UNH senior quarterback Ricky Santos had a solid game, throwing for two TDs and running for a 26-yard score in D-I, Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA) action. When he hit his first touchdown pass of the contest, Ricky Santos was at his 100th career passing TD. This breaks the all-time Colonial Athletic Association mark. He also became the all-time CAA leader in completions, surpassing the total of 868 by Villanova's Chris Boden. The Wildcats (0-1, 0-1 CAA) drew first blood following a big fumble recovery by sophomore defensive lineman T.J. Taylor. UNH then scored on a 19-yard touchdown pass by Santos to junior wide receive Mike Boyle. The play capped off a 10 play, 55-yard drive that lasted 4:21.
The Dukes (1-1, 1-0 CAA), coached by former Marshall assistant Mickey Mathews, answered quickly at 4:20 of the first quarter with a 36 yd field goal by Dave Stannard, the first of his career, making the score 7-3 in favor of UNH. Mathews was the defensive coordinator for Jim Donnan at Marshall, helping the Herd to one National Championship in 1992 and three other title game appearances. Mathews won the I-AA title two years ago at JMU.
Senior punt returner Jeff Pammer returned a punt 48-yards to give UNH the ball on the JMU seven yard line. UNH drove to the JMU one, and was forced to kick a field goal by sophomore Tom Manning. to give the Wildcats a 10-3 advantage at 11;19 of the second stanza. JMU tied the game with 6:00 remaining in the second quarter on a short touchdown run by Antoinne Bolton. Santos then engineered an exciting 9-play, 71-yard drive capped off with a short touchdown pass by Santos to senior wide receiver Keith LeVan to give the Wildcats a 17-10 advantage with just 1:16 to play before the half. But back came JMU, who with with 20 seconds to go in the first hald scored from the nine on a run by quarterback Rodney Landers to tie the score, 17-17. heading into the intermission.
New Hampshire quarterback Ricky Santos won the Walter Payton award last season as the top player in I-AA and is a front-runner to be the first two-time winner of the award. Michael Payton and Mike Barber won the award as I-AA's top player in 1992 and 1988, respectively, for Marshall. photo by unhwildcats.com
Santos regained the lead for New Hampshire in the opening drive of the second half with a gutsy 26-yard run that included broken tackles and cutting across field for the score giving the Wildcats the 24-17 lead with 12:54 to play in the third quarter. Unfortunately for Wildcat fans, that would be the final score of the game for UNH. Back came the Dukes, who tied the game 24-24 at 6:25 of the third quarter on a six yard run by Landers as the home team took advantage of a Santos intercepted throw. JMU took a 31-24 lead with 1:29 to play in the third quarter on an 11 yard TD pass from Landers to Eugene Holloman. The Dukes put together another long drive and Stennard kicked his second field goal of the day with 8:30 to play in the game and open up a 10-point 34-24 advantage for JMU. Bolton scored his second TD of the day with 3:13 to play in the game to end the scoring.
Santos finished the day 36-of-47 in passing for 353 yards. He also ran eight times for 37 yards. Leading the way for the receivers was sophomore Scott Sicko with 7 catches for 81 yards. LeVan had seven catches was with 66 yards and junior Bobby Simpson had six for for 53 yards. The top rusher for the ‘Cats was Santos. On the defensive side of the football, three players led the squad with 12 total tackles including Pammer, Husain Karim and Terrance Klein.
The New Hampshire team is also dealing with an off-field incident involving a current player and a murder charge. The Boston Herald is reporting that a New Hampshire football player charged with murder in California is expected to turn himself in by today. San Diego Police Lt. Kevin Rooney said Friday that prosecutors and the lawyer defending Henri "Hank" Hendricks were arranging his surrender to face charges that he was part of a gang that fatally beat a man in May. Before he was suspended Friday, Hendricks, 21, was a backup quarterback at the University of New Hampshire.
Paul Levikow, a spokesman for the San Diego District Attorney's office, said in addition to the murder charge, Hendricks will face two assault and one battery charge stemming from a separate confrontation at a party on New Year's Eve. Hendricks' bail will be set at $750,000, Levikow said. Police allege that Hendricks and four other San Diego-area men beat professional surfer Emery Kauanui Jr. of Hawaii at Kauanui's home in San Diego's La Jolla section on May 24. Kauanui, 24, died several days later. "He had nothing to do with it," Joe Cox, Hendricks' lawyer, said of his client Friday.
The Wildcats return to action next Saturday when they travel to play at Marshall on Sept. 15. This will be the first meeting between the Thundering Herd, winner of two I-AA titles in 1992 and 1996 before moving to I-A in 1997, and the Wildcats. New Hampshire opened the then-Marshall University Stadium in 1991, in from a crowd of 33,116 in the then-28,000 seat stadium and lost a heartbreaker, 24-23. Marshall now seats 38,019 at the Joan C. Edwards Stadium, the only stadium in Division I named for a woman, and drew over 40,000 Saturday in a tight contest with No.. 3-ranked West Virginia. Marshall is 0-2 with losses at Miami, Florida, 31-3, and to the Mountaineers, 48-23, in what was a four-point game entering the fourth quarter.
Darius Marshall looked for running room against West Virginia Saturday. The freshman back returned the opening kickoff 77 yards to start the game on a high note, and has nearly 100 yards in 14 carries for the true freshman. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
Thundering Herd quarterback Bernard Morris has hit 35-of-55 passes, 64 percent, with three interceptions coming at Miami and two touchdowns against West Virginia. Eight Marshall receivers caught balls on Saturday against WVU, including sophomore tight end Cody Slate (5-for-82 yards, 42-yard touchdown) and speedy junior wide out Darius Passmore (5-for-76, 38-yard touchdown). True freshman running back Darius Marshall has 97 yards on 14 carries (6.9 yards per carry) and returned the opening kickoff against West Virginia for 77 yards.
UNH plays its first home contest on Sept. 22 against Dartmouth College. Game time is 12:00 p.m. and tickets are still available online at www.unhwildcats.com.