Opponent Previews: Football vs Charlotte (9/22)


The Record: 1-3
The Streak: L3
The 12-Game Pace: 3-9
The Spread: UMass -7.5, O/U 58.0

UMass football looks to turn around season against Charlotte

After a dazzling debut against Duquesne, UMass has struggled to find its footing, and is once again looking up at the standings. Not only have they lost their last three games, but they have lost those games by an average of over 31 points. Can the team turn their losing ways around in a return to Amherst against Charlotte on Saturday?

The biggest weakness with UMass this season is their defense. The team has let up an average of 41 points per game, which includes two games where the opposition scored more than 50 against them. While the passing defense hasn’t been atrociously bad, the rush defense has struggled mightily, as the team has let up the seventh-most rushing yards per game in all of Division 1 football.

As for the team’s offense, it has been somewhat better, but that does not mean there aren’t issues needing to be addressed. First, and most importantly, there is not a quarterback who has taken over the job yet, with last year’s starter Andrew Ford and Junior Ross Comis virtually splitting snaps at the position. With that being said, Comis has actually looked better up to this point considering he hasn’t turned the ball over yet, despite only completing 56% of his passes.

While the skill position players have done their part, it hasn’t been enough to maintain a stable offense. Running back Marquis Young has headlined a decent rushing attack with a solid mark of 5.3 yards per carry, but the team is still only average in this department in the country with 163 rush yards per game. As for the receiving threats, there haven’t been many outside of Senior Andy Isabella, who has more receiving yards (365) than the next three yardage leaders combined.

Luckily, Charlotte hasn’t been significantly better this season. Despite a winning record at 2-1, they have been outscored by their opponents on average by three points per game.

The team has a mostly balanced offense, as they are passing for 192 yards per game and rushing for 162 per game, respectively. The team’s biggest strength is its rush defense, as they have allowed the 16th-fewest rushing yards per game in the country.

In fact, the running game will end up being the key to both teams; specifically, if UMass can get a ground game going against a tough rushing defense and Charlotte’s ability to attack UMass’ porous run stoppers. 

 

Game Prediction:
If UMass can end up reversing at least one of these trends, either by stopping Charlotte’s running attack or developing their own, they should be able to squeak out a win in this one. Furthermore, UMass has to be able to keep control of the ball in this games, as turnovers by quarterback Andrew Ford have significantly hurt the team’s chances of securing more wins this season. With that being said, UMass should be able to win a close game in this one as long as they develop a ground game and avoid costly turnovers. UMass 24, Charlotte 20.

The game is slated for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff at McGurik Alumni Stadium. It can be seen on Eleven Sports.

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