Among the players looking to key an end to the losing streak are quarterback Kyle Havens and receiver Julian Talley. Check out the story to see what they have to say.
The UMass football team is heading to Stony Brook, determined to win on the road
Published: Thursday, September 23, 2010, 6:42 PM Updated: Thursday, September 23, 2010, 6:48 PM
AMHERST - The University of Massachusetts football team treats it as a four-letter word, even though it consists of seven.
"We're approaching this week just like any other,'' UMass coach Kevin Morris said of Saturday night's game at Stony Brook.
"We want the players to remember who we are, and when we play well, why we do. Whether there are 110,000 people in the stands or nobody should make no difference.''
A throng of 110,187 did not faze the Minutemen, who lost 42-37 at Michigan.
Now comes Stony Brook (1-2), which plays at 8,136-seat LaValle Stadium on Long Island.
Even a capacity crowd would represent 7.4 percent of the UMass-Michigan crowd. The incentive for the Minutemen is that they went winless on the road last year.
They extended that streak at Michigan, even though most of the media analysis has treated it with accolades normally reserved for victories.
"It would be huge to win on the road,'' quarterback Kyle Havens said.
"To get into the playoffs, and be successful there, you have to do that.''
Havens is a big reason UMass has climbed to No. 11 in The Sports Network poll for Football Championship Division teams, and to No. 9 in the coaches' poll.
He has completed 68 percent of his passes for five touchdowns and just one interception. UMass is eighth among the nation's FCS teams with 467.3 total yards per game.
The Minutemen are second in time of possession average (36:51). They trail only Penn, which had the ball for 37 minutes, 44 seconds in its only game.
"Kyle is doing a good job, going through the reads and getting the ball to different guys,'' said wide receiver Julian Talley, who has made 12 receptions over the last two games.
Havens has completed passes to nine different receivers, with Anthony Nelson (19 catches) and Talley (14) the leaders.
"This is a tatented, selfless group. It's going the way I expected, because I knew these guys would contribute and make plays,'' Havens said.
Not only did the Minutemen defy the oddsmakers who had predicted a Michigan victory by four touchdowns, they opened eyes at home.
"There's definitely a buzz on campus. A lot of people who watched it said that before the game, they didn't know how it would go,'' Talley said.
"I didn't notice a difference, but I guess I'm stuck in my own little world, preparing for the next game,'' Morris said.
"If it gave us visibility, though, and let people about UMass and our players, that's great.''
UMass will be without center John Ihne, who injured his shoulder at Michigan and will miss at least one game.
Otherwise, the Minutemen are in good shape. Defensive end Brandon Potvin was banged up last week, but will play at Stony Brook.
The Seawolves have lost to a Football Bowl Subdivision team (South Florida) and an Ivy League team from the FCS (Btown in double overtime last week).
Two weeks ago, they won 31-14 over American International Colllege, a Division II team.