HANOVER, N.H. (AP) – David Ball didn’t tie or break any of Jerry Rice’s college receiving records at home in Durham last week, but he plays Saturday at the next best place – Dartmouth’s Memorial Field.

The University of New Hampshire star is the best football player in decades from Vermont, which is just across the Connecticut River from Hanover, where the Wildcats will be pursuing their third straight victory as the inexperienced Big Green looks for its first.

Ball needs three touchdown receptions to tie Rice’s NCAA Division I-AA career record of 50, set more than two decades ago at Mississippi Valley State.

Ball made four TD catches in a crucial win last season against Massachusetts as New Hampshire marched to the national Division I-AA quarterfinals for the second straight season.

Ball and quarterback Ricky Santos are keys to New Hampshire’s success, though Ball was covered like a blanket and had no touchdown catches in New Hampshire’s 62-7 romp over Stony Brook last week.

“We have enough weapons on that side of the ball that if people start trying to take David away, we can throw to other people,” coach Sean McDonnell said this week.

“It’s hard,” McDonnell added. “David is a very humble kid in a lot of ways. He doesn’t want to be the center of attention, but it’s ended up that way.”

Dartmouth dropped its season opener to Colgate last week, 28-7. It was junior Tom Bennewitz’s first start at quarterback, and he injured a collarbone to boot. Senior Mike Fritz, who got his first playing time last week, was expected to start on Saturday.

“Neither was as productive as we need,” second-year coach Buddy Teevens said of Bennewitz and Fritz. “They’re both fairly mobile guys, but neither has much experience. Each of the last two years, Fritz had broken his thumb. He’s sharp mentally. Very, very sharp.”

Santos, meanwhile, is threatening a record himself. He is No. 3 for career passing yardage at UNH with 7,409. Santos, who has completed 28 of 40 passes for 294 yards and four touchdowns this season, already owns the touchdown mark at 74.

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