of 2.17. Looking at what the defense has done this season, it has come up with eight fumble recoveries and 13 interceptions for a total of 21 turnovers gained, while UNH has lost just one fumble this season and has had seven intercepted passes for a mark of just 8 turnovers lost.
UNH ARGUABLY THE TOP DEFENSE IN THE CAA ACCORDING TO KEY DEFENSIVE STATISTICAL CATEGORIES: The UNH football team is ranked No. 1 among CAA teams in several key statistical categories this season, making it arguably the top defense in the conference. UNH is ranked No. 1 among CAA teams in pass efficiency defense (86.70), total defense (260.50) ypg.), and turnover margin (2.17).
UNH LEADS THE CAA IN BOTH SCORING OFFENSE AND SCORING DEFENSE: If you can score more than other teams and keep other teams from scoring more than you then you will win football games. UNH is doing just that as the top CAA team in scoring with an impressive average of 32.17 ppg., while also leading the conference in scoring defense vs. opponents with an average of just 13.71 ppg. given up.
A LOOK AT WHAT THE UNH DEFENSE HAS DONE SO FAR IN 2009, GAME-BY-GAME: The No. 9 ranked (FCS) UNH defense has done a great job of holding teams to low yardages in 2009. Here's a look game-by-game at opponent yardage totals. UNH is allowing just 260.50 ypg this season:
St. Francis 14 points 198 yards
Ball State 16 points 127 yards
Dartmouth 14 points 314 yards
Towson 7 points 201 yards
Villanova 24 points 352 yards
UMass 23 points 371 yards
A LOOK AT UNH'S IMPROVEMENT GAME-BY GAME OFFENSIVELY: The UNH offense continues to score more and move the ball better in 2009. Here's a look at what the team has done in terms of yards and scoring in 2009.
St. Francis 24 points 277 yards
Ball State 23 points 212 yards
Dartmouth 44 points 259 yards
Towson 57 points 285 yards
Villanova 28 points 368 yards
Massachusetts 17 points 356 yards
SENIOR RUNNING BACK CHAD KACKERT MOVES INTO 10TH PLACE ON UNH'S ALL-TIME CAREER RUSHING LISTING: Senior running back Chad Kackert is finally playing healthy after suffering a hamstring injury in the preseason and he is quickly moving up UNH's all-time career rushing listing. He now has 1,846 rushing yards in his career and moved past Dan Curran to take over the 10th spot. He now needs 103 yards to move into ninth all time at UNH and pass Curt Collins (1980-82).
Here's a look at the UNH career rushing list:
1. Jerry Azumah (1995-98) 6,193
2. Bill Burnham (1974-77) 3,773
3. Stephan Lewis (1999-02) 3,679
4. Norm Ford (1986-89) 3,538
5. Barry Bourassa (1989-92) 3,015
6. Andre Garron (1982-85) 2,901
7. Avrom Smith (1991-94) 2,237
8. Jim Quinn (1979-82) 1,947
9. Curt Collins (1980-82) 1,927
10. Chad Kackert 1,846
ALL-AMERICAN SCOTT SICKO GETTING THE JOB DONE AS A RECEIVER IN LAST TWO GAMES FOR THE 'CATS: After a relatively slow start, senior tight end Scott Sicko has been turning the heat up on opponents. In his last two games vs. Villanova and UMass, he has made 13 catches for 280 yards and three touchdown receptions. He leads the team in receiving this season with 25 catches for 363 yards and four touchdown receptions. He has scored at least a touchdown in each of UNH's last three contests.
LB TERRENCE KLEIN LEADS UNH WITH FOUR INTERCEPTIONS, TYING HIM FOR SEVENTH AMONG THE FCS NATIONAL LEADERS: Senior linebacker Terrence Klein (Westwood, N.J.) is presently tied for seventh among the NCAA FCS leaders so far this season with four interceptions, or .67 interceptions per contest. He had two more, each resulting in a score in the loss at UMass.
SENIOR LINEBACKER AND CO-CAPTAIN SEAN WARE LEADING WILDCATS IN TACKLES AND LEADS THE DEFENSE: Senior linebacker Sean Ware has been racking up the tackles and presently leads UNH in tackles this season (21-26-47). The senior co-captain is also a key leader of the linebacker corps for UNH head coach Sean McDonnell. For his career, Ware has recorded 159 career tackles.