GAME NOTES: No. 25 Football Welcomes No. 22/18 James Madison to The Dungeon (Nov. 9; 12:30 pm)
No. 25/RV New Hampshire (4-4, 3-2 CAA) vs No. 22/18 James Madison (6-3, 3-2 CAA)
Nov. 9, 2013 • 12:30 p.m. • Cowell Stadium • Durham, N.H.
Television: NBC Sports Network
Todd Harris (play-by-play) • Anthony Herron (analyst)
Radio: Wildcat Sports Radio Network
Bob Lipman (play-by-play) • Chris Chandler (analyst)
Television: NBC Sports Network
Live Stats: http://livestats.prestosports.com/unhwildcats/
New Hampshire is unbeaten in three home games at Cowell Stadium, a.k.a The Dungeon, this season. The Wildcats have outscored the opposition 141-70 and have scored more than 50 points in a game twice – season-high 59 vs. Rhode Island (Oct. 12) and 53 vs. Colgate (Sept. 14).
Since the start of the 2007 season, the Wildcats are 31-4 at Cowell Stadium. The 'Cats have recorded wins in 12 of their last 13 home games and are 22-2 in their last 24 matchups in the Dungeon – that includes perfect marks in both 2011 (5-0) and 2009 (6-0).
UNH's three-game winning streak ended last weekend (Nov. 2) with a 17-0 loss at William & Mary.
Both UNH and James Madison are 3-1 the last four games.
JMU is winless in three road games this season with losses at Akron (35-33; Sept. 7), Delaware (29-22; Sept. 28) and William & Mary (17-7; Oct. 26).
One of the story lines will be UNH's rushing offense, which ranks third in the CAA at 210.4 yards per game, against JMU's rush defense, which is best in the league and No. 6 in the nation by yielding 99.6 yards/game.
Both UNH and JMU are highly efficient in the red zone. The Dukes lead the CAA with points (field goal or touchdown) on 87.1% of its red zone possessions and the Wildcats rank third at 84.8%.
Including rushing offense and red zone offense, the Wildcats are among the CAA leaders in four offensive categories. They are second in fourth down conversion percentage (.643) as well as third in total offense (441.5 yards/game).
Since the start of the 2004 season, UNH has lost consecutive regular-season games just four times – once in the 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2013 seasons.
UNH looks to record its third straight win in the series vs. JMU. Prior to defeating the Dukes in 2010 and 2011, the Wildcats had not won back-to-back games in the series.
UNH-JMU ALL-TIME SERIES (Even, 7-7): New Hampshire has won each of the last two meetings against James Madison to level the all-time series at seven wins apiece. It is the only time in the series, which dates back to 1982, that the Wildcats have won two consecutive games vs. the Dukes.
UNH head coach Sean McDonnell has a 4-5 record against JMU and Dukes' head coach Mickey Matthews; both coaches started at their respective programs the same season (1999). Four of those games have been decided by seven points or less (2-2 record), and four others have ended in a scoring margin of at least 14 points (2-2 record).
The 'Cats have a 4-3 home record against James Madison; they have won consecutive home games just once – in 2001 (26-19) and 2003 (20-17). Also of note, the Dukes are winless in two November trips to Cowell Stadium (2003; 20-17 ... 2011; 28-10).
Here is the breakdown of the UNH-JMU all-time series:
Date H/A UNH JMU W L Result
Bill Bowes Era (3-2)
09/04/82 A 28 6 1 0 W
10/16/93 A 21 45 1 1 L
09/17/94 H 27 24 2 1 W
10/14/95 H 19 23 2 2 L
09/28/96 A 39 22 3 2 W
Sean McDonnell Era (4-5)
09/18/99 H 28 35 3 3 L
09/30/00 A 13 24 3 4 L
09/08/01 H 26 19 4 4 W
09/07/02 A 14 20 4 5 L
11/08/03 H 20 17 5 5 W
10/14/06 H 23 42 5 6 L
09/08/07 A 24 41 5 7 L
10/16/10 A 28 14 6 7 W
11/05/11 H 28 10 7 7 W
SCOUTING THE DUKES: No. 22/18 James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Va.) enters Saturday's game at UNH with a 6-3 overall record after defeating (then) No. 20 Villanova University, 31-21, at home on Nov. 2; that win also improved the CAA league record to 3-2. JMU is unbeaten at home but winless on the road this season; the Dukes' previous travels were to Akron, Delaware and William & Mary.
JMU leads the CAA in rushing defense (99.6 yards/game) as well as sacks (3.22/game) and tackles for a loss (7.20/game). With those numbers, the Dukes rank No. 6 in the nation in rushing defense and No. 7 in sacks. They are also 13th in total defense (321.8 yards/game) and 15th in scoring defense (20.8 points/game).
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Stephon Robertson spearheads the defense with a nation-leading 12.3 tackles/game. He also leads the CAA and is No. 7 nationally in tackles for a loss (1.7/game).
Dae'Quan Scott is No. 3 in the CAA and 30th in the nation in all-purpose yards (128.67/game). He ranks fourth in the league in both rushing yards/game (98.8) and rushing TDs (eight).
NATIONAL NUMBERS: UNH is ranked in the top 25 in five national statistics – No. 6 least penalized (34.6 yards/game); No. 24 rush offense (210.4 yards/game), No. 24 total offense (441.5 yds/game), No. 24 completion percentage (63.9%) and No. 23 in fourth down conversion (64.3%).
TACKLING THE TRIBE Redshirt freshman linebacker DeVaughn Chollette recorded career highs in solo tackles (five), assisted tackles (seven) and total tackles (12) Nov. 2 at William & Mary. It marked the second consecutive week he established a personal best in total tackles; one week earlier, Chollette finished with seven tackles at Stony Brook. Sophomore linebacker Akil Anderson recorded two tackles for a loss at William & Mary. Redshirt freshman defensive back Casey DeAndrade recorded a career-high four pass breakups against the Tribe; he had three breakups against both Central Michigan and Rhode Island.
UNH's defense shut out William & Mary in the first and fourth quarters, and the Tribe's second-quarter TD drive was only 37 yards following a Wildcat turnover. The Wildcats surrendered a season-low 14 first downs.
QUARTERBACK MILESTONES: Junior quarterback Andy Vailas eclipsed 3,000 career total offense yards in the Nov. 2 game at William & Mary. With 122 passing yards and 19 rushing yards, Vailas now has 3,071 total offense yards. He also reached 1,000 yards total offense for the season and is currently at 1,019.
Sophomore quarterback Sean Goldrich surpassed 2,500 career total offense yards last week at William & Mary. With 106 passing yards and 11 rushing yards vs. the Tribe, Goldrich increased his total to 2,581.
CLEAN LIVING: New Hampshire was called for five penalties for 35 yards last week at William & Mary, and that marked the team's highest totals in both penalties and penalty yards since Oct. 5 at Towson (7-36). The past four weeks, UNH has been penalized 9 times for 60 yards, and that included no penalties Oct. 19 against Villanova. UNH is the least penalized team in the CAA (34.6 yards/game) as well as No. 6 in the nation.
NOVEMBER REIGN: New Hampshire has not had a losing record in November since 2007, when the 'Cats went 1-3 (including a postseason loss). UNH had winning marks in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, and went 1-1 last November.
IT HAD BEEN A WHILE New Hampshire was held below 100 rushing yards for the first time in 2013 when the Wildcats had 26 carries for 84 yards at William & Mary (Nov. 2). The previous time UNH didn't amass at least 100 rushing yards in a game was the 2012 NCAA playoff game at Wofford (34 carries, 73 yards). The game at W&M also marked season lows in rushes (26) and yards per rush (3.2).
IT HAD BEEN A LONG WHILE: UNH's 17-0 loss at William & Mary marked the first time since Sept. 23, 1995 that the Wildcats were shut out. The Tribe was also the opponent that date.
AERIAL ATTACK: New Hampshire recorded season highs in both completions (29) and pass attempts (46) Nov. 2 at William & Mary. Starting quarterback Sean Goldrich went 12 of 17 for 106 yards and Andy Vailas was 17 of 29 for 122 yards. Despite the high number of completions and attempts, the 228 passing yards marked the third-lowest total in eight games and the 5.0 yards per pass was a season low.
VALUING POSSESSION UNH entered November ranked second in the CAA in turnover margin at +2, but the Wildcats committed three turnovers and was -3 last weekend at William & Mary; it is New Hampshire's worst turnover margin this season, and that game marked the second time in 2013 the UNH defense did not record a turnover.
BACK IN OCTOBER: UNH went 3-1 in October and closed the month with three consecutive wins. Nico Steriti was the top rusher with 63 carries for 327 yards (5.2 yards/carry) and three TDs. Sean Goldrich had a 153.53 pass efficiency rating by completing 60 of 92 attempts (65.2%) for 716 yards and seven TDs with just one interception. Justin Mello was the top target through the air with 23 catches for 281 yards and five touchdowns.
BE MELLO: Senior wide receiver Justin Mello recorded career highs in receptions (eight) and touchdowns (three) last week at Stony Brook. He also finished with 110 receiving yards, which is seven less than his personal best established in the season opener at Central Michigan.
Mello is tied for the CAA lead in touchdown receptions with six.
DEFENSIVE CLAMPS: UNH's defense forced three turnovers (two interceptions, one fumble) Oct. 26 at Stony Brook, which tied the season high established Oct. 5 at Towson and matched Oct. 12 vs. Rhode Island. The Wildcats limited Stony Brook to 286 yards of offense to mark the second-lowest total by an opponent in 2013; the 'Cats held Colgate to 278 yards in the Sept. 14 home opener.
STERITI RUNNING TOWARD 2,000: Junior RB Nico Steriti is within 36 rushing yards of cracking UNH's all-time Top-10, he is 56 yards away from the No. 9 spot and he needs 109 ground yards to reach the 2,000-yard mark for his career:
UNH All-Time Leading Rushers
1. Jerry Azumah (1995-98) 6,193
8. Avrom Smith (1991-94) 2,237
9. Jim Quinn (1979-82) 1,947
10. Curt Collins (1980-82) 1,927
-- Nico Steriti (2011-present) 1,891
MONEY MIKE IS ALL-TIME FG KING: Senior place kicker Mike MacArthur took over UNH's all-time lead in field goals by successfully hitting a 23-yard try --the 41st of his career- in the third quarter of the Wildcats' 29-28 victory over Villanova at Cowell Stadium on Oct. 19. MacArthur, who surpassed Connor McCormick (40, 2002-05), took over sole possession of 10th place on the CAA all-time list with his 33-yard FG at Stony Brook on Oct. 26.
Rank FG Name School Years
1. 59 Greg Kuehn W&M 2002-05
2. 55 Andrew Howard Richmond 2006-09
3. 50 Chris Onorato Hofstra 2000-04
4. 49 Rob Zarrilli Hofstra 2005-07
T-5. 48 Miro Kesic Northeastern 2002-05
T-5. 48 Brian Shallcross W&M 1994-97
7. 46 Brett Sterba W&M 1997-2000
8. 45 Brian Pate W&M 2006-09
9. 44 Brandon Hanes Northeastern 1994-97
10. 42 Mike MacArthur UNH 2010-13
GOLDRICH STRIKES GOLD: Sophomore quarterback Sean Goldrich was feted as the Ray Gallant Insurance New England Football Writers' Gridiron Club of Boston Gold Helmet Award recipient for the week of Oct. 21. Wednesday's announcement on the campus of Harvard University followed Goldrich's outstanding performance in the Wildcats' come-from-behind 29-28 upset victory against then-No. 12 Villanova on Oct. 19. The signal caller, who made his second straight start, matched a career high with 21 completions (in 28 attempts), threw for 236 yards and accounted for three touchdowns –two rushing, one passing. He even made his first career catch on a 15-yard pass from Jared Allison.
Goldrich scored on a 6-yard scamper with 8:13 left in the third quarter to draw the 'Cats within 14-12, and he hooked up with Allison for an 8-yard scoring pass that capped a 14-play, 99-yard drive that staked UNH to a 21-14 advantage with 5:03 left in the fourth quarter. He saved his best for last when he orchestrated a 50-yard drive in the final 1:02 of regulation, and he improvised on a broken play to score on a 4-yard keeper with 14 seconds left.
HARRIS AMONG BEST IN SCHOOL HISTORY: Junior WR R.J. Harris climbed into an eighth-place tie for all-time receptions (160) and ninth place on UNH's all-time receiving yards list (2,036) following a four-catch, 44-yard performance in a win against URI on Oct. 12.
Harris is within 95 yards and eight receptions of catching former teammate Joey Orlando for No. 8 and No. 6 all-time, respectively.
1. David Ball (2003-06) 4,655
2. David Gamble (1990-93) 3,072
3. Curtis Olds (1985-88) 3,028
4. John Perry (1989-92) 2,873
5. Chris Braune (1986-89) 2,612
6. Mike Boyle (2005-08) 2,317
7 Keith LeVan (2004-07) 2,234
8. Joey Orlando (2009-12) 2,131
9. R.J. Harris (2011-present) 2,036
10. Scott Sicko (2006-09) 2,023
1. David Ball (2003-06) 304
2. Keith LeVan (2004-07) 201
3. Curtis Olds (1985-88) 193
4. John Perry (1989-92) 191
5. David Gamble (1990-93) 182
6. Joey Orlando (2009-12) 168
7. Stephan Lewis (1999-2002) 164
T-8. R.J. Harris (2011-present) 160
T-8. Scott Sicko (2006-09) 160
LIFE AFTER COCCIA: Oct. 26 at Stony Brook marked the first game the Wildcats were without Mike Coccia at center since Dec. 10, 2010. Coccia started the first 30 games of his collegiate career, but he underwent season-ending shoulder surgery Oct. 21. Redshirt freshman Tad McNeely has taken over at center with classmate Alexander Morrill settling in at left guard.