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DURHAM, N.H.- Fresh off the first December victory in school history, the 10th-ranked UNH football team sets its sights on the fifth-ranked University of Delaware on Friday night at 8 p.m. in the NCAA D-I Football Championship quarterfinals. The game will be televised live on ESPN2 HD and ESPN3.com.
No. 10/11 UNH (8-4, 5-3 CAA) at No. 5/5 Delaware (10-2, 6-2 CAA)
NCAA DIVISION I FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP | QUARTERFINALS
8:00 p.m. |Friday, Dec. 10, 2010 | Delaware Stadium | Newark, Del.
TV: ESPN2 HD/ESPN3.com: Pam Ward (play-by-play), Danny Kanell (analyst)
Radio: Wildcat Sports Network: Jim Jeannotte (play-by-play), Loren Foxx (analyst)
UNH: Sean McDonnell
Years as head coach: 12th
Overall Record: 88-57
Record at UNH: 88-57
CAA Record: 53-46
Alma Mater: UNH '78
Delaware: K.C. Keeler
Years as head coach: 18th (9th at Delaware)
Overall Record: 160-62-1
Record at Delaware: 72-41
Alma Mater: Delaware '81
Last Meeting: UNH-35, DELAWARE-30: Oct. 6, 2007 @Cowell Stadium: Keith LeVan caught two touchdown passes and threw for another to lead No. 15 UNH over No. 11 Delaware, 35-30, at Cowell Stadium. LeVan capped a 21-point second quarter with a 45-yard pass to Mike Boyle in which LeVan caught a lateral pitch from R.J. Toman in the right flat and found Boyle streak down the right sideline. Ricky Santos went 9-for-10 for 108 yards and a touchdown before leaving with an injury on the fifth drive of the game. Toman entered and, seeing his first collegiate significant action, went 5 of 9 for 98 yards and two touchdowns. The redshirt-freshman also rushed for 47 yards. Sean Jellison added his first career rushing score in the victory.
SCOUTING THE BLUE HENS: Delaware captured a share of the CAA regular-season championship, it brings the country's top scoring defense (12.3 ppg) into Friday night's national quarterfinal showdown and a league-leading 16 members of Delaware's roster were honored on one of the three All-CAA teams. The Blue Hens are 12-4 in home playoff games since joining the CAA in 1986 and are a perfect 6-0 in home postseason games in the K.C. Keeler era. That includes last weekend's 42-20 victory over Patriot League champion Lehigh in a second-round game. Delaware Stadium provides a significant home field advantage, as the Hens draw a CAA-best 20,684 fans per game, though UNH has a two-game winning streak at Tubby Raymond Field. Delaware won the 2003 national championship and was the national runner-up to Appalachian State in 2007.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB Pat Devlin leads the CAA in pass efficiency (156.2) and is in the Top 10 for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, an honor bestowed annually to the top senior quarterback in the nation by the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Foundation. Devlin, the CAA Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-CAA QB, is the only FCS player on the Unitas Watch list. Devlin is also among the 20 players on the Walter Payton Award watch list for the FCS National Player of the Year. Blue Hens freshman RB Andrew Pierce won the CAA Rookie of the Year award and was honored as a member of the All-CAA First Team. He opened the season with four straight 100-yard rushing performances, garnered six Rookie of the Week honors and an Offensive Player of the Week award, giving him a conference-record seven honors in one season. Pierce paces the league with 1,237 rushing yards (103.1 ypg) and 16 touchdowns. A talented secondary includes All-CAA First Team safety Anthony Bratton (13 pass break-ups) and fellow DB Anthony Walters, who is tied with UNH's Dino Vasso for the league lead in interceptions (six).
TALE OF THE TAPE:
Totals (NCAA Rank) UNH DEL
Total Offense 357.2 (56) 409.3 (18)
Rush Offense 130.1 (78) 189.0 (26)
Pass Offense 227.1 (31) 220.3 (39)
Points Per Game 26.6 (46) 29.7 (30)
Total Defense 306.8 (16) 278.1 (5)
Rush Defense 134.1 (39) 99.7 (8)
Pass Defense 172.7 (22) 178.4 (28)
Scoring Defense 16.5 (5) 12.3 (1)
Possession Avg. 29:51 (66) 32:34 (12)
Sacks Allowed/Yards Lost 35/237 (103) 20/122 (T-51)
Sacks Made/Yards 32/188 (17) 12/89 (T-108)
Penalties Against/Yards 86/762 (80) 54/551 (12)
Punts/Net Avg. 72/30.9 (97) 48/40.4 (59)
Turnover Differential +15 (3) +11(9)
LONGEST PLAYOFF STREAK IN FCS: UNH is making its seventh straight trip to the NCAA D-I Football Championship postseason. Both Montana (17) and Southern Illinois (seven) had longer streaks than the Wildcats, but neither the Grizzlies nor the Salukis qualified for the postseason, giving New Hampshire the longest current streak in FCS football. The Wildcats are 6-1 in their opening playoff games during the streak, including last week's 45-20 defeat of Bethune-Cookman. Five of those six wins have been on the road, with the only exception being 2005 (55-21 over Colgate). Here is a breakdown of UNH's all-time playoff record:
Year Game Opponent Result
1947 Glass Bowl Toledo L, 14-20
1975 D-II Quarterfinals Lehigh W, 35-21
1975 D-II Semifinals W. Kentucky L, 3-14
1976 D-II Quarterfinals Montana State L, 16-17
1991 I-AA First Round Samford L, 13-29
1994 I-AA First Round App. State L, 10-17(OT)
2004 I-AA First Round Ga. Southern W, 27-23
2004 I-AA Quarterfinals Montana L, 17-47
2005 I-AA First Round Colgate W, 55-21
2005 I-AA Quarterfinals Northern Iowa L, 21-24
2006 FCS First Round Hampton W, 41-38
2006 FCS Quarterfinals UMass L, 17-24
2007 FCS First Round Northern Iowa L, 35-38
2008 FCS First Round Southern Illinois W, 29-20
2008 FCS Quarterfinals Northern Iowa L, 34-36
2009 FCS First Round McNeese State W, 49-13
2009 FCS Quarterfinals Villanova L, 7-46
2010 FCS Second Round Bethune-Cookman W, 45-20
LAST TIME OUT: UNH-45, BETHUNE-COOKMAN-20: DEC. 4, DAYTONA MUNICIPAL STADIUM: Making his first start of the season in place of injured starter R.J. Toman (Mission Viejo, Calif.), junior quarterback Kevin Decker (Armonk, N.Y.) threw for three second-half touchdowns to lead the 10th-ranked UNH Wildcats to a 45-20 victory over 13th-ranked Bethune-Cookman University in the second round of the NCAA Division I Football Championship on Dec. 4. The Wildcats earn the first December win in school history in eight tries and win a postseason game for the sixth time in the last seven seasons. Bethune-Cookman, the MEAC champion making its first postseason appearance since 2003, sees its season end with a record of 10-2. With the game tied 14-14 entering the third period, UNH exploded for 21 third-quarter points. Decker, making only his second career start, found sophomore Joey Orlando for a five-yard touchdown at 10:45; Chris Chandler hauled in his first career scoring grab, a 63-yard catch-and-run score at 5:25; and Terrance Fox was on the receiving end of a 14-yard score that put the game effectively out of reach, 35-14, with 58 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Chris Setian put the exclamation point on the triumph by carrying for a five-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter (at 8:41) for his first career score, and A.J. DeLago kicked a 30-yard field goal with 2:10 left to cap UNH's scoring. Senior captain Sean Jellison carried seven times for 29 yards and two touchdowns, his first two scoring rushes of the season, in the first half before being sidelined with an injury in the second half.
STACKING THE DECK: Kevin Decker made only his second career start in UNH's 45-20 defeat of Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 4. Notified of his assignment after pregame warm-ups, Decker proceeded to set career bests in completions (23), attempts (35), yards (289) and touchdowns (3). The junior, who has completed 46 of 67 passes for 447 yards and five touchdowns in 2010, ranks third in the CAA in passing efficiency (146.3).
DECEMBER TO REMEMBER: UNH's 45-20 win at Bethune-Cookman marked the school's first-ever December victory. The Wildcats had been 0-7 during the month. The victory was also the first in the state of Florida for the 'Cats, whose only previous visit to the Sunshine State resulted in an overtime loss at South Florida, 42-41, in 1999 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
MCDONNELL NAMED N.E. COACH OF YEAR: UNH coach Sean McDonnell has been feted as the Division I FCS Coach of the Year by the New England Football Writers. McDonnell, who has guided the Wildcats to the NCAA Division I FCS Championship for a nation-leading seventh straight season, will be honored at the N.E. Football Writers Annual Awards and Captains Banquet on Dec. 9 at the Montvale Plaza in Stoneham, Mass. It is the third New England honor for McDonnell, who was also recognized in 2005 and 2008. Under his tutelage, UNH has rallied to win six of its last seven games, including a school-record five against ranked opponents, to reach the national quarterfinals for the sixth time in seven years. The 12th-year head coach brings a career mark of 88-57, including 8-4 this season, for the No. 10 Wildcats into Friday night's quarterfinal game at Delaware. Former UNH head coaches Chief Boston (1962), Joe Yukica (1967) and Bill Bowes (1994) previously garnered the honor, which has been handed out annually since 1953.
FOUR WILDCATS NAMED ALL-NEW ENGLAND & ALL-CAA: Terrance Fox, Brian McNally, Hugo Souza and Dino Vasso were all named to the 2010 All-CAA Football First Team, the league announced Nov. 22, and the four players garnered All-New England honors from the New England Football Writers on Dec. 1. Fox was tabbed as a wide receiver, McNally as a defensive end, Souza as a safety and Vasso as a cornerback.UNH senior offensive tackle Seth Price and sophomore linebacker Matt Evans, the league leader with 145 tackles, were named to the All-CAA Second Team, while senior quarterback R.J. Toman, sophomore running back Dontra Peters, senior defensive tackle Steve Young and freshman kicker Mike MacArthur garnered Third Team honors. Fox leads the CAA in receptions per game (5.8), ranks fourth in receiving yards per game (62.4) and seventh in all-purpose yards (99.8). The 5-8, 166-pound receiver has hauled in seven receiving touchdowns and returned a kickoff for a score. McNally, a member of the CAA Preseason All-Conference Team, is the league leader in sacks (11.5), paces UNH with 13 tackles for loss and has compiled 38 tackles, including 21 solo stops. Souza, who has started a school-record 50 consecutive games, has tallied 86 tackles, 48 unassisted, during his senior campaign with one interception, five pass break-ups and a forced fumble. His 322 career tackles are tied for fifth all-time at UNH. Vasso, a two-time All-CAA Second Team selection (2008, 09) and member of this year's Preseason All-Conference Team, is tied for the league lead in interceptions (six), tops the conference with 14 passes defended, is tied for the team lead with eight pass break-ups and has notched 52 tackles, 36 of the solo variety. Toman ranks in the top-5 in the CAA in passing average (207.1/third) and total offense (221.5/fourth), while Peters is tied for fifth in touchdowns (eight) and rates sixth in rushing yards (68.4 per game). Young has posted 37 tackles, 22 solo, with five tackles for loss and two sacks. MacArthur, the only true freshman to play for the Wildcats this season, is 9-for-12 in field goals, which ties him for second in the CAA in field goal percentage (75%)
BEST D IN 15 YEARS: With Brian McNally, Hugo Souza and Dino Vasso all earning All-CAA First Team recognition, 2010 marks the first year UNH has placed multiple players on a conference defensive first-team since 1995, when defensive linemen Mike Foley and Ray Lyons were feted by the Yankee Conference. The last season three players were named all-conference on defense was '94, when Foley and Lyons were joined by DL Joe Fleming.
86 THE SECONDARY: With Vasso and Souza both representing UNH on the All-CAA First Team, this marks the first time two members of the Wildcats' secondary have earned that distinction since Stan Harrison and Eric Thompson in 1986.
SOUZA HITS HALF CENTURY MARK: Hugo Souza holds the school record for consecutive games started with 50. The senior safety has started every game he's played for the Wildcats, while teammate Dino Vasso has played in all 50 games of his career, posting 49 starts in that time.
NUMBER ONE PICKS: UNH leads all of FCS football with 23 interceptions on the season. Dino Vasso leads the way with six interceptions, while three other Wildcats' defenders have registered pick-sixes during the regular season: Randi Vines (30 yards, vs CCSU, Sept. 4), John Greer (40 yards, vs Richmond, Oct. 9) and Matt Evans (25 yards, vs Towson, Nov. 20).
PICKS (SIX) FOR VASSO Senior cornerback Dino Vasso is tied for the CAA lead with six interceptions. His career total of 18 interceptions is two shy of the school record of 20, held by Bill Pappas (1952-54). Vasso's 18 picks are tied for eighth all-time in conference history.
EVANS LEADS CAA IN TACKLES: Matt Evans paces the CAA with 145 tackles, 72 solo stops, and ranks in the Top 5 in FCS football in both categories. He is the only national leader whose team is still alive in the postseason:
Rank Player/College Total Tackles
1. Kyle Glazier/Western Illinois 167
2. A.J. Storms/Idaho State 146
3. Matt Evans/UNH 145
4. Scott Lewis/St. Francis (Pa.) 138
5. Jordan Ridley/Butler 130
Rank Player/College Solo Tackles
1. Bryce Smith/Samford 85
T-2. Kyle Glazier/Western Illinois 81
T-2. Derek Rose/Northwestern St. 77
T-4. Matt Evans/UNH 72
T-4. Tommy Connors/Southeastern La. 72
EVANS A FINALIST FOR BUCK BUCHANAN AWARD: New Hampshire linebacker Matt Evans is one of the 20 finalists for the 2010 Buck Buchanan National Defensive Player of Year Award, sponsored by Fathead.com. No Wildcat has ever won The Buchanan Award, now in its 16th season. Voting for the honor took place at the end of November and does not take postseason games into account. The FCS National Defensive Player of the Year will be unveiled on Thursday, Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas - the night before the national championship game.
IN-D-VIDUAL RECOGNITION: The UNH defense is ranked fifth in the nation in scoring defense (16.5 ppg). The Wildcats boast the CAA leaders in tackles (Matt Evans-145), sacks (Brian McNally-11.5), passes defended (Dino Vasso-14), interceptions (Vasso-T-6) and forced fumbles (Evans-T-3) .
TURNOVER BATTLE: UNH is 7-0 this season when winning the turnover battle. The Wildcats are +15 in turnover margin,which is good for third in the nation.
SHINING BRIGHTEST VERSUS THE BEST: UNH has defeated a school-record five ranked teams this season (Richmond, James Madison, UMass, Villanova, Bethune-Cookman). Overall, UNH is 5-1 against ranked opponents, with the lone loss coming to William& Mary on Nov. 6. Here are some of the highlights of the 'Cats against the nation's best:
•UNH is 3-0 on the road vs ranked teams and 5-1 overall in those match-ups.
•The Wildcats have outscored ranked opponents 163-84, including 49-7 in the first quarter and 55-7 in the third period.
•UNH is averaging 334.5 yards per game in those six games.
•The 'Cats have converted 40% of third downs (38 of 94) against ranked foes.
•Terrance Fox has made 34 receptions for 330 yards and 3 TDs in those games while Joey Orlando has 21 catches for 301 yards and 4 TDs.
•Dontra Peters has rushed 71 times for 356 yards, averaging 5.0 yds. per carry, in those six games.
•Matt Evans has 84 tackles, six for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and a pick-six in those six games.
•Brian McNally has 8.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
OTHER WILDCAT TIDBITS:
•UNH has outscored FCS opponents 79-9 in the third quarter this season.
•The Wildcats are 0-2 vs CAA opponents in postseason play: they lost at UMass in the 2006 quarterfinals and at Villanova in last year's quarterfinals.
•UNH is seeking to snap a six-game skid in the quarterfinal-round of the NCAA postseason. The only quarterfinal victory in school history was a 35-21 decision against Lehigh in the 1975 D-II tournament.
•The Wildcats ended Richmond's 11-game FCS road winning streak Oct. 9, snapped Villanova's 15-game home winning streak Nov. 13 and were the only team to win at Bethune-Cookman this season Dec. 4.
•Senior Kevon Mason is the only Wildcat with at least one reception in every game. He has a streak of 16 straight games with at least one grab and, dating back to the 2009 season opener, has made at least one catch in 22 of the last 23 games. Mason's 6-yd touchdown reception Nov. 20 vs. Towson was his first since Sept. 5, 2009, vs St. Francis.
•Dontra Peters owns two of the CAA's top four rushing performances this season: 197 vs CCSU (Sept. 4/#2) and 157 at Villanova (Nov. 13/#4).
WINNINGEST CLASSES IN UNH HISTORY: Senior players from the 2007 and 2008 UNH football squads share the distinction of owning the most combined victories (37) in school history during their four-year playing career. The 2009 senior class amassed 36 total victories. The 20 seniors on the 2010 roster have totaled 35 wins, the fourth-best mark in UNH history. The class would have to reach the National Championship game to tie for most wins by a class and, naturally, could become the first group to capture 38 victories by winning the school's first national title.
WILDCATS AMONG CAA LEADERS (alphabetical):
Player Category CAA Rank Total
Alan Buzbee Fumbles Forced T-4 2
Kevin Decker Pass Efficiency 3 146.3
Matt Evans Tackles 1 145
Matt Evans Tackles Per Gm. 1 12.1
Matt Evans Fumbles Rec. T-4 2
Matt Evans Fumbled Forced T-1 3
Kyle Flemings Interceptions T-4 4
Kyle Flemings Fumbles Rec. T-4 2
Kyle Flemings Passes defended T-4 12
Terrance Fox Receptions/gm. 1 5.8
Terrance Fox Rec. Yards/gm. 5 62.4
Terrance Fox All Purpose Yds. 7 99.8
Mike MacArthur Field Goal % T-2 75.0
Ryan McGuinness Fumbles Rec. T-4 2
Brian McNally Sacks 1 11.5
Dontra Peters Rushing Offense 6 63.9
Dontra Peters Scoring TDs T-5 8
R.J. Toman Total Offfense 4 221.5
R.J. Toman Passing Offense 3 207.1
Dino Vasso Interceptions T-1 6
Dino Vasso Passes Defended 1 14
2010 UNH WEEKLY AWARDS
Player Weekly Award Date
Matt Evans CAA Defensive Player 11/22
Ryan Glasgow CFPA National Punter 11/22
Matt Evans CAA Defensive Player 10/25
Matt Evans Gold Helmet Award 10/20
Matt Evans ECAC Defensive Player 10/19
Matt Evans CAA Co-Defensive Player 10/18
John Greer ECAC Defensive Player 10/12
John Greer College Sporting News All-Star 10/11
John Greer CAA Defensive Player 10/11
R.J. Toman Gold Helmet Award 9/29
R.J. Toman ECAC Offensive Player 9/28
R.J. Toman CAA Offensive Player 9/27
Terrance Fox CAA Spec. Teams Player 9/6