GAME NOTES: No. 21 Football Battles No. 4 Maine For Brice-Cowell Musket (Nov. 23; 12 p.m.)
No. 21/24 New Hampshire (6-4, 5-2 CAA) vs No. 4/4 Maine (10-1, 7-0 CAA)
Nov. 23, 2013 • 12 p.m. • Cowell Stadium • Durham, N.H.
Radio: Wildcat Sports Radio Network
Bob Lipman (play-by-play) • Chris Chandler (analyst)
Television: Comcast SportsNet New England
Brent Harris (play-by-play) • Andy Gresh (analyst)
New Hampshire is unbeaten in four home games at Cowell Stadium, a.k.a The Dungeon, this season. The Wildcats have outscored the opposition 174-87 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 32-4 at Cowell Stadium. The 'Cats have recorded wins in 13 of their last 14 home games and are 23-2 in their last 25 matchups in the Dungeon – that includes perfect marks in both 2011 (5-0) and 2009 (6-0).
This Saturday marks the 101st meeting between the UNH and Maine football programs. New Hampshire has claimed the Brice-Cowell Musket, which goes to the game's victor, nine of the last 10 years.
The Brice-Cowell Musket, named after former Maine coach Fred Brice and former UNH coach William Cowell, has gone to the winner of the game since the late 1940s. The musket is a flintlock rifle made by Ebenezer Nutting of Falmouth, Maine, somewhere between 1722-45. The George I period rifle has a 43-inch barrel and is rifled to a .65 caliber.
UNH has won five of its last six games – all in CAA conference play.
Maine enters the showdown with a seven-game win streak and claimed the CAA regular-season title with last Saturday's 41-0 win against Rhode Island.
Mike MacArthur has been living up to the nickname "Money Mike" with 10 consecutive made field goal attempts; his last miss was a 49-yarder Sept. 14 vs. Colgate. MacArthur has made 11 of 13 FG attempts this season to lead the CAA and rank No. 11 in the nation in field goal percentage (.846).
Dalton Crossan was honored as CAA Rookie of the Week on Monday; it marked the second time this season he received that award (Oct. 21). Crossan recorded 185 all-purpose yards with two TDs Nov. 16 at Albany.
Saturday's game is Senior Day for UNH, which will recognize 15 seniors playing in their last regular-season game at The Dungeon.
UNH vs. MAINE: THE ALL-TIME SERIES: New Hampshire has a 49-43-8 lifetime record against Maine in the program's longest running rivalry. The Wildcats have won nine of the last 10 encounters and that includes 28-21 on the road last year, which marked the 100th meeting.
In the Sean McDonnell era, UNH has a 9-5 record against the Black Bears. Here is a look at the series since Coach Mac took the helm in 1999.
Date H/A UNH M W L Result
11/20/99 H 20 31 0 1 L
11/18/00 A 10 55 0 2 L
11/17/01 H 24 57 0 3 L
11/23/02 A 14 31 0 4 L
11/22/03 H 47 27 1 4 W
11/20/04 A 50 36 2 4 W
11/19/05 H 59 47 3 4 W
11/18/06 A 19 13 4 4 W ot
11/17/07 H 39 14 5 4 W
11/22/08 A 28 24 6 4 W
11/21/09 H 27 24 7 4 W
10/02/10 A 13 16 7 5 L ot
11/19/11 H 30 27 8 5 W
10/20/12 A 28 21 9 5 W
HISTORY OF THE BRICE-COWELL MUSKET: The Brice-Cowell Musket, named after former Maine coach Fred Brice and former UNH coach William Cowell, has gone to the winner of the game since the late 1940s. The musket is a flintlock rifle made by Ebenezer Nutting of Falmouth, Maine, somewhere between 1722-45. The George I period rifle has a 43-inch barrel and is rifled to a .65 caliber.
SCOUTING THE BLACK BEARS: The University of Maine (Orono, Maine), ranked No. 4 in both national polls, travels to UNH with a 10-1 record and seven-game win streak dating back to its only loss of the season – 35-21 at (then) 16th-ranked Northwestern University on Sept. 21.
The Black Bears clinched the CAA title with last weekend's 41-0 victory at home against the University of Rhode Island. Prior to that game, Maine recorded small margins of victory against both Stony Brook (19-14) and Albany (33-27).
Maine has defeated three nationally-ranked teams during its win streak, which began with a road win against No. 20 Richmond and continued at home vs. No. 24 Delaware. The Black Bears also defeated No. 18 Villanova. [All rankings at date of game.]
Maine has a strong passing attack and is equally strong defending the pass. The Black Bears lead the CAA in both completion percentage (.695) and pass efficiency (159.62) – those numbers rank No. 2 in the nation in completion pct. and No. 7 in pass efficiency. Maine is also atop the CAA – second in the country – in pass efficiency defense by holding opposing QBs to a mark of 96.48.
Also of note, Maine ranks 10th in the nation in time of possession (32:47) and leads the CAA in turnover margin.
MAINE PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior quarterback Marcus Wasilewski ranks in the top 20 in six national statistics, including third in completion percentage (.697) and eighth in pass efficiency (160.9). He is also 14th in passing yards (2,789) and 16th in passing TDs (23).
The top targets are John Ebeling (54 catches-614 yards) and Derrick Johnson (51-508). The ground game is led by Rickey Stevens (108 carries-606 yards-six TDs) and Nigel Jones (126-571-8). Wasilewski has a team-high 127 carries for 458 yards.
Maine's defense is led by Christophe Mulumba (98 tackles) and Cabrinni Congclaves (77 tackles, four sacks, six pass breakups, two forced fumbles).
CAPITAL MILESTONES: A handful of Wildcats recorded personal milestones in the Nov. 16 game at Albany. Senior placekicker Mike MacArthur climbed two spots to No. 7 on the CAA career leaderboard for field goals made with three FGs at Albany, which increased his total to 47. He surpassed both Brian Pate (45) and Brett Sterba (46).
With 85 receiving yards vs. Albany, junior wide receiver R.J. Harris increased his career total to 2,304 to climb past Keith LeVan (2,234) into No. 7 on the program's leaderboard.
Junior running back Nico Steriti eclipsed 3,000 career all-purpose yards with 78 (19 rush yds, 59 kickoff return yds) against the Great Danes. He currently leads all 'Cats with a total of 3,023 all-purpose yards.
Sophomore quarterback Sean Goldrich surpassed 1,000 passing yards for the season during a 114-yard effort in Albany. That number increased Goldrich's season total to 1,087 passing yards.
HE. COULD. GO. ALL. THE. WAY: In the Nov. 16 game at Albany, redshirt freshman running back Dalton Crossan recorded a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to give UNH a 34-20 lead at 8:04 of the fourth quarter. Prior to Crossan, the Wildcats' most recent kickoff return for a TD occurred Sept. 4, 2010, when Terrance Fox scored on a 91-yard return.
CAREER HIGHS: Led by Akil Anderson and Shane McNeely, a total of six Wildcats recorded career highs in tackles last week at Albany. Both linebackers tallied a team-high 12 tackles vs. the Great Danes. Defensive end Jay Colbert finished with a personal-best seven tackles, as did defensive tackle Sean McCann and safety Tre Williams, who also registered his first career sack.
OUT OF CHARACTER: New Hampshire was penalized 11 times for 137 yards in the 37-20 win at Albany on Nov. 16. In contrast, the Wildcats were called for a total of 13 penalties for 121 yards the previous five games (spanning Oct. 12 to Nov. 9). That stretch began with one penalty for 10 yards against Rhode Island and the 'Cats were not penalized the next game vs. Villanova.
The last time UNH recorded 100+ penalty yards in a game had been Sept. 24, 2011 vs. Richmond (106).
RETURN TO RUNNING FORM: UNH ran the ball 38 times for 178 yards (4.7 yards/carry) last week at Albany. That exceeded the combined total of 170 running yards the previous two games against William & Mary (84) and James Madison (86) and marked the team's best yards per carry since the fifth game of the year vs. Rhode Island (season-best 7.7 yards/carry).
STERITI RUNNING TOWARD 2,000: Junior RB Nico Steriti entered UNH's Top 10 list in career rushing yards during his 68-yard effort vs. James Madison on Nov. 9, when he surpassed both Curt Collins and Jim Quinn. He needs 22 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. Nico Steriti (2011-present) 1,978
HARRIS AMONG BEST IN SCHOOL HISTORY: Junior WR R.J. Harris climbed to No. 7 on UNH's career receiving yards list during an 85-yard effort Nov. 16 at Albany. He will advance another spot on the list with 13 more receiving yards.
Harris ascended to sixth place for UNH's all-time receptions list and eighth place on UNH's all-time receiving yards list (2,219) following a 10-catch, 170-yard performance in a win against James Madison on Nov. 9. He will move into the Top 5 with eight more.
1. David Ball (2003-06) 4,655
5. Chris Braune (1986-89) 2,612
6. Mike Boyle (2005-08) 2,317
7. R.J. Harris (2011-present) 2,304
8 Keith LeVan (2004-07) 2,234
1. David Ball (2003-06) 304
4. John Perry (1989-92) 191
5. David Gamble (1990-93) 182
6. R.J. Harris (2011-present) 174
7. Joey Orlando (2009-12) 168
MONEY MIKE IS ALL-TIME FG KING: Senior Mike MacArthur took over UNH's all-time lead in field goals by successfully hitting a 23-yard attempt – the 41st make of his career – in the third quarter of the Wildcats' 29-28 victory vs. Villanova at Cowell Stadium on Oct. 19.
MacArthur, who surpassed Connor McCormick (40, 2002-05), climbed into a tie for ninth place on the CAA leaderboard with field goals of 29 and 35 yards against James Madison (Nov. 9); the 35-yarder matched his long for the season.
He matched his personal best of three FGs in a game with makes of 31, 33 and 34 yards Nov. 16 at Albany, and he vaulted into seventh place on the conference leaderboard. Here is a look at the CAA all-time FG made list.
Rank FG Name School Years
1. 59 Greg Kuehn W&M 2002-05
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. 47 Mike MacArthur UNH 2010-13
8. 46 Brett Sterba W&M 1997-2000
9. 45 Brian Pate W&M 2006-09
DOUBLING UP: R.J. Harris (183) and Justin Mello (123) became the first UNH duo to exceed 100 receiving yards in the same game (Nov. 9 vs. James Madison) since Harris and Joey Orlando accomplished the feat Aug. 30, 2012 at Holy Cross.
AN UNLIKELY SOURCE: On his first career pass attempt, junior running back Nico Steriti completed a 52-yard halfback-option touchdown pass to classmate R.J. Harris to give UNH a 14-0 lead at 3:58 of the second quarter against James Madison on Nov. 9. It marked the Wildcats' longest TD pass of the season and second-longest pass play in the 2013 season (to the 53-yard Andy Vailas to Justin Mello play vs. Colgate, Sept. 14).
QB MILESTONES: Junior quarterback Andy Vailas surpassed 1,000 passing yards in the 2013 season during his career-high 397-yard effort Nov. 9 vs. James Madison.
Vailas eclipsed 3,000 career total offense yards in the Nov. 2 game at William & Mary, when he recorded 122 passing yards and 19 rushing yards to increase his total to 3,071. He also reached 1,000 yards total offense for the season in that game.
Sophomore quarterback Sean Goldrich surpassed 2,500 career total offense yards at William & Mary. With 106 passing yards and 11 rushing yards vs. the Tribe, Goldrich increased his total to 2,581.
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.
CAREER DAY FOR 'CATS VS. JMU: Junior quarterback Andy Vailas completed 28 of 49 assists for 397 yards – all career highs – Nov. 9 vs. James Madison.
Senior wide receiver Justin Mello tallied personal bests in both catches (10) and receiving yards (123). It marked his fourth 100-yard yard receiving game of the season and fifth of his career.
Junior wide receiver R.J. Harris hauled in a career-high three touchdown catches vs. the Dukes.
On the defensive side of the ball, junior cornerback Steven Thames and redshirt defensive back Casey DeAndrade both matched their career highs in tackles with six apiece. DeAndrade finished with five solo tackles and one assisted while Thames tallied four solo and two assisted.
Senior safety Manny Asam eclipsed 200 career tackles during his six-tackle effort against James Madison (Nov. 9). He currently has 205 tackles.
Senior defensive tackle Sean McCann eclipsed 100 career tackles with the first of his three tackles Nov. 9 against James Madison. He currently has 102 tackles.
A REGAL EFFORT VS. THE DUKES: New Hampshire recorded season highs in yards passing (449), pass attempts (50), pass completions (29–tie), TD passes (three–tie), total plays (82) and interceptions (two–tie) against James Madison on Nov. 9.
Defensively, the Wildcats shut out the Dukes in the first half; one week earlier, the 'Cats blanked William & Mary in the fourth quarter for a total of three consecutive scoreless quarters by the opposition.
CROSSAN NAMED CAA ROOKIE OF THE WEEK (Nov. 18): Redshirt freshman running back Dalton Crossan was honored as CAA Rookie of the Week on Nov. 19. He made the most of his three touches by scoring two TDs and compiling 185 all-purpose yards (51 rushing, 134 kickoff return) in the Wildcats' 37-20 victory at Albany on Nov. 16. On his only carry of the game, Crossan scored on a 51-yard scamper to give the 'Cats a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter. He also had a 93-yard kickoff return for a TD that extended UNH's advantage to 34-20 at 8:17 of the fourth quarter.
NATION-LEADING NINE STRAIGHT FCS POSTSEASONS: UNH has qualified for the NCAA FCS Championship tournament for nine consecutive years, the longest span in the nation. Here is a breakdown of UNH's all-time postseason record (home games in BOLD), beginning with its lone bowl appearance in 1947 at the Glass Bowl:
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-Cook. W, 45-20
2010 FCS Quarterfinals Delaware L, 3-16
2011 FCS Second Round Montana State L, 25-26
2012 FCS Second Round Wofford L, 7-23
Total Record: 7-14 • Coach McDonnell Record: 6-9