Baylark Runs Wild As No. 8 UMass Beats Maine, 35-14
Oct. 22, 2005
ORONO, Maine -- No. 8 UMass' national-leading defense received its best test of the season, but did not break as the Minutemen topped A-10 rival Maine, 35-14 at Alfond Stadium. Tailback Steve Baylark scored three touchdowns and went over the 100-yard rushing mark for the 14th time in his career finishing with a career-high 198 yards as he ran for a score and caught the first two receiving touchdowns in his career. He finished with 262 yards from scrimmage, also a career-high.
Baylark moved to fourth on UMass' career rushing list (3,025) and moved fifth in career rushing touchdowns with a 14-yard run to open the game's scoring 5:40 into the contest. He grabbed back-to-back receiving TDs in a span of 54 seconds in the third quarter to put UMass ahead 28-14. He also had career highs of six catches and 64 receiving yards.
UMass is now 6-1 overall and remains the only undefeated team in the powerful Atlantic 10 at 5-0. Maine is 2-5 overall and 0-4 in the league.
UMass gave up its first two passing touchdowns of the season and just the second and third offensive scores by an opposition this season. Maine's Kevin McMahan hauled in a 57-yard pass from Ron Whitcomb just 1:14 after Baylark's score in the first quarter. The duo hooked up again with 4:41 left in the third quarter from 35 yards out giving Maine a 14-13 lead.
Maine piled up 160 yards in the first quarter - the most by any UMass foe in a period this year -- on its way to 413 for the game, the most allowed by UMass this season in a game. The Minutemen came into the game allowing a nation-leading 161.2 yards per game. UMass also came into the game allowing 6.0 points per game, which is now 7.1 after allowing 14 to the Black Bears.
UMass had three interceptions in the game, as senior captain Serge Tikum had the first of his career while James Ihedigbo had his second of the season and sixth of his career. Ihedigbo also had a sack and continues to lead the Atlantic 10 with 7.5 sacks.
Sophomore Cesar Rosario closed out the scoring with an 89-yard interception return for a touchdown with 2:49 left in the game. It was the longest return for UMass since Anton McKenzie ran back a 96-yard pick against New Hampshire on Nov. 6, 2002.
UMass takes on No. 5 New Hampshire next Saturday at McGuirk Stadium in a battle of two top teams in the Atlantic 10. The Widlcats are also 6-1 (4-1 in the A-10) after a 52-21 win over Northeastern on Saturday.
* Steve Baylark moved to fourth on the all-time career rushing list as he gained a career-high 198 in the game and now has (3,025) for his career. He passed Frank Alessio (2,887) with a 7-yard rush in the early second quarter. Baylark is also fourth in career carries (672).
* The game was the 14th career 100-yard game for Baylark and seventh in the last 12 games; third this season.
* Baylark had a 14-yard rushing touchdown for the game's opening score. It was his 22nd career rushing touchdown which tied him fifth all-time in that category with former UMass and NFL quarterback Greg Landry (1965-67).
* He also had his first career receiving touchdown in the third quarter, a 10-yard score in the third quarter from Liam Coen.
* Baylark also set career-highs in all receiving categories with 64 receiving yards, a career-high passing his old best of 29 yards at Rhode Island (10/23/04). His six catches surpasses his old his of four accomplished at William & Mary (10/11/03).
* Cesar Rosario's first career interception return for a touchdown of 89 yards with 2:59 left in the game was the longest interception return for a touchdown since Anton McKenzie returned a ball 96 yards against New Hampshire on Nov. 9, 2002.
* UMass allowed 160 yards in the first quarter, it was one yard less than UMass' defense has allowed for entire games, coming into the contest (161.2). The 160 was also more than UMass allowed all of last week vs. defending national champion James Madison, which had 157.
* The 160 yards in the first quarter was by far the most UMass has allowed in any quarter this season. The previous high was 112 by Richmond in the fourth quarter on Sept. 1.
* UMass had its first successful two-point conversion in nearly two years as Brandon London grabbed a pass from Liam Coen in the third quarter. The last successful two-pointer was a pass from Jeff Krohn to Rich Demers on Nov. 1, 2003 against Northeastern.
* Senior Serge Tikum had his first-career interception in the second quarter. He returned the ball 22 yards.
* Kevin McMahan caught a 57-yard touchdown pass from Ron Whitcomb with 6:54 elapsed in the first quarter ended UMass' streak of not allowing an offensive touchdown. The streak spanned 22 quarters totaling 322:31 over seven games. The last offensive touchdown was a 1-yard rush by Richmond's Stacy Tutt in the season opener.
* The scoring reception was also the first allowed by UMass this season. It was the first TD reception allowed by UMass in eight games dating to last season's finale. The streak spanned 401:08 dating to a 6-yard passing play from Hofstra's Anton Clarkson to Devale Ellis.
* Christian Koegel had a season-long 60-yard punt in the third quarter. It marked the 12th time in 15 games he had a punt of 50 yards or more.
* Christian Koegel's first punt of the game went for 36 yards but was downed inside the Maine 1-yard line. It was his 11th punt of the season to be downed inside the 20.
* James Ihedigbo had a third-quarter sack and now has 7.5 this season to lead the Atlantic 10.
* David Burris had his first solo sack of the season in the second minute of the game, it was the 32nd time Maine's quarterbacks have been sacked this season.
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