Hernandez Runs Wild In #15 UMass' 44-17 Win

Jeremy Horne had a 49-yard reception on UMass' first offensive play of the game.

Jeremy Horne had a 49-yard reception on UMass' first offensive play of the game.

Sept. 26, 2009

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AMHERST, Mass. - Sophomore Jonathan Hernandez made the most of his first college start as he scored three rushing touchdowns and gained 140 yards on the ground as No. 15 UMass topped Stony Brook, 44-17 on Saturday night at McGuirk Alumni Stadium. The Minutemen (3-1) wrapped up a three-game homestand with their third win in a row, in their final non-conference game of the season. Stony Brook fell to 1-3 overall.

UMass had 500 yards of total offense.

Hernandez, who started in place of a banged up Tony Nelson, scored on rushes of 3, 9 and 36 yards to give UMass some separation from a pesky Seawolves team. The Leominster, Mass., native became the first UMass player since Matt Laawrence to rush for three touchdowns, who did in the 2007 NCAA Tournament First Round vs. Fordham.

Fellow back Chris Zardas rushed for two touchdowns (3 and 4 yards) to give UMass five rushing touchdowns. It was UMass' first game with five rushing touchdowns since Oct. 7, 2006 against William & Mary (Nelson 3, Steve Baylark 2).

Senior receiver Jeremy Horne had his first big game of the season with a break-out 124 yards on five catches. It was his fifth-career 100-receiving game.

Senior kicker Armando Cuko had a career-high three field goals for the third game in a row with kicks of 30, 42 and 35.

The Minutemen defense proved to be strong again, despite giving up points in the first quarter for the first time this season. UMass held Stony Brook to 229 offensive yards and just 97 in the second half. Shane Viveiros and Darren Thellen each had their first-career interceptions.

The Minutemen broke open the game early in the second half as Hernandez bolted free for a 36-yard rushing touchdown 4:59 into the third quarter. That put him over 100 yards for the first time in his career and gave UMass a 31-17 lead. Armando Cuko added a 42-yard field goal and Zardas scored on a 4-yard rush to give UMass a 41-17 lead with 40 seconds left in the third quarter.

After Havens threw his second interception of the game, Stony Brook converted on its first ensuing offensive play as Coulter connected with Gush for the second time on a 15-yard touchdown. That brought the Seawolves to within four points at 21-17. The score was the second off a UMass turnover.

UMass regained a two-score advantage as Hernandez scored on a 9-yard run with 9:34 left in the first half, that put the Minutemen up 21-10.

UMass came out firing as Havens connected with Jeremy Horne on a 49-yard bomb on the first play from scrimmage. Five plays later Chris Zardas rumbled in from three yards out for a 7-0 UMass lead, 2:21 into the game.

Stony Brook answered UMass right away with 10 points as Michael Coulter hit Jordan Gush for a 5-yard touchdown. Then after a Seawolves' Arin West interception, Wesley Skiffington kicked a 43-yard field goal to give Stony Brook a 10-7 lead with 6:02 left in the first quarter.

The Minutemen came right back as Hernandez ran in from three yards to regain the lead at 14-10 with 2:04 left in the first quarter.

UMass has an open date next week before its first road game in a month at Delaware on Oct. 10. That game kicks off at 6 p.m.



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