November 29, 2012

Five Football Players Named to 2012 All-New England Team

BOSTON – A total of five University of New Hampshire student-athletes on the 11th-ranked football team were voted to the 2012 New England Football Writers Division I FCS All-New England Team, the organization announced Wednesday.

On the defensive side of the ball, seniors Matt Evans (Hanover, Mass.), Dontra Peters (Annapolis, Md.) and Jared Smith (Greencastle, Pa.) were selected to the All-New England Team. Junior left tackle Seamus O'Neill (Manchester, N.H.) and sophomore wide receiver R.J. Harris (Odenton, Md.) were honored on offense.

UNH, which had the second highest number of representatives on the 2012 squad, had four 'Cats receive this distinction each of the previous three seasons. Five is UNH's highest number of All-New England Team members since that many Wildcats were honored in 2005.

It marked the second accolade of the month for all five Wildcats. Evans, Harris, O'Neill and Smith were named to the CAA All-Conference First Team and Peters was a Second Team selection.

MATT EVANS DONTRA PETERS JARED SMITH SEAMUS O'NEILL R.J. HARRIS

Evans, an All-New England Team honoree for the second consecutive year, is the CAA league leader in total tackles (115) and solo tackles (77), and the co-captain ranks second in tackles/game (10.5). With those numbers, the middle linebacker is No. 19 in the nation in tackles per game.

Evans, New Hampshire's all-time tackle leader (449) and the 2011 Buck Buchanan Award winner as the national FCS defensive player of the year, was this year's CAA Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

Peters, who made the All-CAA Third Team as a running back in 2010, notched a place on the conference's Second Team in his first season as a cornerback. The senior co-captain is tied for third in the league with four interceptions, and his eight pass breakups are good for eighth. In the national rankings, he is 15th in interceptions. In nine games, Peters has notched 49 tackles, a forced fumble and has added 10 kickoff returns for 268 yards to pace the Wildcats with 26.8 yards/return.

Smith, a defensive tackle, leads the Wildcats in tackles for loss (9.0), sacks (4.0), and blocked kicks (three). His two forced fumbles are tied for second in the CAA. The defensive tackle and Senior Bowl Watch List representative has accumulated 36 tackles, including 23 solo, in 10 games – all starts.

O'Neill, who has started 23 consecutive games at left tackle, anchors the front line for an offense ranked second in the CAA in scoring (36.5 points/game), total offense (470.9 yards/game) and rushing (234.2 yards/game) as well as third in passing (236.7 yards/game). UNH is No. 9 in the nation in total offense and 10th in scoring.

Harris, the CAA's leader in receiving yards/game (89.2) and total receiving yards (981), ranks second in the league in receptions (73) and receptions/game (6.6), and his team-leading nine TD catches rank third in the conference. He is ranked 18th nationally in receptions per game and 23rd in receiving yards per game.

The players will be honored at the New England Football Writers Captains and Awards Banquet on Thursday, Dec. 6, at the Montvale Plaza, in Stoneham, Mass.  People interested in attending should contact Dick Lipe at 781-891-2334 no later than Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. The buffet, priced at $40.00, will be open to parents, alumni and fans. Tables will be filled as attendees arrive. Only purchasers of tables of 10 will be guaranteed to sit together.

New Hampshire (8-3 overall, 6-2 CAA) will venture to Spartanburg, S.C., to challenge No. 9 Wofford (8-3, 6-2 SoCon), the co-champions of the Southern Conference, in the second round of the NCAA Division I Football Championship on Saturday, Dec. 1, at Gibbs Stadium (2 p.m). The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.

The Wildcats are playing in the postseason for the ninth consecutive year, the longest active streak in the nation.

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