In UMass' first ever game at the FBS level, Darren Thellen's tipped pass for an interception by Tom Brandt was named the Play of the Day on ESPN's SportsCenter. Thellen dove out of bounds to tip a pass by UConn QB Chandler Whitmer back into the field of play where Brandt secured the pick in the first quarter of play. It was Brandt's first career interception.
It's finally here! After announcing the transition to the FBS level back in April 2011, the Minutemen will kick-off a new era in a storied football history tonight as UMass takes on UConn at Rentschler Field (7:30 PM).
National sports publisher Athlon has put out a list of the top ten sleeper teams that it believes will return to the NCAA Tournament this season. Among the teams are coach Kellogg's Minutemen.
The Atlantic 10 is undergoing a changing of the guard of sorts. Butler and VCU are in, and Temple and Xavier are in stages of starting over. UMass could be poised to pounce. Thanks to the arrival of 5-9 point guard Chaz Williams from Hofstra, UMass had its first winning season under Derek Kellogg. The Minutemen's core players were sophomores and juniors last season, including forward Sampson Carter, who averaged 8.6 points and and 3.9 rebounds in an injury-shortened season.
The UMass men's soccer team improved to 2-0 on the season with a 1-0 win over Vermont on Monday. That's back-to-back shutouts for head coach Sam Koch's boys so far, with a doubleheader at Rudd Field against Harvard on Friday. The women get things started at 1:30 p.m., followed by the men at 4 p.m. Admission is free.
Check out some recaps, photo galleries and post-game interviews below.
Over the weekend, MassLive.com had a piece from David Driver on UMass baseball alum Matt Gedman, who is currently playing professionally in the Boston Red Sox farm system for the Lowell Spinners:
Matthew Gedman strolled out of the Lowell Spinners clubhouse about three hours before game time on Wednesday at Ripken Stadium, just north of Baltimore.
The 23-year-old was wearing the road grey uniform of the Red Sox minor-league team, complete with wrist bands on both arms, and was carrying a black bat and glove before a game against the Aberdeen IronBirds, whose co-owner is Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr.
Gedman, the former UMass baseball standout from Framingham, certainly looks the part of a pro baseball player. He has been around the game his entire life and said he was about 2 years old the first time he went to Fenway Park, where his father Rich was a catcher for Boston from 1980-90, then with Houston in 1990 and St. Louis in 1991-92.
"I remember more about the St. Louis Cardinals when my dad played for them," said the younger Gedman, who was born Sept. 26, 1988.
Now the elder Gedman, a graduate of Worcester High, is a hitting coaching with the high Class A Salem (Va.) Red Sox while his son is in his second pro season after being drafted by Boston out of UMass in 2011 in the 45th round.
"We talk about two or three times per week," said Matt Gedman, a 6-foot-2 left-handed hitter. "We don't really talk baseball too much. It is more how are you doing? He is pretty busy and I am pretty busy. In the off-season we hang out more."
The younger Gedman played shortstop for the Minutemen but has been used mostly at third base by Lowell, a short-season affiliate in the New York-Penn League. In games through Aug. 22 he was hitting .227 in 132 at bats with four doubles, three homers and 19 RBIs. Gedman made six errors in his first 30 games at third for the Spinners, who were 29-33 after a 3-2 win in 11 innings here Aug. 22.
"He is a great clubhouse kid. He has been around the clubhouse all of his life," said Bruce Crabbe, the Lowell manager. "He can play multiple positions if you need him to."
The UMass Sports Luncheon returns for the 2012-13 season on Tuesday, August 28 in the Massachusetts Room located on the 3rd Floor of the Mullins Center. The luncheon begins at Noon and will feature Charley Molnar as the guest speaker.
The event is $11 to attend which includes a full salad-to-dessert buffet. Parking behind the Mullins Center is free. The Sports Luncheons will normally be held on Wednesday afternoons, but was moved to this Tuesday as the Minutemen head to UConn on Thursday.
It was a 4-0 sweep for UMass this past weekend as the field hockey team highlighted the action with a pair of overtime wins against nationally ranked teams. The women's soccer team picked up a win on Sunday against Albany after earning a win against Bryant earlier in the week. Men's soccer started the season off with a win on Friday against Delaware and will host annual rival Vermont today at Rudd Field (1 PM).
A great early season start for both soccer programs and the field hockey team combined with the excitement and anticipation for the football, basketball, and hockey teams are signs that 2012-13 could be a special year for UMass athletics. Add to the mix the perennial success of men's swimming and softball along with the tennis team coming off a strong spring expectations are high in Amherst.
Matt Vautour has a piece examining what this means for UMass and fans of the Minutemen and Minutewomen.
Geoff Hobson, editor of Bengals.com, has a story on Cincinnati's stock of undrafted free agents and other players from small college programs who are now making an impact on the club. Included in the story is former UMass standout Jeremy Miles who is making a serious bid for a starting safety spot after being a special team standout.
Desmond Conner of the Hartford Courant has a preview of Thursday's football opener between UConn and UMass with quotes from Huskies head coach Paul Pasqualoni.
"I think we're very excited about [a rivalry with UMass] and the potential of what Connecticut-UMass could be," Pasqualoni said. "[It] was great during the Yankee Conference days; it certainly was a tremendous rivalry. With conference affiliations now, we're obviously in the Big East, but playing UMass would give us a chance to have an Eastern game regardless of the location. It's exciting for fans, easy to get to and a chance to be a great game. We would be excited about it."
Kerri Fleming of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette has a story on all that is new this season with the UMass football program. Area players Rob Blanchflower, Brandon Potvin and Brandon Howard speak of how the changes have brought new motivation and excitement to the team.
Harry Plumer of the Springfield Republican has a feature on UMass football head coach Charley Molnar with quotes from his family and other MAC coaches. The piece gives insight into Coach Molnar's daily life and his passion for all parts of his professional and personal life.
Harry Plumer of the Springfield Republican has a story on how UMass football practice changed on Saturday from preseason camp mode to game-week mode with the Minutemen preparing to face UConn this Thursday night.
Paul Lazdowski of the MetroWest Daily News has a feature on twin brother linebackers Tim and Tom Brandt and how their football careers have been shaped by their family and high school football coaches.
Harry Plumer of the Springfield Republican and Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette each have stories on the visit of Lt. Governor Tim Murray to Thursday's football practice as the Minutemen closed preseason camp.
Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray along with trustee chairman Henry Thomas, trustee Norm Peters, UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy and Athletic Director John McCutcheon addressed the UMass football team at its final practice of the 2012 preseason training camp at McGuirk Stadium.
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a feature on UMass football head coach Charley Molnar's career path that led him to UMass. Included in the profile are quotes from Molnar's high school coach and insights such as Molnar calling his father and brother from the 50-yard line before each game.
After being picked up as an undrafted free agent last spring, former UMass standout offensive lineman Josh Samuda has been earning praise during the NFL preseason. Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel lists Samuda as a key back-up center and one of the Dolphins' top eight offensive linemen.
"Josh Samuda, an undrafted rookie from UMass, spent his third week as the backup center, and performed well enough it appears he's locked down a spot on the 53-man roster. Samuda, a Hollywood Hills product, is presently one of the team's top eight offensive linemen."
Harry Plumer of the Springfield Republican takes a look at freshman wide receiver Tajae Sharpe and his quick acclimation to the UMass offense during training camp. Wide receivers coach Alan Suber credits Sharpe's performance to his 'FBI' or Football Intelligence.
There was a UMass mention by ESPN.com Senior Writer Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) in today's 3-Point Shot on the College Basketball Nation Blog. The following was written in reference to the Minutemen being one of several teams with the potential to unseat Xavier from the top spot in the A-10.
"...Meanwhile, Xavier's hold on a top spot in the A-10 is about to end. The timing of Butler and VCU joining the conference doesn't bode well for the Musketeers. Xavier will have a hard time staying in the rear-view mirror of those two teams, front runner Saint Louis and re-surging Saint Joseph's and UMass, let alone traditional title contender Temple for one more season before the Owls leave for the Big East."
Harry Plumer of the Springfield Republican has a feature on Stanley Andre who is having a standout camp as a defensive end. Andre was asked to switch from his natural linebacker position to defensive end and has made the transition seamlessly.
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a story today on Michael Boland who is fighting for a starting spot on the offensive line. Boland is playing guard after playing tackle for his entire football career.
Kevin Kelly of Cincinnati.com has a feature story on Jeromy Miles and his impact with the Bengals this preseason. Last week against the Falcons, Miles had 6 solo tackles on defense and two on special teams. He also forced a fumble and had an interception in the end zone to prevent an Atlanta scoring drive.
While the majority of the Atlantic 10 is located in the Eastern Time Zone, we won't split hairs and just enjoy the ongoing basketball dialogue.
Here is the part of the article that mentions UMass:
No. 14: Are UMass and St. Joseph's ready to step into A-10 prominence?
No one will confuse these UMass and St. Joe's teams with the ones led by Marcus Camby and Jameer Nelson, but both schools enter the season with hopes of contending for NCAA Tournament berths. UMass returns all but one starter from a team that won 25 games and played in NIT thanks to the arrival of 5-9 point guard Chaz Williams. St. Joe's brings back all five starters to a team that returned to 20-win status for the first time since 2007-08. The RedHawks also are led by one of the league's best point guards, Carl Jones.
By the way, we are only 8 days away from the first UMass football game of the FBS era and 53 days from the official start of basketball practice. #GoUMass #ItsOn #ItsShowtime
Howard Herman of the Berkshire Eagle takes a look at UMass' stable of running backs as the Minutemen enter the 2012 season. His story includes quotes from Michigan transfer Michael Cox and Chris Burns who transferred to UMass from Pittsburgh prior to the 2011 season.
Kerri Fleming has a look at Rob Blanchflower and his impact on the UMass football offense in 2012. Blanchflower will enter the season at the team's top tight end after splitting time last season with Emil Igwenagu who is currently with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Matt Fortuna of ESPN.com has a story on Charley Molnar and the work he has done in preparation of UMass' first season at the Football Bowl Subdivision. Included in the piece are quotes from wide receiver Deion Walker who played under Molnar at Notre Dame before transferring to UMass.
Matt Stewart of the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise has a piece on several Central Massachusetts locals who have played roles in the winning tradition of UMass football. Those players include Dave Palazzi, Jonathan Hernandez, John Griffin, Cliff Bolden, Matt Dawson, Jamie Holston, and Dan Schneider.
Howard Herman of the Berkshire Eagle has a report from Wedneday's Football Media Day at McGuirk Stadium. Included in the story is a great quote from running back Chris Burns: "If you want something you've never had, you have to do something you've never done."
Several news items on Victor Cruz today as ESPN says "Cruz can't wait to see Jets again". Bleacher Repot also has a story on "3 candidates to be this year's Victor Cruz". SB Nation gives their Fantasy Football Rankings for 2012 Wide Receivers and says Cruz is a must have.
Andrea Hangst of Bleacher Report has a breakdown of the CIncinnati Bengals position battle at strong safety. Jeromy Miles has been getting numerous reps with the first team defense after an injury to Taylor Mays. Miles has primarily been one of the top special teams players for the Bengals.
"We are extremely excited to add Danielle to our
coaching staff," said Rittman. "She has a complete understanding of
what it takes to compete and perform at the highest level both as a player and
"I am thrilled for the opportunity to coach at
Stanford," Henderson said. "The Cardinal has been one of the top
programs in the nation for several years and I am excited to join its
A member of the gold medal-winning 2000 U.S. Olympic
softball team in Sydney and 2001 Women's Pro Softball League Gold team,
Henderson brings valuable pitching expertise to The Farm.
Henderson is considered one of the most decorated athletes UMass
has ever produced, rewriting the softball record book in her four seasons on
the mound. A four-time All-Atlantic 10 selection and a four-time A-10
Tournament Most Outstanding player, Henderson finished her career second
all-time on the NCAA's strikeout list with 1,343. A three-time All-American,
she was also the nation's leader in strikeouts per seven innings in both 1998
The Cardinal are coming off a season that saw them go 40-19 overall, 11-13 in the Pac-12 and reach the finals of the NCAA Lafayette Regional.
Last night, head men's basketball coach Derek Kellogg was a guest on Inside College Basketball, aired nationally on SiriusXM Radio Channel 91. Here is a link to a clip from the show where the fifth-year coach talks about the journey at UMass since his return.