GAME DAY: No. 11/11 Football Visits No. 5/7 Richmond in CAA Opener Saturday on CSN-NE

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Quick Hitters
•UNH is 7-5 in the Sean McDonnell era in games following a regular-season bye week. The Wildcats have dropped three of their last four post-bye games, including a 13-3 setback at the hands of William & Mary last season that ended a school-record 12-game home winning streak. The  'Cats are 1-1 versus Richmond following a bye under Coach Mac, with a 31-10 loss Oct. 14, 2000, and a 20-19 victory Oct. 12, 2002.



•WR Joey Orlando was named the CAA Special Teams Player of the Week, the CFPA National Punt Return Performer of the Week, received a Gold Helmet Award from the N.E. Football Writers, was tabbed as a College Sporting News All-Star and was named the Beyond Sports Network FCS Offensive Player of the Week after scoring a career-high three touchdowns in the Wildcats' 48-41 overtime victory at Lehigh on Sept. 10. Playing in his hometown, Orlando nabbed the 25-yard game-winning reception on the first play of overtime, amassed a personal-best 166 receiving yards on 10 catches, which matched a career high, registered a 17-yard TD reception in the second quarter that put him over the 1,000-yard receiving mark for his career and returned a punt 56 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. It was the first punt return for a score by a Wildcat since now-Chicago Bear Corey Graham's 51-yarder against Stony Brook on Sept. 16, 2006.

Matt Evans #52
NCAA-leading 19.0 tackles/game

•LB Matt Evans earned the CAA Defensive Player of the Week and the Beyond Sports Network FCS Defensive Player of the Week honor after collecting a career-high 24 tackles, including 17 solo stops and one tackle for loss at Lehigh on Sept. 10. The middle linebacker leads all of FCS football with 19.0 tackles per game and 25 solo stops, and his 38 total tackles lead the CAA. The 24 tackles were the most recorded by a CAA player since Richmond's Adam Goloboski made 26 tackles against Delaware on Nov. 13, 2004.

•QB Kevin Decker was named the CFPA National Performer of the Week and the QB Performer of the Week after notching the first 300-yard passing day of his career. He completed 23 of 34 passes for 330 yards and three TDs Sept. 10. The senior co-captain also rushed 11 times for 44 yards and two touchdowns in the triumph. Decker leads the CAA in passing yards per game (246.0) and total offense (282.5), and he is ranked 16th in the NCAA in completions/game (22).

102 WEEKS AND COUNTING: UNH is ranked in the Top 25 for a CAA-best 102nd straight week, the nation's second-longest streak that dates back to Sept. 13, 2004.  William & Mary, at a distant 40 weeks, now has the second-longest ranked streak in the CAA.  Montana's run of 182 consecutive weeks leads the country:

School    Consecutive Weeks Ranked
Montana                   182
UNH                         102
Appalachian State       86
William & Mary           40

UNH WEEK-BY-WEEK RANKINGS:

WEEK    THE SPORTS NETWORK/FATHEAD.COM     FCS COACHES
Preseason              10                                                    10    
Week 1                  13                                                    16
Week 2                  11                                                    12
Week 3                  11                                                    11

SERIES HISTORY- RICHMOND LEADS, 10-9: UNH snapped Richmond's 11-game road winning streak and modest two-game winning streak in the series with a 17-0 shutout Oct. 9, 2010.  The Wildcats, who haven't dropped a home game to the Spiders since  2000,  have failed to claim a victory at Richmond since posting a 42-14 triumph Nov. 5, 1994, en route to a perfect 8-0 Yankee Conference record. The 'Cats are 2-7 all-time at Richmond, including 0-3 in the Coach Mac era.  The series dates back to 1986.  The team's have alternated victories during the last six encounters. UNH hasn't beaten Richmond in back-to-back meetings since the 1993 and '94 seasons:

         
TALE OF THE TAPE:
Totals (CAA Rank)           UNH           RICHMOND    
Total Offense                  389.5 (4)    346.7 (7)
Rush Offense                  134.5 (8)    127.7 (10)
Pass Offense                   255.0 (1)    219.0 (5)
Points Per Game                35.0 (3)    26.0 (7)
Total Defense                 548.5 (11)    297.7 (2)
Rush Defense                 196.0 (10)    113.3 (4)
Pass Defense                  352.5 (11)    184.3 (3)
Scoring Defense               49.5 (11)    15.3 (2)
Possession Avg.              23:50 (11)    32:33 (5)
Sacks Allowed/Yards        5/34 (T-7)    4/34 (T-5)
Sacks Made/Yards            2/15 (T-9)    5/33 (5)
Penalties Against/Yards       9/95 (7)    14/125 (5)
Punts/Net Avg.                8/36.4 (5)    13/34.2 (9)    
Turnover Differential             -4 (10)    -1 (T-8)
3rd Down Conversion%       40.7 (4)    42.9 (3)
4th Down Conversion%   100.0 (T-1)    50 (T-5)
Red Zone Offense%          88.9 (T-3)    75.0 (T-7)

SCOUTING THE SPIDERS: Interim head coach Wayne Lineburg became the third Richmond coach in the modern era (since 1948) to start his inaugural season 3-0 or better (Jim Tait, 3-0, 1974; Jim Reid, 5-0, 1995) when the Spiders dumped VMI, 34-19, on Sept. 17. Richmond is 3-0 for the first time since 2009 when the team opened the year 8-0.  The Spiders now own a 7-1 home record in their second season playing at Robins Stadium (5-1 in 2010). The Spiders climb to 43-12 (since 2007) when playing as a ranked team in the Sports Network Poll.
    Wayne Lineburg was named the interim head coach immediately following the resignation of Latrell Scott on August 23, 2011. Lineburg also serves as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.
    Richmond returns 13 starters and 49 letterwinners from last season's injury-plagued team that started four different QBs throughout the season, yet still entered the final week of the regular season in contention for an NCAA Playoff spot.
    The Spiders boast three members of the 2011 Preseason All-CAA Football Team in senior WR Tre Gray, junior FB Kendall Gaskins and junior K Wil Kamin. Each was a 2010 All-CAA Football selection, with Gaskins earning Third Team All-America honors from the Sports Network.
     Youth will be served by the Spiders in 2011 as 25 players on the preseason two-deep were redshirt sophomores or younger. Last year, Richmond had seven true freshmen see action.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:  Senior WR Tre Gray, with 18 catches and 310 yards through three games in 2011, continues to close in on the Spiders' career records for each.  Gray is currently ranked third all-time in catches and fourth in yards, needing 33 catches and 446 yards to break the respective career marks.  He is tied as CAA Football's second-leading receiver at 6.0 receptions/game and ranks third in receiving yards/game (103.3 yds).  He was a member of the All-CAA First Team in 2010.
    Junior LB Darius McMillan has recorded three straight double-digit tackle performances and leads the Spiders (ranked third in CAA Football) with 33 stops this season.
    Senior QB Aaron Corp returns for his final season of eligibility, and the transfer from USC is looking for an injury-free 2011 after suffering a season-ending knee injury last year in the fifth game at UNH. Corp is regarded as one of the leading FCS signal-callers this year and was listed as one of six NFL draft "sleepers" by The Sporting News.

RICHMOND NOTES VS WILDCATS IN 2010:  QB Aaron Corp was injured and lost for the season during the Wildcats' 17-0 win. Corp's final play was an interception returned 40 yards for a TD by UNH senior safety John Greer.  Backup QB Nick Hicks struggled, completing just 9 of 27 throws for 64 yards and five INTs. Hicks also served as the punter, averaging 46.4 yards on five punts.  The loss snapped Richmond's 11-game FCS road winning streak. Tre Gray led the Spiders with four catches for 27 yards.   Among returning RBs, Kendal Gaskins led the way with 33 yards on eight carries.  LB Darius McMillan collected seven tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss, and forced a fumble.

UNH NOTES VS RICHMOND IN 2010:  WR Joey Orlando recorded a then-career-high 93 receiving yards on seven catches, including a 20-yard TD reception from R.J. Toman. CB Kyle Flemings notched one of the  Wildcats' six interceptions, and LB Matt Evans tied for the team lead with 12 tackles, recording a sack and a fumble recovery.  Mike MacArthur kicked a 34-yard FG.

MILESTONE WATCH:
•RB Dontra Peters needs 50 rushing yards to reach 1,000 for his career.
•WR Mickey Mangieri needs 105 all-purpose yards to reach 500 for his career.
•WR Joey Orlando needs 19 receptions for 100 in his career.

EVANS LEADS NCAA IN TACKLES:  Junior MLB and preseason All-America Matt Evans leads all of FCS football in tackles/game (19.0), solo tackles/game (12.5), total solo tackles (25)  and ranks third in total tackles (38) after two games. Evans posted a career-high 24 tackles, 17 solo, -both career highs- in  UNH's 48-41 OT triumph at Lehigh on Sept. 10. Evans was subsequently named the CAA Defensive Player of the Week and the Beyond Sports Network FCS Defensive Player of the Week.

TOP DECKER: Senior QB Kevin Decker paces the CAA in passing yards/game (246.0) and total offense (282.5), and he is tied for second in scoring/game (10.0). The co-captain is No. 16 in the NCAA in completions/game (22) and No. 20 in passing efficiency (152.46).  

ORLANDO LEADING RECEIVER IN CAA: On the heels of his 10-catch, 166-yard, 3-TD day at Lehigh on Sept. 10, junior WR Joey Orlando finds himself atop the CAA and tied for sixth in the NCAA (FCS) in receptions/game (8.0), second in receiving yards/game (107.5/9th in NCAA) and fifth in all-purpose yards/game (134.5).  Orlando, who returned a punt 56 yards for a TD at Lehigh, garnered the weekly Gold Helmet Award from the N.E. Football Writers and was also named a College Sporting News All-Star, CAA Special Teams Player of the Week, Beyond Sports Network Offensive Player of the Week and the CFPA National Punt Return Performer of the Week.

HARRIS SHINING IN ROOKIE SEASON: Lost in the shadow of Joey Orlando's great start has been R-Fr. WR R.J. Harris. Harris, who has been getting extended playing time at slot receiver due to the injury to Sr. WR Mickey Mangieri (concussion), has 12 catches for 153 yards and a TD in two games, and he is tied with Richmond's Tre Gray for second in the CAA in receptions/game (6.0). His 76.5 receiving yards/game are fourth-best in the conference. Harris played a huge role in the 48-41, overtime win at Lehigh on Sept. 10, nabbing a career-high eight catches for 107 yards.  He registered his first career TD catch (12 yards) and was on the receiving end of Kevin Decker's longest pass of the season -a 39-yard connection that set up Mike MacArthur's game-tying FG late in regulation.

ALL-PURPOSE PETERS: Junior RB/KR Dontra Peters is No. 2 in the CAA in both kick return average (25.4) and all-purpose yardage/game (187.5).  Peters, who had a potential 98-yard kickoff return for a TD wiped out by a penalty Sept. 1 at Toledo, has a season-high return of 57 yards and is also the Wildcats' third-leading rusher with 18 carries for 64 yards.

FLEMINGS THE PICK OF THE LITTER: Senior CB Kyle Flemings recorded his seventh career interception at Lehigh on Sept. 10 when he picked off Chris Lum at the UNH 2-yard line on the final play of the game. Flemings' seven picks are more than the entire  rest of the defense combined. Flemings is the lone returning starter in a defensive backfield that lost four-year starters Dino Vasso (CB) and Hugo Souza (FS) from the 2010 squad, in addition to senior starters John Greer (S), Ryan McGuinness (S) and Mike Perkins (S).

MACARTHUR PUNTS WAY TO CFPA HONORABLE MENTION TWO STRAIGHT WEEKS:  After winning the punting job over Brad Prasky during summer camp, Mike MacArthur was impressive in his punting debut at Toledo on Sept. 1. The North Hampton, N.H., native punted four times for 188 yards, averaging 47.0 yards per punt with a long of 57 yards. He was feted with a College Football Performance Award (CFPA) FCS Honorable Mention as Punter Performer of the Week for week one.  The following week, MacArthur tied his career high with a 57 yard punt at Lehigh, averaging 46.5 yards on his four punts to receive honorable mention for the second straight week.  Through two games, the sophomore leads the CAA and is No. 2 in the NCAA in punting yards/game (46.8), and he is a perfect 2 of 2 in field goal attempts, including a clutch 35-yarder with 3:23 remaining in regulation to force overtime in UNH's 48-41 win at Lehigh on Sept. 10.
 
JEANNOT OUT FOR YEAR: At his weekly media news conference Sept. 14, UNH head coach Sean McDonnell announced that senior TE and pro prospect Chris Jeannot will miss the entire season due to recurring concussion symptoms. At the time of the announcement, the Moon Township, Pa., native ranked in the Top 5 among active Wildcats career-wise in the following categories: receptions (42/2nd); TD receptions (five/2nd); receiving yards (487/2nd); all-purpose yards (497/3rd) and scoring (30 points/5th).  Jeannot, a member of the 2010 CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-District Team and CAA Academic All-Conference Team, had  a career day at Pittsburgh on Sept. 11, 2010, when he hauled in 12 receptions for 110 yards -both personal bests- versus the Panthers.

BUT JEANNOTTE RETURNS: The good news on the injury front is the return to the microphone of Jim Jeannotte, the radio voice of the Wildcats, for the Richmond game Sept. 24.  The 22-time winner of the N.H. Sportscaster of the Year award was sidelined for the first two games of the campaign after undergoing double bypass surgery over the summer.  Jeannotte, the voice of the Wildcats since 1981 whose UNH football broadcasting career dates back to1974, was feted with the  2010 George C. Carens Award, presented annually by the N.E. Football Writers for contributions to New England college football.  He was inducted into the NHIAA Hall of Fame in 2002 and serves on the board of directors of the Joe Yukica New Hampshire chapter of the National Football Foundation. He will work with Bob Lipman, who slides over to color commentary after handling play-by-play duties during Jim's absence on the Wildcat Sports Radio Network.

LAST TIME OUT: UNH-48, LEHIGH-41, OT, SEPT. 10, BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Playing in front of his hometown fans, Joey Orlando scored a career-high three touchdowns, including the 25-yard game-winning reception in overtime, to lift the No. 13/16 UNH football team to a 48-41 triumph over No. 14/14 Lehigh on Sept. 10 at Goodman Stadium. Orlando notched a career-best 166 receiving yards on 10 catches, matching a personal best. The junior wide receiver also recorded a 17-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter that put him over 1,000 career receiving yards and returned a punt for a touchdown in the third quarter. UNH (1-1, 0-0 CAA) evened its record by winning its first overtime game since Nov. 18, 2006, at Maine. Lehigh (1-1, 0-0 Patriot League) suffered its first defeat despite rallying from an 18-point, second-half deficit to grab a 41-38 lead with 4:35 remaining in regulation. The Wildcats forced overtime when Mike MacArthur booted a 35-yard field goal with 3:23 left in regulation. Kevin Decker registered the first 300-yard passing game of his career, completing 23 passes (career-high matching) in 34 attempts for 330 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for a pair of two-yard touchdowns. Decker's final throw of the day came on the first play of OT, when he found Orlando in the front left corner of the end zone. Orlando, who was bumped out of bounds on the play, was able to come back into the field of play to make the tumbling reception. Matt Evans tallied a career-high 24 tackles for a defense that recorded three interceptions, including the game-ending interception by Kyle Flemings at the UNH 2-yard line on the final play of OT. Lehigh quarterback Chris Lum went 36 of 54 for 401 yards and six touchdowns in the losing effort. Jake Drwal led the Mountain Hawks with 11 catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns; Zach Barket added 10 receptions for 84 yards and two touchdown catches. Orlando's career-high 56-yard punt return for a TD with 12:29 left in the third quarter increased New Hampshire's lead to 31-20 following MacArthur's PAT. It was UNH's first punt return for a score since now-Chicago Bear Corey Graham's 51-yarder versus Stony Brook on Sept. 16, 2006. The Wildcats then parlayed their first forced turnover of the season into points when safety Manny Asam picked off Lum at the Mountain Hawks' 29, returning it three yards to the 26. Two plays later, following a 14-yard run by Dontra Peters (11 carries-44 yards), Decker hit R.J. Harris (eight catches-107 yards-TD) for a 12-yard touchdown, the first of Harris' career, with 11:51 left in the third quarter for a 38-20 lead. The Wildcat defense snuffed out Lehigh's next drive when Chris Beranger intercepted Lum's 3rd-and-10 pass from the UNH 14 in the end zone with 6:43 remaining in the third quarter. The Mountain Hawks turned the tables when Sam Laughery stripped Orlando on a punt return, with Tyler Ward recovering at the UNH 11. Three players later, Lum zipped in a 10-yard scoring strike to Drwal that reduced New Hampshire's lead to 38-27 with 2:10 left in the third quarter.  Lehigh forced a UNH punt and then strung together its longest drive of the game. Lum's fifth touchdown pass of the day, a four-yard hookup with Keith Sherman, ended a nine-play, 80-yard drive that milked 4:25 off the clock. The PAT failed, keeping UNH's lead at 38-33 with 11:03 left in the game. The Hawks seized their final lead of the contest when Lum found Drwal for an 11-yard TD on a 4th-and-3 with 4:35 left in the fourth. Ryan Spadola (five catches-70 yards-TD) was on the receiving end of the successful two-point conversion, staking Lehigh to a short-lived 41-38 lead. After receiving the game's opening kickoff, UNH marched 65 yards on nine plays and scored the game's first touchdown when Decker bootlegged for a scoring run on 3rd-and-goal from the 2-yard line. Orlando made two catches for 46 yards on the drive, including a 38-yard reception that put the ball at Lehigh's 2. MacArthur's point-after staked the Wildcats to a 7-0 lead with 12:13 remaining in the first quarter. Lehigh answered right back, orchestrating a seven-play, 64-yard scoring drive on its initial possession. Facing a 4th-and-5, Barket took a short pass from Lum and raced 26 yards to the end zone for his first TD of the game. The PAT tied the game, 7-7, with 9:32 left in the first quarter. The Lum-to-Barket connection would gave the Mountain Hawks their first lead of the contest with 4:06 left in the first when the backpedaling signal caller lofted a fade to the running back along the right sideline for a 10-yard touchdown. The six-play drive was preceded by cornerback Bryan Andrews' interception of a Decker pass, which was returned 15 yards to the UNH 45. Wildcat defensive tackle Jared Smith (Greencastle, Pa.) blocked the extra point attempt, holding Lehigh's lead at 13-6. The Wildcats went back on top, 14-13, by engineering a 14-play, 75-yard drive on their next possession. Decker accounted for 65 of those yards, throwing for 50 yards on 6-of-6 passing and carrying four times for an additional 15 yards. He finished off the drive with his second score of the day, spinning away from a tackle on a two-yard touchdown rush. MacArthur's PAT snapped the tie with 14:05 left in the second quarter. Once again, though, the Mountain Hawks moved back in front by putting together a seven-play, 78-yard drive. Lum threw his third touchdown pass of the day, a 12-yard strike to Spadola, giving Lehigh a 20-14 lead with 10:18 left in the first half.   The fourth lead change of the first half came with 7:16 left before the intermission. The Wildcats went 70 yards on eight plays, culminating with Decker, rolling to his left, finding Orlando in the end zone for a 17-yard scoring pass that permitted UNH to recapture the lead, 21-20. Orlando, who had earlier kept the drive alive by leaping for a six-yard, 4th-and-2 reception at the Lehigh 23, went over the 1,000-yard receiving mark for his career with the touchdown grab.
UNH increased its lead to 24-20 on MacArthur's first field goal of the season, a 25-yarder with 44 seconds remaining in the half. Decker was 4-of-5 for 73 yards on the drive, with Justin Mello making a career-high 31-yard reception and Harris hauling in a pair of passes for 31 yards on the 10-play, 80-yard excursion.

FOLLOWING A BYE:  UNH has had mixed results when playing after a bye week, posting a 7-5 mark in the Coach Mac era, though only 3-4 in the last seven encounters.  In 2010, UNH had its school-record 12-game home winning streak snapped by William & Mary, 13-3,  at Cowell Stadium following an open week. Here are results for UNH following an open week in the Coach Mac era:
Date               Opponent        H/A    Score    W/L
10/16/99        Northeastern     A    33-21     W
10/14/00        Richmond          A    10-31     L
9/22/01          Dartmouth        A    42-38     W
10/12/02        Richmond          H    20-19     W
11/8/03          James Madison  H    20-17     W
10/16/04        Massachusetts    H    21-38     L
9/17/05          Towson              A    62-21     W
9/9/06            Northwestern     A    34-17     W
9/8/07            James Madison   A    24-41     L
10/18/08        William & Mary    H    34-38    L
9/26/09          Dartmouth          H    44-14    W
11/6/10          William & Mary    H    3-13      L    

GRUELING SCHEDULE: In 2010, UNH set a school record by knocking off five ranked opponents en route to a national-leading seventh consecutive appearance in the NCAA D-I FCS Championship tournament. The Wildcats face arguably a tougher slate in 2011. Following the season-opening loss at Toledo on Sept. 1, an FBS school that went to a bowl game last season, UNH continued a month-long road trip with an overtime victory at then-No. 14/16 Lehigh on Sept. 10.  Next up: a date with No. 5/7 Richmond this weekend.  All told, five of New Hampshire's 9 remaining opponents are currently ranked and the other four are in the others-receiving-votes category.  Here is a look at the list of opponents and their current rankings:

Date    Home/Away    Opponent     TSN    Coaches
9/10    Away                  Lehigh          15    16
9/24    Away                Richmond         5    7
10/1    Home              Holy Cross        RV    RV
10/8    Home               Villanova         RV    RV
10/15    Away          William & Mary      6    5
10/22    Neutral             UMass           17    19
11/5    Home           James Madison    12    10
11/12    Away              Towson           RV    N/A
11/19    Home              Maine            RV    N/A

Italics = game played already


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