FOOTBALL GAME DAY (WILDCATS TRAVEL TO MCNEESE STATE FOR FIRST-ROUND OF NCAA DIVSION I CHAMPIONSHIP, NOV. 28)
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WILDCATS READY TO PLAY MCNEESE STATE IN FIRST ROUND OF NCAA DIVISION I CHAMPIONSHIP: 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 features a defense that led the CAA in turnover margin at plus 13 for much of the season and McNeese has an explosive offense that is averaging no less than 37 points per contest and 443 yards of offense per contest.
SCOUTING McNEESE STATE: McNeese State has won six straight games to end the 2009 regular season with wins over the likes of Northwestern State (51-23), Southeastern La. (36-35), Nichols (38-17), Sam Houston State (63-42), Texas State (30-27) and Central Arkansas (21-17). The team also defeated Appalachian State in early September (40-35). Offensive the squad is explosive and has been led at quarterback by Derrick Fourroux, who has passed for 20 TDs this season and has run for five more. He has completed 64 percent of his passes and passed for an average of 209.7 yards per game. At running back, Todd Pendland checks in with 17 rushing touchdowns and he is averaging just about 100 yards per contest (99.2 ypg.). McNeese spreads the field and has nine different receivers score touchdowns, led by Corday Clark with five. The two receivers leading the team in receptions inlcude the likes of Immanu Friddle with 28 catches for 36.9 yards per game and Wes Mangan who checks in with 28 catches, four touchdowns and an average of 27.1 yards per game. On the defensive side of the football., Malcol Branson is the team's leading tackler with 60-21-80 and he also has two interceptions and seven pass breakups this season. Josh Ellison has been a terror with five sacks in 2009 to lead the team and Darrel Jenkins has also compiled a bunch of tackles for the squad this season as well with 43-28-71. The offense features a very good mix of running and passing, as the squad is averaging 223.6 rushing yards per contest and through the air the team is averaging no less than 219.4 passing yards per contest.
UNH FOOTBALL MAKING ITS SIXTH CONSECUTIVE APPEARANCE IN THE NCAA FCS PLAYOFFS AND EIGHTH OVERALL: The University of New Hampshire football program is making its sixth straight appearance in the NCAA Division I Championship Playoffs. UNH has also moved on to play in the NCAA Quarterfinals in four of the last five seasons. In 2008, while Wildcats defeated Southern Illinois, 29-20 in first round action in Carbondale. However, the 'Cats ran into Playoff nemesis Northern Illinois and were defeated in the UNI Dome, 36-34. UNH's 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).
A LOOK AT THE CAA STANDINGS: The
University of New Hampshire won the CAA North Division title
outright with a 6-2 conference mark after posting a 27-24 victory
over rival Maine in Durham, N.H. this past Saturday. Villanova, a
team UNH defeated by a 28-24 margin for their only loss of the
season, and Richmond, tied for the CAA overall title with 7-1
New Hampshire 6-2 9-2
Maine 4-4 5-6
Hofstra 3-5 5-6
Massachusetts 3-5 5-6
Northeastern 3-5 3-8
Rhode Island 0-8 1-10
Richmond 7-1 10-1
Villanova 7-1 10-1
William & Mary 6-2 9-2
Delaware 4-4 6-5
James Madison 4-4 6-5
Towson 1-7 2-9
A LOOK AT 11TH-YEAR HEAD COACH SEAN McDONNELL:11th-year head coach Sean McDonnell, who now owns a 79-52-0 record as the head coach at the University of New Hampshire. In the last six seasons, McDonnell and his team has posted an impressive overall mark of 56-19 and the program is 34-14 vs. CAA opponents during that timespan. He was named the New England Football Writers Coach Of the Year for his outstanding efforts in 2008. It was the second time he won the award, after being honored in 2005. McDonnell led UNH to its fifth straight appearance in the NCAA Playoffs and a 10-3 mark in 2008. He was named the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year in 2005 as selected by "The Sports Network". McDonnell was named the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year in 2004 and was named District I Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) after leading UNH to its best season ever in the history of the program. The Wildcats also finished first in the North Division of the Atlantic 10 Football Conference and won their first-ever NCAA I-AA tournament game with a victory at Georgia Southern. McDonnell led his squad to the NCAA I-AA Quarterfinals four times 2004 through 2006 and in 2008.
A LOOK AT UNH'S SUCCESS STORY OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS: The University of New Hampshire football program has been rebuilt from the ground up and over the past five years and has developed into a top 10 program on a consistent basis. The Wildcats have made five straight appearances in the NCAA FCS Tournament, advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals in four of the last five years, have beaten five straight FBS programs in Rutgers, Northwestern, Marshall, Army and Ball State. UNH has been picked to win the CAA North Division for the second time in as many seasons and the Wildcats tied for the CAA championship in 2005. Looking at the way this season has gone, UNH can clinch the CAA North title with a win over Maine and will be looking to make its sixth straight appearance in the NCAA FCS football playoffs.
GIANT SLAYER UNH HAS WON AN AMAZING FIVE GAMES IN A ROW OVER FBS FOOTBALL TEAMS FOLLOWING THIS YEAR'S VICTORY AT BALL STATE: The UNH football team continued its success vs. FBS teams this season with its fifth straight victory over an upper level school, as UNH defeated Ball State on Sept. 12, 23-16. In 2008, UNH upset FBS opponent Army at West Point, 28-10. In 2007, UNH posted a 48-35 victory over Marshall. UNH also recorded two other impressive FBS victories with a 34-17 win over Big Ten Northwestern in 2006 and a win over Big East Rutgers in 2004 (35-24). Upcoming games vs. FBS schools could include contests vs. Pittsburgh and Boston College.
UNH PLAYERS NAMED TO 2009 CAA ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM:
FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
TE Scott Sicko Senior
PK Tom Manning Senior
SECOND TEAM OFFENSE
RB Chad Kackert Senior
OL Tom Neill Senior
SECOND TEAM DEFENSE
LB Sean Ware Senior
LB Dino Vasso Senior
S Terrence Klein Senior
THIRD TEAM DEFENSE
DL Kyle Maroney Senior
CAA TEAMS SUCCESSFUL VS. FBS THIS SEASON: How tough is the CAA going to be this season? Take a look at what CAA teams did so far against FBS opponents, many stepping up and defeating the big boys. William & Mary topped Virginia (26-14), Richmond defeated Duke (24-16), Villanova topped Temple (27-24), and Massachusetts narrowly missed defeating Kansas State, losing by just a 21-17 margin. UNH defeated Ball State 23-16 and James Madison lost in overtime to a very strong Maryland squad.
UNH FOOTBALL RANKED THIRD IN THE FCS IN KICKOFF RETURNS: The UNH football team is averaging 25.35 yards per return this season in kickoff return yards and that ranks them third in the nation in that category. The team has been led by senior Chad Kackert and his 16 returns for an average of 23.9 yards per return and by junior Dino Vasso at 27.8 yards per return in nine attempts. UNH's average is second in the CAA only to James Madison (25.49 ypr.).
WILDCATS LEAD THE CAA IN SCORING; 14th IN THE NATION: The UNH football team leads the CAA in points per game this season with an average of 32.5 points per game. That mark is also good for 14th in the nation according to the NCAA FCS statistics.
WILDCATS LEAD THE CAA IN INTERCEPTIONS THIS SEASON WITH A GRAND TOTAL OF 20: UNH has been very solid at intercepting opponent passes this season and the Wildcats lead the CAA with 20 picked off passes in 2009. Leading the team in interceptions this season has been junior corner Dino Vasso and senior safety Terrence Klein with five interceptions each. UNH also leads the conference in interceptions returned for touchdown with three.
UNH RANKED NO. 5 IN FCS AND NO. 1 IN THE CAA IN TURNOVER MARGIN: The University of New Hampshire football team is presently ranked No. 5 in the FCS and No. 1 in the Colonial Athletic Association in turnover margin with a mark of 1.27. Looking at what the defense has done this season, it has come up with 11 fumble recoveries and 20 interceptions for a total of 31 turnovers gained, while UNH has lost just five fumbles this season and has had 12 intercepted passes for a mark of just 17 turnovers lost. That puts the Wildcats at +14 in the turnover margin department.
SENIOR KICKER TOM MANNING NOW RANKS EIGHTH ON THE CAA ALL-TIME EXTRA POINT LISTING WITH 143 IN HIS CAREER: Senior kicker Tom Manning (Rome, N.Y.) presently ranks eight on the CAA all-time career extra points list. He heads into the game vs. Maine with 143 kicked PATs for the Wildcats.
SENIOR RUNNING BACK CHAD KACKERT MOVES UP TO NO. 7 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 2,368 rushing yards in his career and moved past Avrom Smith (1991-1994) and his 2,237 career rushing yards. Kackert now needs 533 rushing yards to catch Andre Garron, who is No. 6 on the all-time rushing list with 2,901 yards from 1982-1985.
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. Chad Kackert 2,368
SENIOR ALL-AMERICAN TIGHT END SCOTT SICKO MOVES INTO THE UNH TOP 10 IN CAREER CATCHES MADE: Senior All-American tight end Scott Sicko (Stillwater, N.Y.) has moved into the UNH top 10 when it comes to career catches made with 151 in his career. He moved past former TE Jon Williams who was in 10th place with 140 catches in his career. With is four catches against Maine he moved past Mike Gallagher for ninth place on the list
He now needs just five more catches to pass Chris Braune and just nine more to move into seventh place past Calvin Jones.
Here's a look at the UNH career receptions listing:
1. David Ball (2003-06) 304
2. Keith LeVan (2004-2007) 201
3. Curtis Olds (1985-88) 193
4. John Perry (1989-92) 191
5. David Gamble (1990-93) 182
6. Stephan Lewis (1999-2002) 164
7. Calvin Jones (1993-96) 158
8. Chris Braune (1986-89) 155
9. Scott Sicko 151
10. Mike Gallagher (1989-92) 150
QUARTERBACK R.J. TOMAN SIXTH ON UNH'S ALL-TIME CAREER PASSING YARDAGE LIST: Junior quarterback R.J. Toman has had a relatively quiet year in terms of his stats compared to his junior season, but UNH head coach Sean McDonnell said he has been very proud of his leadership and toughness as the starting quarterback in 2009. This season he has completed 151 of 277 passes for 12 touchdowns and has averaged 189.5 yards per contest. He is also UNH's third-leading ball-carrier with 95 attempts for 263 yards and three rushing touchdowns. For his career, Toman has completed 407 of 666 passes for 5,315 yards. He also has passed for 44 touchdowns in his career so far. Toman now ranks siXth on UNH's all-time career passing yardage listing.
Most Passing YardsﾑCareer
1. Ricky Santos (2004-2007) 12,189
2. Bob Jean (1985-88) 7,742
3. Ryan Day (1997-2001) 7,670
4. Matt Griffin (1987-91) 5,425
5. Jim Stayer (1992-94) 5,349
6. R.J. Toman 2007-2009 5,315
7. Mike Granieri (2000-) 4,775
8. Jeff Allen (1974-77) 4,184
9. Chris Bresnahan (1995-96) 4,085
10. Bob Hopkins (1969-71) 3,143
UNH WHEN STATISTICS: Here is how the UNH football team has done when:
at home: 6-0
on the road: 3-2
on grass: 0-0
on turf: 9-2
in day games: 8-2
at night: 1-0
leading at the half: 8-0
tied at the half: 0-1
trailing at the half: 1-1
leading after three quarters: 8-0
behind after three quarters: 2-0
tied after three quarters 0-2
UNH scores first: 6-1
Opponent scores first: 3-1
UNH on television 4-1
WILDCATS RIDING A NINE-GAME HOME WINNING STREAK DATING BACK TO LAST YEAR'S LOSS TO WILLIAM & MARY IN DURHAM; The Wildcats have won nine consecutive home games played at Cowell Stadium dating back to Oct. 11, 2008 when William & Mary defeated UNH, 38-34. In this order, UNH has defeated Towson, Hofstra, Massachusetts, St. Francis, Dartmouth, Villanova, Northeastern, Rhode Island and Maine, all in Durham. UNH is, of course undefeated at home this season with an impressive 6-0 mark.
UNH IS 9-0 WHEN SCORING 18 POINTS OR MORE AND 0-2 WHEN SCORING 17 POINTS: The UNH football team is 8-0 when scoring 18 points or more in a game. However, the squad is 0-2 in games where it has scored 17 points. The Wildcats lost to UMass 23-17 and lost to William & Mary by a 20-17 margin.
A LOOK BACK AT THIS TIME LAST SEASON: The UNH football team was also 9-2 overall last season heading into an NCAA FCS first-round contest at Southern Illinois, a game the Wildcats won by a 29-20 margin in Carbondale, Ill.
SENIOR KICKER TOM MANNING NAMED CAA SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK FOR THIRD TIME THIS SEASON AFTER KICKING TWO LATE FIELD GOALS FOR THE THIRD TIME IN 2009 IN WIN OVER RHODE ISLAND: Senior kicker Tom Manning (Rome, N.Y.) is making quite a name for himself this season. For the third time in 2009, Manning kicked two key late game field goals to lead UNH to a victory and for the tird time this season he was the recipient of the CAA Special Teams Player of the Week Award. Manning accounted for 13 points in the win over Rhode Island including kicking two late field goals of 42 and 47 yards and going 6x6 with his PATs.