Western Michigan Outlasts Massachusetts, 31-30
Oct. 26, 2013
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Western Michigan scored the go-ahead touchdown with just under five minutes to play and held off a late Massachusetts rally, which included a potential game-winning two-point conversion with 22 seconds left, claiming a 31-30 victory at Gillette Stadium.
Following a Western Michigan score, UMass worked its way down the field, converting a trio of third downs and a crucial fourth down one play prior to Lorenzo Woodley's two-yard run. UMass then opted to go for two and A.J. Doyle missed Elgin Long on an overthrow in the back of the end zone, leaving the Minutemen down by a point.
The on-side kick attempt slipped through Khary Bailey-Smith's hands and the Broncos recovered to take a knee and secure their first win of the year.
Western Michigan (1-8, 1-4 Mid American Conference) took a 31-24 lead late in the game when Zach Terrell completed a 54-yard scoring pass on third-and-long slant to Corey Davis for a 31-24 advantage.
For UMass (1-7, 1-3), A.J. Doyle was 15-for-24 and 194 yards and one touchdown. Tight end Rob Blanchflower caught seven balls for a career-high 131 yards and score. The red-shirt senior's performance now gives him 1,138 career yards receiving, just 14 yards shy of breaking Milt Morin's record for reception yards by a tight end.
Running backs Lorenzo Woodley and Jamal Wilson both reached the end zone for the Minutemen, while kicker Blake Lucas made a 37-yard field goal and three extra points. Woodley led the team with a career high 16 carries and 58 yards, while his score in the fourth was the first of his career.
UMass opened the game with a bang as Bailey-Smith returned the kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. The first kick off taken for a touchdown since Jesse Julmiste returned a kick 90-yards at Richmond on October 8, 2011.
The Broncos responded with an 18-play drive, converting three fourth downs before getting on the scoreboard with a Andrew Haldeman 36-yard field goal with just over six minutes to play in the first.
Wilson capped a 61-yard UMass drive early in the second quarter when he went in from three yards out for his first career touchdown.
Western Michigan recorded its first touchdown five minutes into the second quarter on a 31-yard strike from Terrell to Antoin Scriven.
UMass responded with a quick strike thanks to the Doyle-to-Blanchflower tandem. The duo executed a 55-yard completion to put the Minutemen at the doorstep, before adding a six-yard scoring play two snaps later.
The Broncos cut the deficit to 21-17 with 2:13 in the half when Kendrick Roberts hauled in a five-yard pass.
The Minutemen led 21-17 at the half despite just six first downs and only 9:31 time of possession.
The Broncos took their first lead of the game at 24-21 when they marched down the field to open the second half. A six-play drive culminated in a 14-yard scoring pass to Corey Davis.
UMass tied things up on the next possession as Lucas connected on a 37-yard field goal.
UMass appeared ready to take the lead three possessions later but Lucas missed a 27-yard field goal early in the fourth.
The Broncos next drive proved to be the difference as they went ahead for good on the third-and-long slant to Corey Davis.
UMass will play host to Northern Illinois next Saturday, Nov. 2 at Noon.