Havens & Cruz Lead #17 UMass In 44-7 Romp Over Albany

Sept. 12, 2009

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AMHERST, Mass. - A well-balanced effort from the offense and defense helped UMass to a solid 44-7 win over Albany on Saturday at McGuirk Alumni Stadium. The Minutemen picked off three passes and Kyle Havens and Victor Cruz hooked up for two touchdown pass-plays to punctuate Kevin Morris' first win at UMass head coach. It was UMass' (1-1) eighth straight home opening victory and came before a crowd of 13,215.

UMass had its highest-scoring home opener since 2003, when they beat Central Connecticut State, 51-7.

Cruz piled up 121 yards on six catches, and fellow wideout Julian Talley grabbed a career-high five balls for a career-high 86 yards. Havens, the junior college transfer, in his first home start for the Minutemen threw for 284 yards on 20-of-32 and two touchdowns.

On the ground, Tony Nelson gained 77 yards as scored his 17th career touchdown in the win, but it was Jonathan Hernandez who led UMass in rushing with 88 yards and a two touchdowns off the bench.

On defense senior Jeromy Miles, sophomore Tyler Holmes and freshman Perry McIntyre all had interceptions for UMass. For Holmes, it was his third straight game with an interception, dating to last season. The Minutemen also recorded 10 tackles for a loss including sacks by Brandon Collier and Michael Hanson.

The Minutemen sealed the game in the fourth quarter as UMass drove 90 yards on the arm of Havens and legs of Hernandez, who scored from 1-yard out to give UMass a 34-7 lead with 10:54 left in the fourth. For Hernandez, it was his first-career touchdown. Then the icing on the cake came as Hernandez dashed away from the defenders for a 58-yard blast with 9:14 left in the fourth, giving UMass a 41-7 lead. Cuko added a 40-yard field goal to make it 44-7. It was Cuko's third of the game, tying his career.

UMass took advantage of its third interception of the game as a Jeromy Miles pick-off led to a 3-yard touchdown pass from Haves to Cruz and a 27-7 lead with 3:21 left in the third quarter.

After Albany got on the scoreboard, UMass answered immediately as Victor Cruz hauled in a 67-yard pass from Kyle Havens and dashed down the right sideline to regain a 10-point lead at 17-7 midway though the quarter. It was the second-longest catch of Cruz's career. Armando Cuko added a 37-yard field goal with 2:05 left in the first half. That made the score 20-7.

The Minutemen held off a late drive by Albany which started off an interception by Dave Casale at the UMass 49-yard line. It was his 10th career pick-off. Michael Hanson's sack hurt Albany's chances as the half came to an end with a missed 50-yard field with seven seconds left in the half.

Albany got on the scoreboard with work from their two quarterbacks. Starter Vinny Esposito and option QB Andrew Smith engineered a drive of 32-yards to bring the Great Danes to within three, at 10-7 with 9:06 left in the second. Smith finished off the drive on a handoff from Esposito from three yards out.

UMass jumped all over Albany in the first quarter building a 10-0 lead in just over five minutes. Senior defensive tackle Brandon Collier sacked Albany's Esposito and forced a fumble which he recovered at the Great Danes 18-yard line. Four plays later Tony Nelson ran in from 2-yards out to give the Minutemen to 10-point bulge 5:02 into the game.

Senior kicker Armando Cuko dented the scoreboard with a career-long 47-yard field 2:53 into the game for a 3-0 lead. It was Cuko's fifth-career game with a 40-yard field goal.



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