Hernandez, Defense Lead No. 25 UMass To 24-16 Win At Holy Cross
Sept. 1, 2011
WORCESTER, Mass. - Energized by a large contingent of hometown fans, Leominster, Mass., native Jonathan Hernandez rushed for 151 yards to lead the No. 25 UMass football team to a 24-16 win at Holy Cross in the 2011 season-opener for both teams. It was a special night for several Minutemen from the Central Mass. region as Emil Igwenagu also posted his first-career rushing touchdown.
The defense held tight in the fourth quarter - killing a building momentum for the Crusaders (0-1). After Holy Cross threatened to score when reaching the UMass 25-yard line, Perry McIntyre dropped Crusader tailback Reggie Woods for a five-yard loss. With 12:28 left in the period, kicker Paul Tearson missed the ensuing 47-yard field goal.
Hernandez ripped off 40 yards on the next possession for UMass and added a 15-yard pass reception down to the Holy Cross four-yard line. That set-up a Kellen Pagel toss to Julian Talley giving the Minutemen a 24-9 lead with 7:51 remaining and effectively taking the Crusaders out of the game.
The redshirt senior was one of the tri-captains selected specifically for this game and turned in the second-most rushing yards of his career just shy of the 166 he posted against New Hampshire in 2009. His 29 carries tied a career-high, while he also caught two passes for 12 yards, including a key third-down grab.
Pagel finished the game going 10-of-16 for 104 yards and two touchdowns - all career firsts at UMass. Brandon Hill started the game going 5-of-8 for 30 yards.
Holy Cross scored a late touchdown with 51 seconds left on a Jeff Taggart 19-yard pass to Gerald Mistretta, making it an eight-point game, but Tyler Holmes recovered the on-side kick to seal the victory for the Minutemen.
Igwenagu put UMass on the scoreboard first with a one-yard plunge, the first rushing touchdown of his career, putting the Minutemen up 7-0 with 5:48 left in the first quarter.