With a win already over the No. 1 team in one poll, the UMass will try to knock off the top team in the other when it hosts Delaware on Saturday. The Blue Hens ascended to No. 1 in the FCS Coaches Poll Monday after the top three teams all lost last week. Delaware is No. 2 behind William & Mary in the Sports Network top 25. The Minutemen upset W&M, 27-23, in the first game of the season.
Minutemen looking to beat another No. 1
AMHERST - With a win already over the No. 1 team in one poll, the University of Massachusetts will try to knock off the top team in the other when it hosts Delaware on Saturday.
The Blue Hens ascended to No. 1 in the FCS Coaches Poll Monday after the top three teams all lost last week. Delaware is No. 2 behind William & Mary in the Sports Network top 25. The Minutemen upset W&M, 27-23, in the first game of the season.
But while knocking off a No. 1 team would be a trophy for the Minutemen, there are bigger incentives for success.
Most prognosticators seem to believe that seven wins will be enough to get any Colonial Athletic Association team an at-large bid into the Championship Subdivision Playoffs. UMass (6-3) needs just one win to reach seven victories.
An at-large bid might not be necessary if the Minutemen win Saturday and get some help. If UMass wins and W&M loses, the Minutemen could win the league.
"The guys have put themselves in position to have a shot," UMass coach Kevin Morris said. "We're not thinking about it. If we do good things, good things will happen for us. That's how we go about our business. ... If we play well, we'll get the invitation."
On top of that it's senior day. The Minutemen will honor 19 seniors prior to their final home game: Ke'Mon Bailey, Calvin Belfon, Woody Carter IV, James Carven, David Cozzo, Scott Duggan, Torrey Esalomi, Aaron Fears, Brandon Flanagan, John Griffin, Kyle Havens, John Ihne, Andrew Krevis, Bob McLaughlin, Mike Mele, Anthony Nelson, Greg Niland, David Ramsden and Dan Sheeran.
"We have to focus on the things we can control. If we don't take care of business, the playoffs aren't in sight," UMass junior captain Tyler Holmes said. "We know every win is very vital to us."
Time & location: 1 p.m., McGuirk Stadium
Records: Delaware is 8-1 (5-1 CAA); UMass is 6-3 (4-2 CAA)
All-time series: Delaware 24, UMass 6
Last year: Delaware 43, UMass 27
TV: CBS 3 Now.
Radio: WRNX-FM (100.9), WMUA-FM (91.1)
Internet broadcast: Links can be found at umassathletics.com
When Delaware has the ball: The Blue Hens feature the conference's No. 2 scoring offense as they've averaged 27.6 points per game.
Hen rookie back Andrew Pierce is a lock to be named CAA Rookie of the Year and is the conference's top rusher. His 1,014 yards are over 200 more than any other ball-carrier in the conference and his 12 rushing TDs are four more than the next best guy.
Senior quarterback Pat Devlin, who is considered a likely NFL draft pick in April, is averaging 201.6 yards per game. He's throw seven touchdown passes and just one interception.
"We have a lot of respect for Delaware," Holmes said. "Pat Devlin is probably the best quarterback in the FCS. We're excited as a defense to play Delaware."
When UMass has the ball: The Blue Hens' total defense is third in all of the Championship Subdivision as they allow just 247.8 yards per game.
They have the CAA's No. 2 rushing defense (92.2 ypg.) and No. 2 passing defense (155.7).
They are the league's No. 1 scoring defense, allowing just 8.1 points per game. Opposing teams have only been in the red zone against Delaware 18 times.
Its 15 interceptions are second in the league as Anthony Walters and Tyrone Grant have four each.
NOTES: Ramsden, a walk-on from Northampton, is listed as a redshirt junior on UMass' roster, but he's planning to give up his final year of eligibility to begin medical school in the fall and therefore will be honored part of senior day.