The Final: UMass 63, Duquesne 15
The Star: Everyone
The Stat: Isabella 5 Rec, 131 Yards, 2 TD
The Streak: W1
The Record: 1-0
The 12-Game Pace: 12-0
The Emoji: ☝️
The home opener simply couldn’t have gone much better than it did for the Minutemen on Saturday vs Duquesne.
Can’t really ask for much more from the offense. However, I can’t justify giving them an A+ because it wasn’t perfect. There were a few hiccups, but luckily Ross Comis’ fumble on a scramble was the only major mistake. Andrew Ford looked sharp right out of the gate with the aid of strong offensive line play and a putrid Duquesne secondary. Another positive was the emergence of Redshirt Junior TE Kyle Horn as a big target for Ford in the footsteps of Adam Breneman.
On the other side of the ball, the defensive line stepped up with two of their top playmakers suspended by Coach Whipple for unknown reasons. There’s no doubt that this team could get a major boost if Isaiah Rodgers and Jarrell Addo are able to play next week vs Boston College. Beating BC is going to require full team effort; Hopefully Whip restates this to the Minutemen in time for kickoff next week in Chestnut Hill. Graduate Student Safety Brice McAllister flat out looked, and played, like a man possessed out there and appears to be a big time addition to the lockdown secondary. With UMass likely pouring a lot of resources into stopping the run game next week vs the Eagles, they need another strong effort from McAllister, Lee Moses, and a hopefully reinstated Rogers in the secondary, if they plan on securing the upset.
Special Teams: A
You can’t forget about the specialists’ performance on Saturday. Cooper Garcia and Mike Caggiano split all kickoff duties, combining to go 8-8 on PATs and several solid kickoffs, leaving the Dukes deep in their own territory several times. No field goals were attempted in this one so it appears to be a pretty back and forth competition at the moment. Personally, I strongly dislike the 1A-1B kicking system and I hope one emerges as the clear leader in the upcoming weeks. The Greek God of Punting, George Georgopoulos, also had an absolute nuke of a punt.
Next week vs BC is a whole different animal with one of the best passing defenses in the country, led by potential All-American Safety Luka Denis. Look for the potent 1-2 punch of Marquis Young and Bilal Ally to hopefully continue the successful running game that they featured yesterday vs Duquesne (202 total yards on the ground) as they battle with Heisman counterpart AJ Dillon. UMass has the opportunity to make a major statement this week and the opportunity for finally creating total buy-in. Being able to work out the kinks within a game setting while remaining healthy is a major advantage for UMass vs a BC team with a starting quarterback in his first game back from ACL surgery.
A more in-depth preview is coming from the Militia Blog Team this week but I’m predicting a 37-34 UMass victory in OT.