The men's basketball team improved to 2-0 on Monday night with a 83-67 win over Northeastern at the Mullins Center. Sophomore point guard Chaz Williams led the way again for the Minutemen, recording the first double-double of his career with 20 points and 10 assists, both tying career-highs. Terrell Vinson (14) and Sampson Carter (12) both reached double-figures for the second game in a row. Check out coverage of the game below.
Darren Thellen was named one of four "College Football Heros" by the Boston Herald staff after his impressive defensive performance last weekend in the win at No. 9 Delaware. Thellen had a pair of interceptions for the second straight game.
The first State of Massachusetts Basketball Media Day was held at Boston University's Case Gym on Tuesday. UMass head coach Derek Kellogg and senior bigman Sean Carter were there representing the Minutemen as head coaches and select players from all six Division I men's basketball teams in the Commonwealth were there. Dozens of local regional, and national media members came out to cover the event with the start of official practices coming on Friday. Check out some of the coverage below.
Victor Cruz was center stage again for the New York Giants in their 36-25 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. The former UMass wide receiver led the Giants with eight receptions for 161 yards, including a juggling one-handed 68-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter. Cruz was also involved in a pair of late turnovers by the Giants. All of that leads to lots of Cruz headlines today:
James Ighedibo made the first start of his career at safety for the New England Patriots, helping lead them to victory over his former team, the New York Jets, 30-20. The Amherst Regional High and UMass alum played the first four seasons of his career with the Jets, so Sunday's first start took on extra meaning. Ighedibo finished with six tackles on four solos and two assists.
John Connolly of the Boston Herald caught up with former UMass great Tim Berra who held the football team's all-time record for most kickoff return yards in a game until Jesse Julmiste's performance last Saturday at Boston College. Berra set the record in 1973 against Rhode Island until Julmiste's 252 yard effort last weekend.
Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald looks at the impact UMass' game at Boston College will have this weekend in light of the Minutemen's transition to the FBS level. The "introductory" to the Eastern Mass fans will be especially important with the Minutemen's future home being Gillette Stadium beginning next season.
You don't think the stakes are huge this weekend for UMass? Beginning in 2012 and continuing through at least 2013, the Minutemen will be playing their "home" games at Gillette Stadium. This means the Boston sports market will have two competing 1-A football programs.
That makes Saturday's date with Boston College the biggest game of the year. Call it an introductory offer for Boston sports fans. Or, a Whitman Sampler of UMass football. (Better still, and in homage to the UMass administration building, a Whitmore Sampler.)
The Boston Herald has a story on local college product that are hopeful of hearing their names called as the NFL Draft starts on Thursday night. Read about it in : Local prospects hoping to catch on.
Offensive lineman Greg Niland of East Bridgewater, who began his career at Northeastern University before it dropped its football program, and went on to play his final season of eligibility at the University of Massachusetts, has piqued the interest of several NFL teams and could be a late-round pick.
Other UMass players to watch are wide receiver Anthony Nelson, who caught 61 passes last season, running back John Griffin of Westminster, another NU transfer, and quarterback Kyle Havens.
"Nelson did real well at the BC pro day and turned some heads," UMass coach Kevin Morris said. "Griffin, as well, with his physical skills. Nelson has some people wanting to take a second and third look at how good he is with the ball and how fast he is. Havens, too, has a couple of teams interested. We just need to get this (NFL) lockout to get unlocked, to get these guys into camps to show what they can do."
Here are various stories on the Pro Day that was held at Boston College on Wednesday as five former UMass football players took part. They included John Griffin, Kyle Havens, Mike Mele, Anthony Nelson and Greg Niland. The lineman Niland is quoted in many of these stories.
UMass basketball battled the three-time defending A-10 Champions, but lost 73-67 in overtime on Wednesday. Still, the Minutemen hold fate in their own hands when it comes to hosting a first-round A-10 Tournament game. A win on Saturday at Fordham OR several other scenarios would result in a home game to start the postseason. Read about the Temple game and the postseason situation here:
The Boston Herald has a story on the idea of playing a Basketball Beanpot.
Tonight and next Monday, college hockey will take center stage on the Boston sports scene.
Alumni and fans of Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern and Harvard will pack into the Garden as the schools battle for city bragging rights in the Beanpot.
It's a great tradition that leads to a simple question: Why doesn't basketball have a similar event?
"I think in the state of Massachusetts you have to do some untraditional stuff just to keep the fans interested and give them kind of a special day," UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. "Massachusetts is such a strong professional sports state that you have to keep people's interest by doing some different things on the college level."
Earlier this week, I caught up with an old friend, James Ihedigbo. You may know James as the hard hitting safety and special teams ace from the Jets; I know him best from our battles on the intramural courts at UMass. He didn't seem overly interested in reliving the time my squad beat him and his football teammates. Apparently he has more important things on his mind...whatever.
In this New England College Basketball Notebook by UMass alum Dan Duggan in the Boston Herald, the Minutemen are keeping an upbeat attitude despite four losses in a row.
After a 7-0 start, UMass has dropped four straight games. There could be a "here we go again" feeling in Amherst, but the Minutemen are staying optimistic.
"There's obviously disappointment that we're not coming away with victories, but at the same token, there's no sense of quit in the guys," coach Derek Kellogg said. "I think they still feel like we can make something happen this season."
One obvious cause of the slide is stiffer competition. The losses have come against BC, Maine, Seton Hall and No. 24 Central Florida.
UMass is a mostly young team, which has led to some inconsistency. But Kellogg is confident the underclassmen will continue to develop.
"All in all, I like where we are as a team and a program," Kellogg said. "My job is to get a consistent effort every single time out from all the guys."
UMass coach Derek Kellogg, a former Minutemen player, is piecing together a winning program, as evidenced by his 7-0 start this season. In the Boston Herald, Steve Buckley has a great column on how Derek Kellogg is the right man for the job in Amherst.
The first time Anthony Gurley laid eyes on Derek Kellogg, he was convinced good days were ahead for the UMass basketball program.
"You could tell he wasn't just here for the job," said Gurley, a senior guard for the Minutemen who made his way to Amherst via Newton North High School with a brief stop in Winston-Salem, N.C., along the way. "Coach Kellogg has done a great job of putting together a blueprint of a top-25 program and putting us on the rise. I'm very confident in the direction this program is headed."
The Boston Herald has a pair of stories on UMass. The first one is a feature on senior guard Anthony Gurley, who leads UMass into Saturday's game at the Garden.
urley has a scorer's mentality, a focus that frequently resulted in individual play in his first two seasons at UMass. Now a senior, Gurley is scoring more than ever. But he's also become an all-around player, with career-highs in rebounds, steals, field-goal percentage and 3-point shooting. Most importantly, UMass is 7-0 entering tomorrow night's Boston Tip-Off Classic game against Boston College at the Garden.
"I think I've matured a lot," said Gurley, a Roxbury native and former Newton North star. "My game has expanded. I'm trying to play a more complete game, get my teammates involved more and just play to my strengths."
The Boston Herald takes a look at UMass and its football game vs. No. 1 Delaware on Saturday.
"Delaware is leading the league in wins, so if we play well then we'll be rewarded," said UMass coach Kevin Morris. "Their run-and-pass combination is real strong and their quarterback (Pat Devlin) will probably be the player of the year based on his play so far. Defensively, they've played consistently well."
The Boston Herald has a Monday story on Tyler Holmes and his record-setting day for UMass after he picked off two passes and returned them for touchdowns.
"They kept throwing the ball to the flat, so I wanted to get in good position. I read off the quarterback's intention and made a good break on the ball. I was surprised, especially on the first one," said Holmes, who joined Jerard White (1996-99) and Anton McKenzie (2000-03) as the only UMass players to have two interception returns for TDs in a career. "The second one, I was kind of the free player in the zone, reading off the quarterback's eyes and got a good jump on the ball. It provided great momentum and tremendous energy for my team.
The rain has cleared and Saturday looks like a great day for Homecoming 2010 as the Minutemen host Richmond at 3:30 p.m. Be sure to join us for a high-power CAA clash between two of the Top 20 teams in the nation. There will also be a special tribute by the UMass Band and Alumni Band at halftime in honor of the late George N. Parks.
The Boston Herald has a nice feature on UMass junior captain Email Igwenagu. Check out John Connolly's story.
Some players are men for all seasons. UMass co-captain Emil Igwenagu can best be described as a man for all positions.
In three-plus seasons (including his redshirt year) with the Minutemen, the 21-year-old junior has played fullback and linebacker, served on scout teams, been a special teams performer, and finally found a home at tight end.
"I don't really have a favorite. I like what I'm doing now," said Igwenagu, who will be in action today (3:30 p.m.) when No. 8 UMass (4-1) hosts No. 20 Richmond (2-3) on Homecoming. "(My versatility) helps me out. It's true. As a tight end, I feel I can do a little bit of everything. I'm not strictly a blocking tight end and I'm not strictly a receiving tight end. I do a little bit of both.
Even with what was at stake, UMass men's basketball coach Derek Kellogg never had to think twice. Stay home while Boston College makes the 80-minute journey to Amherst for an early-season game, or brave the Mass Pike to play their in-state rival at the Celtics' pad.
The 2010 Boston Tip-Off Classic was announced yesterday at TD Garden, which will host the Dec. 4 doubleheader featuring three local teams. Northeastern will face Drexel, followed by UMass going up against BC. A portion of the event's proceeds will benefit Children's Hospital Boston.
Skip Connors combined an intrastate rivalry with an intercity one to create the 2010 Boston Tip-Off Classic. Read the full story in the Boston Herald.
On Dec. 4, UMass will rekindle its Commonwealth Classic rivalry with Boston College (6:30 p.m.), and Northeastern will host Philadelphia-based Drexel (4 p.m.) in the doubleheader scheduled for the Garden.
The four Division 1 programs representing the Atlantic Coast Conference (BC), the Atlantic 10 (UMass) and the Colonial Athletic Association (NU, Drexel) will gather for a press conference this morning at the Garden. Proceeds from the Tip-Off Classic will benefit Children's Hospital and Al's Angels, a program that serves the homeless in the Greater Boston area.
It was early December 2009 and the cold winds felt sharper to Anthony Nelson after learning Hofstra announced it was disbanding its football program.
Nelson, a junior receiver for The Pride, began sending out game tapes to other schools. In the meantime, Hofstra offensive line coach Bill Durkin, a former UMass star, was telling Nelson about the unique opportunity UMass could offer. Following a visit with his parents to the Amherst campus a few days later, Nelson had found a new home.
There is a mention of UMass' football win at Stony Brook in the Boston Herald as part of a weekend notebook.
No. 11 UMass (3-1, 1-0 CAA) rallied to win at Stony Brook (1-3), 26-21.
John Griffin, a senior transfer from the defunct Northeastern football program, had 132 yards and a touchdown. Junior co-captain Tyler Holmes had an interception to ice matters.
Resiliency has become the UMass calling card.
"It was a battle, a real toe-to-toe fight throughout . . . the guys just stuck with it and made some plays," said coach Kevin Morris. "The kids aren't afraid to keep coming after it to get the win. Now, the negative was we got some penalties (seven for 60 yards) to put oursleves in trouble and Stony Brook is a really strong team and ran the ball well against us with play-action. It was a real physical game and we came out good on that end of it. But, at the end, the team came back to win."
Assuming the Celtics keep the maximum 15 players and depending on how other positions shake out, Gaffney could be in a battle with summer acquisition Von Wafer for one of the final roster spots. Despite that uncertain future, Gaffney has a good feeling about the Celtics this season.
"The environment in the locker room right now is something special," Gaffney said this morning before the C's charity golf tournament at the Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy. "There's obviously a lot of talk about the Miami Heat right now, but we're a team that's determined and looks ready to get this thing going."
Celtics Town has a snipet on Gaffney and his enthusiasm for the season.
There was much to like about New England teams this weekend, including UMass' stalwart effort at Michigan, Harvard's unveiling of quarterback Andrew Hatch, and Rhode Island's 28-25 stunner over New Hampshire.
No coach likes to claim a moral victory after a tough loss, but there is little doubt that UMass coach Kevin Morris feels proud of his club after it proved it could play with the big boys, losing a heartbreaking 42-37 affair at Michigan, ranked No. 20 in the FBS entering the game.
Will Michigan get caught looking ahead to playing Bowling Green on Sept. 25? Or will UMass be thinking of visiting Stony Brook the same week?
The No. 18 Minutemen (2-0) carry the FCS banner into The Big House in Ann Arbor this weekend (Saturday, noon) to face a potent Wolverines squad (2-0) riding high after victories over UConn and Notre Dame.
The Boston Herald has a follow-up story on UMass' win over William & Mary. John Connolly points out how UMass continued to bounce back despite mistakes and errors in the game.
A telltale sign of that grit came during a fourth-and-2 play from the Tribe 7-yard line late in the third quarter of the season opener at McGuirk Stadium. UMass elected to go for it instead of kicking a field goal while trailing 16-14. The Minutemen botched the play on an illegal forward pass. The Tribe responded by driving for a score to go up 23-14 and position UMass coach Kevin Morris for some second-guessing.
A youthful UMass team will have to mature in a hurry as it opens its 128th season today at McGuirk Stadium against a William & Mary team ranked fourth nationally. William & Mary is one of six ranked opponents on the UMass schedule, the others being No. 25 Holy Cross, No. 6 Richmond, No. 10 New Hampshire, No. 15 James Madison and No. 16 Delaware.