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CFN Take: UMass D Run Over By Ohio

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Nov 29, 2013


The 2013 Massachusetts Minutemen - Head Coach: Charlie Molnar


UMass Minutemen

2013 Record: 1-11
8/31 at Wisconsin L 45-0
9/7 Maine L 24-14
9/14 at Kansas State L 37-7
9/21 Vanderbilt L 24-7
9/28 OPEN DATE
10/5 at Bowling Green L 28-7
10/12 Miami Univ. W 17-10
10/19 at Buffalo L 32-3
10/26 Western Mich L 31-30
11/2 Northern Illinois L 63-19
11/9 OPEN DATE
11/16 Akron L 14-13
11/23 at Central Michigan L 37-0
11/29 at Ohio L 51-23
at Ohio 51, Massachusetts 23
Basically … Ohio’s offense rolled in a turnover-plagued game getting up 31-10 at halftime highlighted by a 66-yard Travis Carrie interception return for a score and a 50-yard Beau Blankenship run. UMass made it interesting in the second half with Tajae Sharpe catching a 38-yard touchdown pass, and with Brendon Levengood kicking two field goals, but Ohio had control throughout.
- The two teams combined for seven turnovers and 14 penalties.
- Ohio RB Beau Blankenship ran 13 times for 124 yards and a score.
- Ohio defensive back Travis Carrie picked off two passes taking one 66 yards for a touchdown and the other 30 yards for a score.
- Massachusetts RB Shadrach Abrokwa ran 31 times for 110 yards and a score.

at Ohio 51, Massachusetts 23
Basically … Ohio’s offense rolled in a turnover-plagued game getting up 31-10 at halftime highlighted by a 66-yard Travis Carrie interception return for a score and a 50-yard Beau Blankenship run. UMass made it interesting in the second half with Tajae Sharpe catching a 38-yard touchdown pass, and with Brendon Levengood kicking two field goals, but Ohio had control throughout.
- The two teams combined for seven turnovers and 14 penalties.
- Ohio RB Beau Blankenship ran 13 times for 124 yards and a score.
- Ohio defensive back Travis Carrie picked off two passes taking one 66 yards for a touchdown and the other 30 yards for a score.
- Massachusetts RB Shadrach Abrokwa ran 31 times for 110 yards and a score.

Northern Illinois 63, at Massachusetts 19, Nov. 2
Basically … Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch scored five touchdowns and accounted for 279 yards of total offense. The Huskies scored 21 points in each of the first two quarters. The NIU offense faced only two third downs in the first half, en route to a 42-13 halftime lead. Northern Illinois finished with 612 total yards and 354 rushing yards.
- Lynch’s 119 rushing yards came on 17 carries, for an average of seven yards per carry.
- Seven different NIU ball carriers registered at least one run of 12 yards or more.
- Northern Illinois produced three pass plays of at least 30 yards and two plays that covered at least 66 yards. Both of those last two plays went for touchdowns.
- Massachusetts RB Lorenzo Woodley ran the ball 38 times for 163 yards and one touchdown.

Northern Illinois 63, at Massachusetts 19, Nov. 2
Basically … Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch scored five touchdowns and accounted for 279 yards of total offense. The Huskies scored 21 points in each of the first two quarters. The NIU offense faced only two third downs in the first half, en route to a 42-13 halftime lead. Northern Illinois finished with 612 total yards and 354 rushing yards.
- Lynch’s 119 rushing yards came on 17 carries, for an average of seven yards per carry.
- Seven different NIU ball carriers registered at least one run of 12 yards or more.
- Northern Illinois produced three pass plays of at least 30 yards and two plays that covered at least 66 yards. Both of those last two plays went for touchdowns.
- Massachusetts RB Lorenzo Woodley ran the ball 38 times for 163 yards and one touchdown.

at Massachusetts 17, Miami University 10
Basically … UMass scored ten unanswered points in the second half with A.J. Doyle finding Rob Blanchflower for a 47-yard score and Blake Lucas hitting a 25-yard field goal. Miami, in the first game under interim head coach Mike Bath, managed just 290 yards with a 13-yard touchdown catch from Steve Marck and a 45-yard Kaleb Patterson field goal.
- It might not have been a blowout with an offensive explosion, but UMass got a win. A.J. Doyle wasn’t bad, throwing for 249 yards with two scores, but he gave away two picks. The defense picked up the slack for the offense with a terrific performance when it came time to get off the field. The MU offense didn’t do much of anything in the first half, and the O took advantage.
- It was a rocky week with the coaching change, but there wasn’t much of a boost in production. MU is still miserable when it comes to moving the chains, and it failed badly time and again to make something happen going 1-of-11 on third downs. The problem continues to be the lack of accuracy on the short-to-midrange passes for a short-to-midrange passing offense. Austin Boucher completed 14-of-34 passes for 166 yards with a score and three picks.

at Bowling Green 28, Massachusetts 7
Basically … Bowling Green was in control throughout with 28 straight points on three Matt Johnson field goals including a 51-yarder to Ronnie Moore to kick off the scoring in the second quarter and with two more scoring passes to Tyler Beck and Heath Jackson in the third. UMass didn’t get on the board until late on a 24-yard Tajae Sharpe run, but the offense only managed 280 yards.
- Bowling Green didn’t exactly extend itself, having no problems with offensive balance on 160 yards from Travis Green and an effective day from Matt Johnson. He spread the ball around to seven different receivers to complete his 11 passes. The defense never allowed UMass to make it a game, keeping every pass play short.
- Once again, UMass couldn’t move the offense. A.J. Doyle tried to give it a shot, but he only completed 4-of-17 passes for 20 yards in a disastrous performance. Mike Wegzyn came in and completed 7-of-8 passes for 76 yards and a score with a pick, but it was too late. None of the passes seemed to go anywhere – there’s just no pop to the attack, but that’s been a constant issue.

Vanderbilt 24, UMass 7
Basically … It took a little while for Vanderbilt to wake up, but it managed to shake off a 7-7 tie with 17 unanswered points helped by an 11-yard Jordan Matthews catch and a one-yard Jerron Seymour run. Jonathan Krause started out the scoring with a 42-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter, but UMass tied it up on a four-yard Tajae Sharpe catch.
- Vandy’s defense bent, but only broke once. It allowed lots of underneath plays, but it didn’t give up anything to the running backs and allowed just 248 yards total. The biggest UMass play was just 15 yards.
- UMass HAS to start throwing the ball down the field, even if nothing happens or it gives up a few picks. A.J. Doyle took over and ran well, leading the team with 29 yards, and completed 20-of-28 throws, but they didn’t go anywhere.
- Even though the Minutemen did everything to slow down Jordan Matthews, he still caught eight passes for 76 yards and a score. Jonathan Krause made the secondary play with six catches for 105 yards and a score.
- Vanderbilt didn’t dominate the clock or the game, but it had a handle on the game converting 8-of-13 third down chances and 2-of-3 fourth down tries. UMass just couldn’t come up with a truly meaningful late stop.

at Kansas State 37, Massachusetts 7, Sept. 14
Basically … Kansas State rolled up 329 yards of rushing offense and came up with 31 unanswered points after UMass took a 7-6 first quarter lead on a two-yard Stacey Bedell run. Jake Waters ran for a one-yard score and hit Glenn Gronkowski on a 50-yard touchdown pass and worked with John Hubert on a 43-yard scoring play.
- The Kansas State running game rolled at will, with John Hubert leading the way with 118 yards, and Jake Waters ran for 74 yards to go along with his 115 passing yards, but this should’ve been an even bigger blowout. UMass hasn’t done anything all year, and K-State needed a little while to get things moving.
- Was there any sort of step forward for a UMass team looking for anything positive? A.J. Doyle threw two picks, but he completed 21-of-31 passes and moved the offense a little bit.
- Kip Dailey came up with two picks for the Wildcats. The K-State secondary hung back and let UMass complete passes, but there wasn’t anything over the top.
- UMass safety Ed Saint-Vil came up with 12 tackles and a forced fumble. He needed to make too many stops against Wildcats getting into the next level, but he had a decent game.

Maine 24, at Massachusetts 14, Sept. 7
Basically … Maine quarterback Marcus Wasilewski ran for a 39-yard score and Rickey Stevens added a 35-yarder as the Black Bears rolled up 514 yards in the win over UMass. The Minutemen scored first on a seven-yard Bernard Davis catch in the first few minutes, and scored in the fourth on an eight-yard Tajae Sharpe catch, but it wasn’t enough.
- It’s one thing for the UMass defense to get steamrolled by Wisconsin, but Maine moved its offense at will both on the ground and in the air. The Minutemen couldn’t get its defense off the field.
- Maine gave UMass several chances with three turnovers and seven penalties, but there were too many big plays given up by the defense, and not enough key completions from the passing game. UMass quarterbacks combined to complete just 20-of-42 passes and didn’t push the ball down the field in any way.
- The one bright spot; Tajae Sharpe caught 11 passes for 85 yards.

at Wisconsin 45, Massachusetts 0, Aug. 31
Basically … The Wisconsin offense had few problems with Joel Stave running for a for a four-yard score and connecting with Jared Abbrederis on touchdown passes from 65 and 57 yards out. Melvin Gordon ripped off a 70-yard scoring dash in the second, and James White and Corey Clement each had long touchdown runs.
- Gordon (144), White (143) and Clement (101) each had 100 yards. The Badgers finished with 393 rushing yards and 598 yards of total offense.
- UMass never got the offense moving. The 212 yards didn’t do anywhere; the Minutemen never threatened.
- It’s only UMass and it’s just one game, but the Badger 3-4 defense worked. There was never the same presnap look twice.
- Mike Wegzyn tried to get the short passing game going for UMass, and he had a little bit of success early, but he couldn’t sustain the offense. A.J. Doyle came in and connected on 5-of-7 passes. Freshman Stacy Bedell is going to be a factor in MAC play; he ran for 70 yards on 19 carries.

Spring Analysis

Why To Be Excited ... It’s still a rebuilding process. Seven starters return to a defense that was inconsistent and struggled, but this was a really, really young group that took its lumps. There’s hope on the ends with Kevin Byrne and Stanley Andre returning. The Minutemen started two freshmen outside linebackers, and now Kassan Messiah and Jovan Santos-Knox are experienced and true sophomore John Robinson will get a look in the middle. Freshmen quarterbacks A.J. Doyle and Mike Wegzyn also struggled but have a year under their belts.

Why To Be Grouchy ... There’s a ton of work to do. There’s a strange mix of lots of young talent that’s going to be given time to mature and even more young talent that’s going to need to get through a season. Only five starters return to an offense that couldn’t stop throwing the ball away and couldn’t score on a regular basis, and while the defense gets most of the key parts back, both starting defensive tackles are gone. There’s hope for the future, but this looks like another lump-taking season while Charley Molnar tries to put all the pieces together.

What Needs Working On ... Scoring, scoring, scoring. The Minutemen need to improve in just about every area, with miles to go on defense and plenty of concerns on offense, but more than anything else the attack has to find ways to score after finishing last in the nation averaging just 12.67 per game – the second-worst team, Idaho, averaged just 15.83. It all starts with a running game that averaged a mere 92 yards per outing. Defensively, the front line has to start getting to the quarterback on a regular basis after coming up with a paltry 12 sacks.

Non-Conference Games: at Wisconsin, Maine, at Kansas State, Vanderbilt
Games Against The West: at Central Michigan, Western Michigan
Realistic Best Case Record: 4-8
Worst Case Record: 0-12
Likely Finish: 2-10

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Maine, Akron

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Wisconsin, at Kansas State, Vanderbilt, at Bowling Green, Miami Univ., at Buffalo, Western Michigan, Northern Illinois, at Central Michigan, at Ohio

Schedule Analysis: The Minutemen have to beat Maine early on, and they have to take advantage of a November home game against Akron. Outside of those two, it’s tough to find many chances for wins. Road games against Wisconsin and Kansas State won’t be pretty and a home date against Vanderbilt isn’t exactly a break. After starting out the season at Bowling Green, four of the next five games are at home – a major luxury for a MAC team. However, closing out at Central Michigan and Ohio will be rough.

Team Concerns For 2013: After managing just one win, the Minutemen have to be better in most areas while rebuilding in some key parts. The passing game that came up with just nine touchdown passes and was shut down cold at times has to be more efficient and effective, while the ground attack that came up with more than 100 yards just once in the last seven games needs to be better. With six starters needing to be replaced on offense, and both tackles on defense, this will still be a process.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Receivers. There might not be a Victor Cruz in the bunch, but Shaquille Harris was a good get out of Florida and E.J. Burston and D.J. Woods out of Florid will bring some depth. JUCO transfer Josh Bruns could find a job right away on the offensive line, while defensive ends Shane Huber and Peter Ngobidi are going to eventually be key starters. The hope is for big bomber Todd Stafford to become the trigger man for the passing attack in the next few years.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 122. That Class Was Heavy On ... New head coach Charley Molner wants more offense, and it should come from this class, at least in the backfield, with RB Stacey Bedell leading the way. Molner came on so late that there hasn’t been much of a recruiting season, so there’s going to be plenty of scrambling after Signing Day just to find players. The defense will come next year.