No. 15 UMass Grinds Out Win At Richmond, 19-6
Sept. 1, 2005
RICHMOND, Va. - No. 15 UMass won its season opener for the sixth time in seven years as the Minutemen downed A-10 rival Richmond in the 2005 debut for both teams, 19-6. Payton Award candidate Steve Baylark ran for 120 yards while Buchanan Award candidate Shannon James picked off his 17th career pass in the win. Junior Brandon Smith had the first two interceptions of his career including the one to seal the game with 6:26 left as Richmond was driving deep into UMass territory. Smith picked off a pass at the three-yard line and returned it 55 yards for the clincher. Senior quarterback Tim Day threw for 158 yards including two touchdowns.
It was the 12th time in Baylark's career he gained more than 100 yards and second against Richmond. James continues to lead all players in the Division I-A and I-AA in career interceptions.
UMass' defense was solid all game picking off four passes. In the first half they pitched a shutout and allowed just 92 total yards of offense, picking off two passes. For the game, UMass gave up just 291 yards. Richmond's top offensive weapon Stacy Tutt gained just 33 total yards playing wide receiver and quarterback.
On the heels of a James' 17th career interception, UMass built the lead to 16-0 on 51-yard bomb from Day to Brandon London with 53 seconds in the first half. London hauled in the pass and streaked down the right sideline for the longest reception of his career. James' pick continued to add to his Division I-A/I-AA leading career total.
The teams traded interceptions midway through the second quarter. Brandon Smith picked off his first pass at UMass but on the ensuing drive, Day was intercepted by Stephen Howell of Richmond at the Spiders' 31-yard line.
J.J. Moore hauled in a 12-yard touchdown score as Day rolled out and hit the sophomore with 3:34 left in the first quarter to put UMass ahead 9-0. Cuko's extra-point attempt was blocked following the score.
After a great defensive stop on Richmond's first drive of the game, UMass scored the first points of the season on an Armando Cuko 24-yard field goal with 8:13 left in the first quarter. The drive was keyed by a pair of completions to Brandon London and a 25-yard run by Baylark.
Richmond got on the board with 37 seconds left in the third quarter as senior Stacy Tutt plunged in from one-yard away to make it 16-6. Tracy Belton intercepted the two-point conversion.
Armando Cuko added a 31-yard field goal with 4:14 left to make it 19-6 after Smith's second interception of the game.
Richmond's Ryan Mace was carted off the field on a stretcher and taken to the hospital after suffering what appeared to be a neck injury with 7:49 left in the first half. He gave a No. 1 hand-signal as he was taken to the ambulance.
UMass continues on the road next week at Colgate on Saturday, Sept. 10. Kickoff is set for Noon and will be televised live on CN8. The home opener takes place under the lights against Albany on Sept. 17 at McGuirk Stadium.
* Shannon James intercepted his 17th career pass with 1:01 left in the first half and is now tied for third all-time in career picks at UMass with Don Caparotti. The record of 18 is held by Grady Fuller and Steve Rogers.
* James continued to add to his nation-leading total of career interceptions with 17, the most of any player in Division I-A or I-AA.
* Brandon Smith had the first two interceptions of his career in the win.
* Jason Hatchell led UMass in tackles with XX after having just four all of last season.
* Brandon London's 51-yard touchdown reception was the longest catch of his career and the fourth career score for the Charlottesville, Virginia native.
* Steve Baylark moved to fourth in career carries with 29 and now has 540, moving past Kevin Smellie (513) and Frank Alessio (512) on the all-time list.
* R.J. Cobbs' first-career pass attempt was intercepted in the second quarter by Andrew Harris at the Richmond 31-yard line.
* James Ihedigbo had a one-yard sack of Levi Brown in the second quarter, his first career sack. He added another sack in the fourth quarter.
* J.J. Moore caught his fifth career touchdown for the Minutemen's first TD of the year.
* Matt Lawrence picked up nine yards on his first career at UMass, but suffered a sprained ankle and did not return.
* Armando Cuko had the first points of the season on a 24-yard field goal with 8:13 left in the first quarter.
* Baylark gained 25 yards on a carry five minutes into the game, for the biggest play of the first drive.
* Baylark took the carry on UMass' first offensive play of the season for a one-yard carry. J.J. Moore hauled in the first reception of the season for a 12-yard gain from Tim Day on third down of the first series.
* Redshirt freshman Sean Caliccho made his first career start - in his first-career game - at right tackle. He was the only freshman (true or redshirt) to start.
* Others making their UMass debuts were transfers John Hatchell, Matt Lawrence, Frank McDonald, Michael Meggett and Patrick Powell and redshirt freshmen Brian Ellis, Darrlyn Fenner, Ian Jorgensen and Andy Resende-Gomes.
* Smalls was one of two Richmond natives to play in the game along with defensive end Patrick Powell. Virginia natives Darrlyn Fenner, Brandon Freeman, Brandon London, Alex Miller and David Thompson also played.
* UMass won the coin toss and deferred to second half, Richmond receives and defends North goal.
* UMass was playing a Thursday night opener for just the third time in school history, with the others coming in 1998 (at Delaware) and 2000 (William & Mary at home). Also, it was just the fourth-non Saturday football game for UMass since 1961.
* UMass debuted their new Nike jerseys in the game and wore all white.
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