Matt Vautour has a look at a handful of them and how they did against UMass in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
NFL-quality foes no strangers to UMass
Whether Michigan's Denard "Shoelace" Robinson is someday bound for the NFL remains to be seen. He's just a sophomore, but a promising one. If he does make it, he'll join a host of players the University of Massachusetts football team has faced in its annual game against a Division I-A/Bowl Subdivision opponent who have gone on to NFL success.
Here's a look at a handful of them and how they did against UMass:
Byron Leftwich, Marshall - The injured backup quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers was a longtime starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars. At Marshall in 2001, Leftwich completed 21 of 31 passes for 331 yards and five touchdowns against the Minutemen in a 49-20 win for the Thundering Herd.
Philip Rivers, North Carolina State - Before becoming the starting quarterback and Pro Bowler for the San Diego Chargers, Rivers led the Wolfpack to a 56-24 win over the Minutemen in 2002 in Raleigh. Rivers completed 19 of 30 passes for 227 yards and four touchdowns. He was intercepted twice, including one for a touchdown by former Minuteman Doran Davis.
Darren Sproles, Kansas State - Before joining Rivers in the San Diego Chargers backfield, Sproles gave the 2003 Minutemen fits. He rushed 28 times for 162 yards and three touchdowns in the Wildcats' 38-7 win over UMass in Manhattan, Kan.
Matt Ryan, Boston College - The Minutemen gave future Atlanta Falcon and Boston College quarterback Ryan a bit of a scare in 2007 before the Eagles escaped 24-14 at Alumni Stadium. Ryan, who was being promoted for the Heisman Trophy at the time, completed 24 of 42 passes foe 204 yards and one touchdown.
Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech - The San Francisco 49ers' wideout was the best receiver in college football when the Minutemen headed to Texas Tech in 2008. The Minutemen held him reasonably in check on the September night in Lubbock, Texas. He caught five passes for 62 yards and one touchdown in the Red Raiders' 56-14 win.