November 3, 2009

FOOTBALL GAME DAY (NO. 8 RANKED UNH VS. RHODE ISLAND, NOV. 7, 2009)

CLICK HERE FOR FULL SET OF GAME NOTES IN PDF FORMAT

WILDCATS READY FOR ANOTHER TRADITIONAL RIVALRY GAME VS. RHODE ISLAND AFTER DEFEATING NU, 48-21:I The Wildcats are 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the CAA North, good for first place after defeating Northeastern, 48-21. This week Head Coach Sean McDonnell and the squad turn their attention to Rhode Island for another traditional New England rivalry matchup. The UNH running game was clicking on all cylinders vs. NU as junior running back Chad Kackert ran for a career-high 176 yards and two touchdowns and junior running back Sean Jellison ran for 74 yards and a TD. The Wildcat offense compiled a season-high 281 rushing yards and recorded a season-best mark of 461 total yards in the contest. The UNH defense continues to get the job done with turnovers and stopping the run as the Wildcats held the Huskies to just 149 yards on the ground and linebacker Hugo Souza came up with an interception that led to a field goal. Rhode Island is having a tough season with a 1-7 record overall and is looking for its first CAA victory at 0-5. The Wildcats are in the midst of "Championship Month" and must take care of business to put themselves in the best possible position as they close in on making the NCAA FCS Playoffs. With seven wins there is no guarantee, but eight wins would most likely assure the team of its sixth straight NCAA tournament appearance and another shot at winning a national title in 2009.

SCOUTING RHODE ISLAND:  The Rams are having a very tough season in 2009 and enter the game vs. the Wiildcats with a 1-7 overall record and an 0-5 mark in the CAA. The lone victory of the season for URI came in week one when the Rams battled Fordham and won by a 41-28 margin. Other than that first victory Rhode Island is in the midst of a seven-game losing streak and the squad is giving up an average of 36.7 ppg. during that stretch.  The team has been led in rushing by Ayo Isijola with 63 carries for 291 yards and a touchdown and by Anthony Ferrer with 77 carries fro 283 yards and three touchdowns. Leadin g the passing attack has been Chris Paul-Etienne and he has completed 98 of 176 passes for 993 yards and six touchdowns. The two key players in receiving corps this season have been Tyquan Bynum with his team-high 28 catches for 373 yards and a pair of touchdowns and Shawn Leonard who leads the team with four touchdown catches and has made 26 receptions for 318 yards. On the defensive side of the football, Bob Damon has been very busy with a team-high 90 tackles (45-45-90), while he also has an interception, a sack and three forced fumbles. Also making a ton of tackles for the URI defense has been Matt Hansen and his (52-31-83). Leading the team in interceptions this season has been Jarrod Williams with three and the top two players in sacks have been Willie McGinnis and Victor Adesanya with four apiece. URI is coach by first-year mentor Joe Trainer.


THE ALL-TIME SERIES VS. RHODE ISLAND:  The all-time series between UNH and Rhode Island stands at 49-27-5 in favor of the Wildcats who have won the last five meetings between the two schools. the last time the Rams defeated the Wildcats was in 2003 (55-40). Since that time UNH has won 51-43 in 2008, 49-26 in Durham in 2007, 63-21 in 2006, 53-9 in 2005, and 27-3 in 2004.

A LOOK AT THE CAA STANDINGS: UNH is now alone in first place in the CAA North Division with a 4-1 conference record and 7-1 mark overall.

NORTH DIVISION    CAA    OVERALL
New Hampshire    4-1    7-1
Maine        3-2    4-4
Hofstra        2-3    4-4
Massachusetts    2-3    4-4
Northeastern    1-4    1-7
Rhode Island    0-5    1-7

SOUTH DIVISION CAA    OVERALL
Richmond    6-0    8-0
Villanova        4-1    7-1
William & Mary    4-1    7-1
Delaware        3-3    5-3
James Madison    1-4    3-5
Towson        1-4    2-6


SENIOR RUNNING BACK CHAD KACKERT MOVES UP TWO MORE SPOTS ON THE ALL-TIME CAREER RUSHING LIST AND TOPS THE 2,000 YARD CAREER RUSHING MARK FOR UNH: 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 2,097 rushing yards in his career and moved past both Curt Collins (1980-82) and Jim Quinn (1979-82) after rushing for 176 yards in the win over Northeastern. He is now ranked eighth on the all-time list and needs just 141 rushing yards to move past Avrom Smith (1991-94).

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.     Chad Kackert         2,097

WILDCATS ONCE AGAIN OFF TO AN IMPRESSIVE START: UNH has opened the 2009 season with a 7-1 mark after defeating St. Francis, Ball State, Dartmouth, Towson, Villanova, Hofstra and Northeastern. The 7-1 mark is the best start since UNH was 11-1 in 2005. Getting off to a quick start has been a Coach McDonnell trademark in recent seasons. The Wildcats got out of the gates 6-1 in 2008, 5-0 in 2006, 11-1 in 2005 and 4-1 in 2004.

WILDCAT OFFENSE PROVING TO BE A QUICK-STARTER: The UNH offense has always prided itself on being a quick-starter and this season looks to be no different. In seven games played UNH has been explosive in the first quarter with 104 of its 259 total points scored in the opening stanza. Comparing first half to second half point totals, the 'Cats have scored 160 points in the first half and 99 points in the second half. In comparison to opponents, UNH has scored 104 points vs.opponents as compared to just 34 points by the opponents in the first quarter and outscored opponents by  a 160 to 75 margin in the first half.

SPREADING THE OFFENSE AROUND: In seven games played, UNH has had 11 different players run with the football and no less than 13 different players have caught the football for the Wildcats.

UNH RANKED SECOND IN THE CAA IN SCORING: The Wildcat offense is very capable of scoring points in a hurry as it did against Northeastern on Oct. 31. UNH is now ranked second in the CAA in scoring offense with an average of 32.4 ppg. Richmond is the only team above UNH with an average of 32.5 ppg.

UNH RANKED SECOND IN THE CAA IN TOTAL DEFENSE: The Wildcat defense has been very effective at stopping opponent offenses and is ranked second in the CAA in total defense, allowing opponents to average only 270.4 yards per game. Only William & Mary is ahead of UNH at 242.0 yards per game allowed.

UNH SECOND IN THE CAA IN INTERCEPTIONS MADE AND FIRST IN RETURNED INTERCEPTIONS FOR TOUCHDOWNS: The Wildcat defense has now come up with 15 interceptions this season, good for second best in the conference and the D leads the CAA in interceptions returned for touchdowns with three, two by junior corner Dino Vasso (Crum Lynne, Pa. ).

UNH DEFENSE RANKED NO. 1 IN THE CAA IN TURNOVER MARGIN:  The University of New Hampshire football team is presently ranked No. 1 in the Colonia Athletic Association in  turnover margin with a mark of 1.62. Looking at what the defense has done this season, it has come up with nine fumble recoveries and 15 interceptions for a total of 24 turnovers gained, while UNH has lost just three fumbles this season and has had  eight intercepted passes for a mark of just 11 turnovers lost. That puts the Wildcats at +13 in the turnover margin department.

UNH LINEBACKERS DEVON JACKSON AND SEAN WARE MOVING UP INTO THE TOP 10 IN THE CAA IN TACKLES MADE:  UNH starting linebacker Devon Jackson (Wiliamstown, N.J.) and Sean Ware (Bristol, Conn.) continue to rack up tackles and lead the Wildcats as Jackson checks in with 27-36-63 and Ware has 30-31-61. That places Jackson in the top 10 for the CAA in seventh place with an average of 9.0 tackles per game and Ware is knocking on the door of the top 10 players in the CAA in tackles with an average of 7.6 per game for 11th place.

TOM MANNING NAMED CAA SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK AFTER KICKING A TWO LATE FIELD GOALS, INCLUDING A UNH RECORD 54 YARDER, IN WIN OVER HOFSTRA: Senior kicker Tom Manning, the CAA Football Special Teams Player of the Week was true on three field goals and a PAT in New Hampshire’s 18-10 rain-soaked win on the road over Hofstra.  The now two-time CAA Football Special Teams honoree had field goals of 30, 54 and 44 yards in the win.  His 54-yarder marked a school record, trumping a 53-yard kick by Dave Teggart in 1977 -- New Hampshire coach Sean McDonnell’s junior season.  The 54-yard boot also marks the longest this season by any kicker in the league and ranks tied for the third-longest in league history.

SENIOR KICKER TOM MANNING LEADS THE CAA IN FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE: Senior kicker Tom Manning (Rome, N.Y.) has been oustanding for the Wildcats in recent weeks. Since late in the Sept. 26 game vs. Dartmouth, he has connected on 12 of 13 field goals, including a school record game-winning 54-yarder vs. Hofstra on Oct. 24. Here's a look at what he has done since that time: For the season, he has made 13 of 17 field goals. He leads the CAA with a percentage of 76.5. and is ranked fourth among NCAA kickers with 1.62 field goals per contest.

Dartmouth (Sept. 26)
24 yards (Good)

Towson (Oct. 3)
27 yards (Good)
24 yards (Good)

Villanova (Oct. 10)
27 yards (Good)
35 yards (Good)
22 yards (Good)

Massachusetts (Oct. 17)
35 yards (Good)

Hofstra (Oct. 24)
30 yards (Good)
54 yards (Good) (UNH School Record)
44 yards (Good)

Northeastern (Oct. 31)
43 yards (Missed)
30 yards (Good)
23 yards (Good)

HOME SWEET HOME FOR THE WILDCATS: The UNH football team has done very well in the friendly confines of Cowell Stadium and is now 4-0 at home this season with victories over the likes of St. Francis (24-14), Dartmouth (44-14), Villanova (28-24) and Northeastern (48-21)The Wildcats will also play two of their final trhee regular season games at home, including this week's Nov. 7 contest at home vs. Rhode Island and the final game of the season on Nov. 21 vs. Maine.  UNH has been high-scoring at home so far this season as well, averaging 36.0 ppg. at home this season at Cowell Stadium.

UNH'S BIGGEST CROWD SO FAR THIS SEASON, HOME OR AWAY, WAS THE VILLANOVA GAME AT COWELL STADIUM: The UNH football team has played in front of several big crowds this season, but none was bigger than the Homecoming crowd in Durham on Oct. 10 vs. then No. 2 Ranked Villanova. The attendace of 14,811 as the largest of the season, home or away.  UNH won the game by a 28-24 margin.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION, THE UNH FOOTBALL TEAM WILL HAVE TWO OF ITS UPCOMING GAMES BROADCAST ON LIVE TV (COMCAST SPORTSNET NEW ENGLAND): Two of UNH's next home games will be shown live on Comcast SportsNet New England. The games being broadcasted include this Rhode Island contest on Nov. 7 and the Maine game on Nov. 21 at Cowell Stadium. UNH is 2-1 on TV this season so far.

A LOOK AT WHAT THE UNH DEFENSE HAS DONE SO FAR IN 2009, GAME-BY-GAME: The 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 270.4 yards per game this season.
TEAM        POINTS         OPPONENT YARDS
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
Hofstra        10 points        278 yards
Northeastern    21 points        322 yards

A LOOK AT THE UNH OFFENSE GAME-BY-GAME
TEAM        UNH POINTS     UNH YARDS
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
Hofstra        18 points        268 yards
Northeastern    48 points        461 yards

ALL-AMERICAN SCOTT SICKO GETTING THE JOB DONE AS A RECEIVER IN LAST THREE 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 four games vs. Villanova, UMass, Hofstra and Northeastern, he has made 24 catches for 404 yards and four touchdown receptions. He leads the team in receiving this season with 36 catches for 507 yards and five touchdown receptions.

A LOOK AT THE CAREER NUMBERS FOR SENIOR ALL-AMERICA TIGHT END SCOTT SICKO: Senior All-American tight end Scott Sicko continues to move up among UNH's and the nation's all-time best tight ends. Against Villanova, he recorded three catches for 135 yards and a touchdown on his way to the victory. Against UMass he had his best game of the season with 10 catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Looking back over his career so far, he has made 139 career catches for 1,805 career yards at UNH. He has also grabbed 18 touchdown receptions during his time wearing the Blue and White.

LB TERRENCE KLEIN LEADS UNH WITH FOUR INTERCEPTIONS, TYING HIM FOR 10TH 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 .58 interceptions per contest. He had two more, each resulting in a score in the loss at UMass.

LB TERRENCE KLEIN NAMED CAA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK AND THE ECAC CO-DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK AFTER KEY INTERCEPTION IN UPSET OF VILLANOVA: DURHAM, N.H.—Senior linebacker Terrence Klein (Westwood, N.J.) of the University of New Hampshire football team was named the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Defensive Player of the Week and the ECAC Co-Defensive Player of the Week for his outstanding efforts in the ‘Cats upset victory over No. 2 Villanova at Cowell Stadium on Oct. 10, 28-24.  Klein made five total tackles, including 1.5 for a loss of 12 yards.  The senior also posted a sack for 11 yards and came up with a key interception in the fourth quarter halting a Villanova drive and allowing No. 5 New Hampshire to kick a field goal for the eventual four-point win. In addition, Klein knocked the ball away during Villanova’s final drive on fourth down to give UNH the football allowing the home team to run down the clock for the victory.

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