Recently in A.J. Doyle Category
"I honestly feel we're just a play away from this exploding where we're putting up 30, 35, 40 points a game," Doyle said. "When that rock explodes it's gonna be a scary thing and we're gonna be a scary team to play against."
Doyle and UMass responded to adversity, and actually lifted their level of play because of it, taking a 7-6 lead and 138-33 yardage advantage into the second quarter. That, if nothing else, is reason for hope for this struggling team as it continues a difficult schedule.
"I thought our team fought - both sides of the ball fought to the end," coach Charley Molnar said. "I've been to this show before when the wheels have come off, and today, the wheels were loose, but they never came off. And I think that's progress. It's a small sign for me, but certainly something we can sink our teeth into and grow from."
Molnar said Doyle, who finished with 186 yards and two interceptions on 21-of-31 passing, "never flinched" after tossing the pick-6.
Doyle battled an injury during the the bulk of spring practices and summer workouts that Molnar said hampered his ability to compete with Wegzyn for the starting job when training camp rolled around. Now that he's gotten healthy, Doyle's performance at practice has picked up.
"It's not that Mike's has gone down, it's just that A.J.s has improved," Molnar said.
In two years, Doyle has thrown for 516 yards, four touchdowns and eight interceptions on 67-of-121 attempts. His only other career start came in the Minutemen's 42-21 loss to Central Michigan in the season finale last year.
Both Doyle and Wegzyn have described their relationship on and off the field as strong. But Doyle admitted the large amount of time they spend together during the week - they also share a hotel room for every road game - tends to make things "a little awkward" when it comes to the fierce battle for the QB job.
"We both understand it's a competition and we both understand only one quarterback can play," Doyle said. "We both have a very good understanding that one of us is gonna play and one of us is gonna sit."