The Final: Georgia Southern 34, UMass 13
The Goat: Run Defense
The Stat: 334 Rushing Yards Allowed
The Streak: L2
The Record: 1-2
The 12-Game Pace: 4-8
The Emoji: 😒
Minutemen get run over by Georgia Southern ground attack. UMass defense once again exposed against the run, consistency on offense continues to lack.
Andrew Ford led the Minuteman offense, completing 22 of 33 passes for 190 yards. Andy Isabella continued his strong play against both Duquesne and Boston College, catching 9 passes for a combined 95 yards. The emergence of Redshirt Sophomore TE Taylor Edwards added a secondary target for Ford. Redshirt Junior RB, Jordan Fredericks, posted mere shy of 5 yards a carry and registered the lone Minuteman touchdown of the night. Senior Marquis Young aided the lackluster Minuteman offense by rushing 71 yards, surpassing over 3,000 career collegiate rushing yards. It was a relatively quiet night for WR Brennan Dingle. Senior Backup QB, and West Virginia native, Ross Comis, completed a 26-yard pass to Fredericks.
On the other side of the ball, the defensive line continued to disappoint following last Saturday’s game against Boston College in Chestnut Hill, MA. The Minuteman defense had no answers to prevent the Georgia Southern heavy rushing offense for the majority of the game. The Georgia Southern Eagles Team combined to rush for 334 yards, averaging shy of 6 yards a carry. The Eagles ran the ball 19 straight times upon receiving the opening kickoff, before throwing a quick pass to the endzone for a Georgia Southern touchdown. After allowing Georgia Southern’s offense to run the ball 59 times, exceeding UMass’s total by 34, the defensive line was still unable to stop the run game! In order to win a football game at the collegiate level, exceeding the opponents time of possession with the football is of critical importance. With this in mind, UMass only exceeded Georgia Southern’s time of possession in the second quarter of the game.
To highlight the gameday positives on defense, Sophomore Chinedy Ogbonna from Marietta, GA, and freshman Joseph Norwood out of Chattanooga, TN complimented the defensive effort by making some key stops. Graduate Linebacker, Bryton Barr scooped up a fumble recovery, and stood his ground on a 4th and 2 from Georgia Southern. The play of Brice McAllister, and recently reinstated Isaiah Rogers in the secondary, can be considered underwhelming, considering the team’s preparations and resources attained during weekly practice in Amherst.
Special Teams: A-
The specialists’ performance on Saturday night served as one of the few highlights of the night. Cooper Garcia and Mike Caggiano split kickoff duties for the Minuteman. The duo secured several solid kickoffs, leaving the Eagles deep in their own territory on multiple occasions. Caggiano was successful on both of his field goal attempts of the night, with the longest registered at 41-yards. While Punter George Georgopoulos averaged fewer yards a punt against Georgia Southern then against Boston College, he pinned the Eagles with a 60-yard punt!
To efficiently recruit, and place the team in a position to become bowl eligible, a stronger team showing is paramount next week against Florida International. After failing to generate buzz last week against BC, UMass had the opportunity to improve their road record against a team with an obvious, run-heavy game plan and failed to take advantage of the opportunity. In tragic news that was released on Thursday afternoon, Florida International University’s star running back Anthony Jones, and offensive lineman Mershawn Miller were shot in an off-campus, drive by shooting. This horrific experience will provide the 1-1 Panthers of Florida International with an added boost, and motivational measure when UMass comes into town this upcoming Saturday night.