Republican: UMass One-Upped UConnAt Michigan - UMass Athletics

Republican: UMass One-Upped UConnAt Michigan

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In the Springfield Republican, Ron Chimelis has a Monday morning follow up on the UMass 42-37 loss at Michigan as he compares the Minutemen's result to that of UConn.

The University of Connecticut plays football at the NCAA's highest level, the Football Bowl Subdivision. Its counterpart at Massachusetts competes in its second tier, a sensitive topic and even a sore point among many Minutemen fans.

But UMass fans now have this rebuttal: their team played a better game at Michigan than UConn did.

They did it with 22 fewer scholarships, too. In Saturday's 42-37 loss, UMass rang up 439 yards with a variety of weapons. They took the Wolverines to the wire, unlike UConn, which lost 30-10 at Michigan Stadium - "The Big House'' - on Sept. 4.

The UMass football offense one-upped UConn in its visit to Michigan's "Big House''

Published: Sunday, September 19, 2010, 8:14 PM     Updated: Sunday, September 19, 2010, 8:21 PM
Ron Chimelis, The Republican Ron Chimelis, The Republican 
Michigan 42, UMass 37Massachusetts quarterback Kyle Havens (12) threw for 222 yards and two touchdowns, using seven different receivers to catch passes.

AMHERST - The University of Connecticut plays football at the NCAA's highest level, the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Its counterpart at Massachusetts competes in its second tier, a sensitive topic and even a sore point among many Minutemen fans.

But UMass fans now have this rebuttal: their team played a better game at Michigan than UConn did.

They did it with 22 fewer scholarships, too.

In Saturday's 42-37 loss, UMass rang up 439 yards with a variety of weapons.

They took the Wolverines to the wire, unlike UConn, which lost 30-10 at Michigan Stadium - "The Big House'' - on Sept. 4.

UMass quarterback Kyle Havens (22 for 29, 222 yards, two touchdowns) completed passes to seven different receivers.

Julian Talley (7 catches, 91 yards) was his favorite. Anthony Nelson (6 for 59) and Dan Sheeran (4 for 37) were also active.

Talley had two short-yardage catches in the Sept. 4 opener against William & Mary.

In his last two games, the junior has 12 receptions for 155 yards and a touchdown.

The two-pronged running game was effective again. Jonathan Hernandez (114 yards, two touchdowns) and John Griffin (96 yards and a 5.6 yard average per carry) led the 217-yard ground game.

The orchestrator was Havens, who looked like a different quarterback from the rookie who played at Kansas State last year.

In that 2009 opener, Havens was 10 for 34. This year, he has emerged as a reliable operator of an offense that is winning praise for Brian Picucci, the UMass offensive coordinator.

In its Sept. 4 loss at Michigan, UConn had the ball for only 23 minutes, collecting 16 first downs to the Wolverines' 28.

UMass had 37 minutes of offense and 26 first downs Saturday.

UConn had 343 total yards, nearly 100 fewer than UMass. Their defense did allow fewer yards than the Minutemen (473 to 525).

For UMass, it's now back to Football Championship Division, opponents, starting with Saturday's game at Stony Brook (1-2).

Playing FBS teams is sometimes thought to be a physical challenge for the FCS team, but UMass appeared to come out of Michigan in pretty good shape.

Center John Ihne and defensive end Brandon Potvin were helped off with injuries. Their status is unknown.

Kicker Caleb Violette has been bothered by an injured left (non-kicking) foot, but played at Michigan.

He kicked a 29-yard field goal, and punted three times for a 36.7-yard average.

In 2001, the Minutemen played Division I-A opponent Marshall. Weeks later, coach Mark Whipple said the physicall toll from that game contributed to UMass' 3-8 season, though he added that many other factors were also involved.

UMass withstood the physical aspect well Saturday. The offensive line was especially effective, opening holes on both sides.

Sophomore guard Josh Samuda even got a plug during ESPN's highlights show. Nick Speller and Stephane Milhim were strong at the tackles, and other lineman also held their own.

Stony Brook will be UMass' last non-conference opponent. The Seawolves lost 59-14 to FBS opponent South Florida, defeated Division II American Internationa 31-14 and lost to FCS foe Brown 33-30 in double overtime.


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