The Daily Collegian, Dan Gigliotti has a great story on the importance of the UMass football performance at Michigan. He writes about how this game on the national stage.
"It's always good if you get on TV and it's national," Morris said. "The Big Ten Network is all across the country, apparently based on all the messages I got of people watching it. There is a reason why those Bowl games make millions of dollars because people watch TV and pay millions of dollars into advertising. I think TV is the recruiting tool and video now. Certainly us being on that stage and getting that kind of publicity nationwide, that's where it comes into play, absolutely."
UMass might not have the name recognition of other colleges, but it does produce some of the most competitive sports programs in the country at its level.
There are plenty of examples, however, of teams that are flourishing. The men's lacrosse team climbed its way into the national rankings last season and received national televised coverage on ESPN and ESPNU on multiple occasions.
Playing at the Big House was special for UMass senior fullback Scott Duggan and he made the most of it by blocking a punt. The Hudson Sun has a mention of the native son.
If you happened to watch last Saturday afternoon's thriller between UMass and Michigan you probably saw a Minuteman block a Spartan punt. What you may not have noticed was the player blocking the punt was former Hudson tailback and fullback Scott Duggan.
The punt was the first one blocked by a Minuteman defender against a FBS team since it happened against Kansas State in 2009. Duggan, a UMass senior, not only plays on special teams, but also has earned a spot as the starting fullback when the Minutemen run from an I formation.
Duggan attended Worcester Academy and Southern Connecticut before transferring to UMass. He played in three games on special teams coverage as a redshirt sophomore in 2008 and made a tackle against Bryant in his debut. As a junior, he appeared in eight games and made eight tackles, four solo, on special teams and as a backup linebacker. This year, Duggan earned a spot as the I formation fullback and is starting on special teams. He also returned one kickoff for 5 yards and one punt for 12 yards against the Spartans.
Coach Kevin Morris continues to garner media attention as he will be interviewed by Darryl Clark on WMUA 91.1 FM on Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. Be sure to catch Coach Morris talk about the Michigan game last week, the Stony Brook game this coming Saturday and the passing of the great George Parks.
On Monday, Michigan receiver Daryl Stonum had some high praise for UMass after the Wolverines escaped with a 42-37 win at Michigan Stadium.
In a Monday session with the media, Stonum said: "We watched film on UMASS and they were a great team. With all the upsets this year with division I teams against AA schools, we had to come out and play as hard as we could and they gave us a run for our money. Props to them, they did a great job. Their coaching staff was preparing for this game. They gave us a run for our money, so they did a great job."
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.
Check out this comment from the Daily Progress which covered William & Mary's 21-17 win over Old Dominion on Saturday. In reference to the Tribe's season-opening loss to the Minutemen, David Teel wrote...
"perhaps UMass is New England's best football outfit not named the Patriots. The Minutemen lost at Michigan 42-37 Saturday -- Rich Rodriguez hasn't exhaled yet and continues to fold Denard Robinson's laundry -- gaining 439 yards and converting 8-of-14 third or fourth downs."
When all was said and done, Kyle Havens sat glumly at a podium, looking quite unlike a man who had just played one of the best games of his career.
"It's never good to lose. We worked hard, and you never work hard to lose,'' the University of Massachusetts quarterback said after one of the great "almosts'' in school history, a 42-37 loss to Michigan before 110,187 fans.
Havens' attitude is absolutely the correct one for a good team, and this game erased whatever doubts lingered that UMass is a good team.
Read the full story in the Springfield Republican
As he stood on the sidelines of Michigan Stadium Saturday, associate band director Thomas P. Hannum took a moment to absorb the sights and sounds of a memorable day.
"No doubt, George Parks would have wanted to be here," Hannum said of the University of Massachusetts band director who died Thursday.
Hannum then gazed at the huge crowd, the action and the vibrancy of the moment.
It was everything Parks represented in his 33 years as UMass band director.
George N. Parks, who over 33 years transformed the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band into "The Power and Class of New England" and inspired generations of music students and "bandos," died suddenly while traveling with the band in Ohio on Thursday.
Those who knew him say the two things that mattered most to him recently were the band's new building on campus and the trip to Ann Arbor, Mich., today where the band is to play at halftime during the UMass-Michigan football game.
We have received word from the University of Michigan that a Moment of Silence will be held at the UMass-Michigan game on Saturday in honor of the late George Parks, who passed away in Ohio as the band was traveling to Ann Arbor. The Moment of Silence will be held prior to the UMass band's performance on the field during pregame before the game. Additionally, the Big Ten Network will mention his passing on national television.
The band will still be performing at Michigan Stadium.
Additionally, we have learned the UMass Band will continue with its performance tonight at Howell High School in Howell, Michigan.
During tomorrow's UMass-Michigan game, Josh Maurer will bring you special tribute messages in honor of Parks throughout the game on the UMass Sports Network (100.9 FM in W. Mass, 830 AM in C. Mass, 1510 AM in E. Mass and 95.9 FM on the South Shore).
Check out this preview from the Bleacher Report, which talk about how FCS teams have been giving FBS teams fits.
And we really shouldn't be surprised, FCS schools (such as UMass) are sending players to the NFL at quite a decent rate. The difference between FCS and FBS is that NFL talent in FBS is generally quite concentrated among around 20-30 teams, but spread through all of the FCS teams very nicely.
Only two sets of people don't like quarterbacks who run.
who think they can't take the
pounding in the pros.
College defenses that
can't stop them.
To the rest of us, a running
quarterback can be the most
exciting player in football.
And the University of Massachusetts has never seen any
one quite like Michigan sophomore and Heisman Trophy
front-runner Denard Robinson, who leads the nation in
rushing with 227.5 yards per game.
Check out Masslive.com which has a great feature on "3 Keys To UMass Upsetting College Football Power Michigan."
By now college football fans --- and UMass football fans, in particular --- have pondered the question: Can UMass make it two straight weeks for the CAA against a BCS power?
Just last week, Colonial Athletic Association rival James Madison took down ACC powerhouse Virginia Tech. On Saturday, the Minutemen have a shot to take down an even bigger college football powerhouse in No. 20 Michigan.
Even if expectations for the Minutemen --- ranked No. 15 in the FCS Coaches Poll and No. 16 in the Sports Network Poll --- were low going into the weekend, UMass fans should now be wondering if their team can pull off the next big upset.
As the seconds ticked down in his hometown of Blacksburg, Va., University of Massachusetts linebacker Tyler Holmes' phone began to blow up.
He and the rest of the Minutemen finished beating Holy Cross, 31-7, last Saturday afternoon when word arrived about a potential upset in Virginia.
James Madison, a Football Championship Subdivision school that, like UMass is a Colonial Athletic Association member, was closing in on becoming the second lower-division school to beat a ranked Football Bowl Subdivision opponent, then-No. 13 Virginia Tech.
Despite the recent success of FCS (formerly Division I-AA) teams against FBS (I-A) opponents -- the lower division had six wins over the upper division in the first two weeks of the season -- seeing the Hokies go down, 21-16, to JMU was stunning.
Notre Dame one week. The University of Massachusetts the next. In the world of college football, that sounds like a recipe for a letdown, but Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said not to expect it from his team.
"Our guys were really focused at practice. They seem to be into it," said Rodriguez, whose Big Ten team welcomes UMass to Ann Arbor, Mich., on Saturday.
"I have said before, there is a difference between good (Football Championship Subdivision) programs and middle-of-the pack FCS teams. UMass is a really good team. They have our players' attention."
The RV parking lots at Michigan Stadium will open Friday night in advance of Saturday afternoon's game between the Wolverines and the UMass Minutemen. If you think that's too early, consider this: at Penn State's Beaver Stadium and most other Big Ten stadiums, the RV lots open - and fill up - on Thursday night before Saturday games.
And if you're wondering, "What do those camper-living fans do all day Friday?" then you've never really tailgated and you've never really been to a college football game.
See folks, the world of big-time college football is just not New England's world. I come as a Penn State graduate and as an emissary from that world.
For Massachusetts linebacker Tyler Holmes, preseason honors are all well and good, but leading the defense in his first year as team captain is a more exciting notion.
The Blacksburg, Va. native has been garnering a lot of attention in the offseason and for good reason. As a true sophomore last season, Holmes led the Minutemen in tackles with 11 per game, interceptions with four and passes defended with nine. His 110 tackles also ranked second in the Colonial Athletic Association and eighth in NCAA. For his efforts, he was named to the 2009 CAA All-Conference Second Team.
Coming to the University of Massachusetts as a freshman in 2008, Tyler Holmes was a recruited walk-on football player. That soon changed.
Holmes' hard-nosed play soon convinced the coaching staff to offer him a scholarship. As a junior, his role and his status is still growing.
"When you get to know him, Tyler is a very positive kid who works hard every day," UMass defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Keith Dudzinski said as Holmes and UMass prepared to hit the national stage Saturday at Michigan.
From his fun nickname to his amazing performance in the first two weeks of the season, Denard "Shoelace" Robinson has made Michigan a top 25 team and himself one of the most talked about players in college football. His ascent from relative unknown to early Heisman Trophy contention is a fun story this week for everyone outside the University of Massachusetts locker room. The Minutemen have the difficult task of trying to contain him.
The nickname "Shoelace" comes from the fact that he doesn't tie them. He has played with his shoes untied since playing youth football in Florida.
Whether Michigan's Denard "Shoelace" Robinson is someday bound for the NFL remains to be seen. He's just a sophomore, but a promising one. If he does make it, he'll join a host of players the University of Massachusetts football team has faced in its annual game against a Division I-A/Bowl Subdivision opponent who have gone on to NFL success.
He's the most electrifying player in college football, but most people know little about him -- well, besides the fact he doesn't tie his shoelaces.
Michigan sophomore Denard Robinson has set, broken and re-broken records in his first two career starts. He's averaged 227.5 rushing yards through two games, making him the Bowl Subdivision leader -- and yes, he's ahead of the nation's top running back, Oklahoma State's Kendall Hunter who averages 207.0. Since the NCAA began ranking rushing leaders by yards per game in 1970, no quarterback has led the nation in rushing at the end of the season.
The University of Massachusetts is about to play a football game unlike any other in the history of the school. As big games go, they get no bigger than this one. Literally.
"Our players have to keep from getting under-impressed or over-impressed by 110,000 people dancing around,'' UMass coach Kevin Morris said of Saturday's game at Michigan, where the biggest stadium in America awaits.
When full, Michigan Stadium (a.k.a., The Big House) is more populous than all but 230 cities in the United States.
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.