#17 Minutemen Roll Over The Rams, 30-10

Fullback Chris Zardas had a career-high three receptions.

Fullback Chris Zardas had a career-high three receptions.

Sept. 19, 2009

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AMHERST, Mass. - The Minutemen continued to dominate Rhode Island, beating the Rams for the ninth time in a row at home, winning 30-10 on a picture-perfect Saturday afternoon at McGuirk Stadium. UMass has outscored the Rams 79-10 over the last two meetings including last year's 49-0 whitewash. The Minutemen moved to 2-1 overall, with a win in the conference opener for both teams. Rhode Island falls to 1-1.

Junior quarterback Kyle Havens was sensational in the game as he completed 22-of-30 for 329 yards and two touchdowns. That included a first half where he was 15-of-17 for 206 yards. On the ground, Tony Nelson rushed for 158 yards on 29 carries and a score. It was his ninth-career 100-yard game and second this season.

The defense continued to be stout, not giving up a point in the first or fourth quarters this season. Outscoring opponents 64-10. Kyle Harrington and Eric Dickson led the defense with seven tackles each.

Senior linebacker Kurt Filler had two huge plays to thwart Rhode Island's two best potential offensive-touchdown scoring drives. Filler had his career-interception in the UMass end zone to end a URI drive in the first quarter. Then in the fourth with Rhode Island down to the UMass 5-yard line and looking to get within one score on a fourth-down and goal, Filler tackled Rhode Island's quarterback Chris Paul-Etienne after he fumbled to end the drive and give UMass the ball back.

The Rams did score a touchdown on defense in the third quarter to end UMass' shutout in the second half. But still, UMass' defense has yet to allow a second-half touchdown.

Rhode Island was held to just seven rushing yards in the first half and 70 overall in the game.

UMass set the tone from the start with a 12-play drive to open the game. That finished with a 4-yard pass from Havens to Chris Zardas, 5:48 into the game.

The Minutemen would go on to scored two more times in the second quarter, each with a drive or more than 10 plays. UMass was also perfect on third-down conversions in the first half, making all seven attempts.

Victor Cruz caught a 5-yard pass from Havens 1:29 into the second quarter for a 14-0 lead. Nelson ran in from 3 yards with 2:44 left in the first half for a 21-0 intermission edge.

Rhode Island scored the first points against UMass in the second half this season as Jarrod Williams returned a fumble 68 yards with 8:49 left in the third quarter to cut the Minuteman lead to 21-7.

The Rams tried and on-sides kick, but Jonathan Hernandez recovered the ball and set UMass up for a drive that ended with an Armando Cuko 22-yard field goal. Rhode Island answered with a 38-yard field goal by Louis Feinstein to make the score 24-10 UMass with 2:25 left in the third quarter. Cuko added two more field goals from 37 and 42 yards away in the fourth quarter for a 30-10 advantage.

UMass wraps up its three-game homestand next Saturday as the Minutemen host Stony Brook at 6 p.m. Its Band Day, where more than 5000 local band members will be on hand at McGuirk Stadium.




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