New Hampshire Football Report

Santos named Coach of the Year

RICHMOND, Va. – University of New Hampshire head coach Rick Santos was named CAA Football Coach of the Year on Tuesday to highlight a total of eight conference awards received by the Wildcats.

Junior running back Dylan Laube (Westhampton, N.Y.) received three accolades. He was voted All-Conference First Team as a punt returner, Second Team as a running back and Third Team as a kickoff returner.

Sophomore defensive ends Dylan Ruiz (Kissimmee, Fla.) and Josiah Silver (Hampton, Va.) joined Laube on the First Team, senior captain Patrick Flynn (Hanover, Mass.) was selected to the Second Team on the offensive line, and grad student captain Pop Bush (Nocatee, Fla.) made the Third Team at safety.

No. 15/16 New Hampshire (8-3, 7-1 CAA) begins NCAA posteason play with a first-round game against No. 16/13 Fordham University on Saturday. Opening kickoff is 2 p.m. at Wildcat Stadium.

Santos, in his first year as head coach, led UNH to an 8-3 overall record, a share of the CAA championship with a 7-1 conference record, and an at-large selection to the NCAA Division I Championship. This season marks the most wins and first playoff appearance since 2017, as well as the first CAA title since 2014. The Wildcats were picked to finish ninth in this year’s league preseason poll.

Laube leads the nation in all-purpose yards per game (179.20), is No. 4 in punt returns (15.0 yards/return), No. 11 in total touchdowns (15), No. 19 in rushing yards per game (100.00), No. 20 in rushing TDs (12) and No. 25 in rushing yards (1,000).

In addition to leading the CAA in all-purpose yards per game, Laube ranks second in total TDs and punt returns, third in rushing TDs, fifth in both rushing yards per game and rushing yards, as well as sixth in rushing yards per carry (5.03).

Laube is atop the UNH leaderboard in rushes (199), rushing yards (1,000), rushing yards per game, rushing touchdowns, total TDs, all-purpose yards (1,792), all-purpose yards per game, kickoff return yards (248), kickoff return average (31.0), punt returns (15), punt return yards (225) and punt return average.

He ranks second on the team in receptions (40) and is third in receiving yards (319).

Laube is UNH’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 2016, when Dalton Crossan finished with 1,281. He matched the school record for longest kickoff return with a 100-yard touchdown at the University of Richmond and also equaled the program’s longest punt return with a 92-yard TD at Towson University.

Laube topped 100 rushing yards four times this season with a career-high 202 yards and three touchdowns Game 2 at UAlbany and 190 rushing yards and three TDs in the regular-season finale at Maine. He surpassed 200 all-purpose yards three times with a season high of 281 at Maine in addition to 250 at Towson and 202 at UAlbany.

During the season, Laube was a two-time CAA Offensive Player of the Week and was named Special Team Player of the Week once. He was also recipient of the New England Football Writers Association Gold Helmet Award on Nov. 21.

Ruiz is No. 5 in the nation in sacks (1.00 per game) as well as 37th in tackles for loss (1.2 per game); those numbers ranks second in the CAA in sacks and fifth in tackles for loss. He has a team-leading 11 sacks and ranks second with 13.5 tackles for loss. Ruiz ranks second in total tackles and assisted tackles (22), as well as tied for second in solo tackles (30). His other stats include a team-leading seven quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.

Ruiz has sacked the quarterback in 7 of 11 games this season and recorded multiple sacks in a game three times, including a career high of three at Towson. He finished with 2.5 sacks against Elon University and two versus Stony Brook University.

Ruiz elevated his play the last two weeks of the regular season. He made a career-high 11 tackles, including 3.15 for loss with one sack, and two quarterback hurries Nov. 19 at Maine. The previous week vs. the University of Rhode Island, Ruiz filled the stat sheet with five tackles, one sack, three quarterback hurries and a forced fumble (on the aforementioned sack).

Silver is 15th nationally in sacks (0.77 per game and 28th in tackles for loss (1.3 per game); those numbers rank third in the CAA in sacks and fourth in tackles for loss. He leads all Wildcats with 14 tackles for loss and ranks second in sacks (8.5). Silver is fourth in both solo (27) and total (42) tackles. His other stats include three quarterback hurries, one forced fumble, a blocked punt and a pass breakup.

Silver recorded a season-high six tackles, including five solo stops, at the University of Richmond; three of those tackles were behind the line of scrimmage with one sack and he also had a pair of quarterback hurries against the Spiders.

Silver recorded at least one tackle for loss each of the first nine games of the season and a sack in 8 of 11 games. He has also made an impact on special teams with a blocked punt and a 22-yard rush to extend a drive on a fake punt.

Flynn has started 45 consecutive games overall – every New Hampshire game dating back to the 2019 season opener – and that includes all 11 games this season at left tackle.

Bush, who played in nine of 11 regular-season games, ranks fifth on the team with 40 tackles. He is tied for third in tackles for loss (4.5) as well as third in pass breakups (four), and also has one fumble recovery this season.

Bush recorded a season-high seven tackles in the opener against Monmouth University. He finished with six tackles, including a tackle for loss, and a pass breakup at Western Michigan. Bush also made six stops against Elon. One week earlier at Dartmouth college, he had five tackles, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup.

UNH’s CAA Football All-Conference Team and Major Awards 

Coach of the Year: Rick Santos

All-Conference First Team: Dylan Ruiz (DE), Josiah Silver DE), Dylan Laube (PR)

All-Conference Second Team: Dylan Laube (RB), Patrick Flynn (OL)

All-Conference Third Team: Pop Bush (S), Dylan Laube (KR)


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