New Hampshire Football Report

UNH’s O’Connor named to First Team

RICHMOND, Va. – Neil O’Connor was named to the CAA Football First Team Offense to highlight a total of five players from the University of New Hampshire football team who were honored by the conference on Tuesday afternoon.

Jake Kennedy was voted to the Second Team Offense while Quinlen Dean and Rick Holt were Second Team Defense selections.  Trevor Knight  was a Third Team Offense honoree and Prince Smith, Jr. was named Third Team Defense.

O’Connor, who has been named a Walter Payton Award finalist, is UNH’s leader in receptions (87), receiving yards (1,291), receiving touchdowns (10) and all-purpose yards (1,405).

With those numbers, the junior wide receiver ranks in the top 15 in the nation in five statistics – No. 3 in receiving yards, No. 4 in receiving yards per game (117.4), No. 5 in receptions per game (7.9), No. 13 in receiving TDs and No. 15 in all-purpose yards per game (127.73).

O’Connor is atop the CAA leaderboard in both receiving yards/game and receptions/game; he ranks second in all-purpose yards/game and fourth in scoring (5.5 points/game).

Kennedy started all 11 regular-season games and anchored the offensive line as a senior center. He helped pave the way for a Wildcat offense that averaged 23.6 points and 374.5 yards per game. UNH scored a season-high 45 points vs. Bryant University and eclipsed 500 total yards of offense twice.

Dean leads New Hampshire in unassisted tackles (66), assisted tackles (35) and total tackles (101); in fact, his 66 solo tackles are more than all other ‘Cats have total tackles. Dean’s other numbers include eight tackles for loss (two sacks), an interception and a forced fumble. The sophomore linebacker has tallied double digits in tackles four times with a career high of 15 in the regular-season finale at Albany. With those numbers, Dean is No. 10 in the nation in solo tackles per game and 33rdin tackles per game. He is atop the CAA leaderboard in solo stops and third in tackles per game.

Holt ranks second on the team in total tackles (60); the senior defensive lineman is tied for the lead in sacks (5.5) and is tied for second in tackles for loss (8.5). His other numbers include three pass breakups, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Holt recorded a game- and career-high 10 tackles at James Madison University. He made a stop behind the line of scrimmage in 9 of 11 regular-season games with a sack in 6 of 11.

Knight, a two-time CAA Offensive Player of the Week in 2017, is 239-for-381 (62.7 percent) for 2,851 yards and 23 touchdowns – and just six interceptions – for a 142.36 passer efficiency rating. The junior quarterback ranks second in rushes (122) and third in rushing yards (125) with one rushing TD. Knight passed for a career-high 420 yards and three TDs vs. Rhode Island and recorded a personal-best four passing touchdowns and 406 yards at William & Mary.

In the national stats, Knight ranks in the top 20 in six stats – No. 12 in passing yards, No. 14 in passing yards/game and completions/game, No. 15 in passing TDs, No. 17 in total offense and 20th in completion percentage.

On the CAA leaderboard, Knight is second in passing yards, passing yards/game, passing TDs and completions/game; he is also third in passing efficiency.

Smith, Jr. – the 2016 CAA Defensive Rookie of the Year – played all 11 regular-season games and was in the starting lineup 10 times, including each of the last six. The sophomore cornerback is tied for the team lead in pass breakups (eight) and also has 48 tackles, one interception and a forced fumble. Smith, Jr. recorded a career-high seven tackles in the opener against Maine and matched that total in consecutive weeks vs. William & Mary and Elon.

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