Kaplan’s break through
Published: Friday, October 5, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
The UNH defense came out strong in last week’s win over the Delaware Blue Hens with a final score of 34-14. Defensive back Manny Asam led the team with 11 total tackles as well as 1.5 sacks in the game. The defense gave up only 234 yards and two touchdowns in the game.
Sophomore defensive tackle Matt Kaplan continued his impressive play with a season high seven tackles and one sack in the game. It was the third game of the season where the sophomore has recorded a sack.
“[Kaplan] is playing to the echo of the whistle,” UNH head coach Sean McDonnell said. “And talent has one nothing to do with that. That is just pure desire.”
Kaplan, a New Hampshire native from Franklin, is currently tied for first in the CAA in fumble recoveries. He is also tied for second in the CAA for sacks with three on the season.
Before coming to UNH, McDonnell was already familiar with Kaplan from the UNH summer football camp.McDonnell recognized Kaplan’s intensity as well as his ability when that passion is driving him.
McDonnell recalls sitting in a meeting with his defensive coaches after a spring practice and saying, “Matt Kaplan is going to play football for us.”
Kaplan’s ability and athleticism have only improved as his career has moved along. At the end of each season, Kaplan had better skill and was in better shape than at the start.
His improvement on the football field has also helped with the financial aspect of university life.
“He earned a partial scholarship after his [redshirt] freshman year, and a half scholarship after his freshman year,” McDonnell said. “And if he continues to play the way he is, he is going to be a starter here for the rest of his career.”
Kaplan is a player to always keep an eye on. Each snap of the ball, Kaplan is going full speed ahead, driving the opposing offensive lineman. There is no letting up in his play, and this is why McDonnell has put him in the starting spot in each game so far this season.
- Sean McDonnell is now one win away from 100 career victory as the head coach of the Wildcats.
- UNH quarterback Andy Vailas and defensive back Dontra Peters were named CAA offensive and defensive players of the week, respectively, for their performances against Delaware.
It is the first time two UNH players were honored with these achievements in the same week since quarterback Ricky Santos and defensive back Corey Graham (who is now with the Baltimore Ravens) each received the awards Sept. 10, 2006.
- UNH is 0-2 in domed stadiums in their history. The Wildcats have lost twice at Northern Iowa.
- UNH kicker Mike McArthur is having an outstanding season from the field, as he is five-for-five in field goals this season. He is currently the only kicker in the league with 100 percent conversion rate. His longest kick of the season has been from 38 yards out.