Nine In A Row, Undefeated In A-10: No. 3 UMass Caps Regular-Season With 22-16 Win
Nov. 18, 2006
AMHERST, Mass. - The No. 3 UMass football team heads into the I-AA Playoffs riding a school-record nine-game winning streak after a work-man like 22-16 win over Hofstra in the regular-season finale. The Minutemen conclude the regular-season with a 10-1 record -- tying the school mark for wins and a perfect 8-0 in the Atlantic 10. UMass is the first team since the 1997 Villanova Wildcats to go undefeated in the league.
On senior day, UMass led the entire way, but not without some scares from the Pride. The Minutemen limited Hofstra to minus-1 yard rushing, the lowest by a Minuteman opponent since Albany had minus-37 last Sept. 17, 2005. As a team UMass had a season-best seven sacks for 35 yards. Junior David Burris was in on six tackles for loss of yardage including 2.5 sacks.
Kicker Chris Koepplin was another big reason for the victory. The junior converted three field goals in the win, from 34, 19 and the final from 31 yards with 7:26 left in the third quarter to give UMass the 22-13 lead.
Hofstra's Rob Zarrilli made a 52-yard field goal with 1:27 left in regulation to cut the lead to 22-16. But for the second consecutive week, UMass recovered an onsides kick to secure the win.
Senior tailback Steve Baylark gained 125 yards on the ground for his sixth 100-yard game this season and goes into the playoffs with 1,308 yards, the sixth-best total in UMass history. Baylark also moved to second all-time in rushing yards at UMass with 4,680, passing Rene Ingoglia (4,624).
The Minutemen took a 19-6 lead into halftime by virue of a pair of second-quarter touchdowns. J.J. Moore hauled in a 22-yard score from Liam Coen just nine seconds into the quarter to make it 9-0. Koepplin, who had made all 38 of his extra points coming into the game, missed the kick, but redeemed himself with the trio of field goals.
Hofstra cut the lead to 9-6 as Kareem Huggins ran in from two yards out with 8:13 left in the half, but similar to Koepplin, Zarrilli missed his extra points.
Tight end Brad Listorti grabbed a 16-yard strike from Coen to make it 16-6 with 2:16 left in the half. Then Koepplin hit his second of three field goals, from 19-yards out to give UMass the 13-point intermission advantage. A pass interference penalty on the Pride set up that score, which came on the final play of the half.
Coen finished with 218 yards on 18-of-31 passing and the two scores. He moved to a tie for fourth for TD passes in a season.
Brandon London had five catches for 78 yards and Listorti had four catches for 37 yards.
UMass will await its playoff opponent in a probable home playoff game next Saturday at McGuirk Stadium. The selection show will air on ESPNews on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
UMass limited hofstra to minus-1 yards rushing. It was the lowest total since Albany was held to minus -7 last season.
Steve Baylark moved to second in career rushing yards with his 125 in the game to move to 4680. He moved passed Rene Ingoglia, who had 4624.
Baylark gained 100 yards for the 22nd time in his career. UMass is now 19-3 in those games. Including six times this season.
Baylark now has the sixth best single season with 1308 yards. He passed Frank Alessio, who had 1276 in 1995 and Rene Ingoglia who had 1285 in 1993.
Liam Coen now has the sixth best passing yardage season at UMass with his 218 vs Hofstra. He has 2179 as be passed his own mark from last season when he had 2175.
Coen is now tied for fourth touchdowns in a season with 20. He is tied with Noel Reebenacker who did it in 1952.
Kicker Chris Koepplin kicked his 11th, 12th and 13th field goals of the season and is his now tied for third in single season field goals with Sandro Vitiello who had 13 in 1978. His 13 field goals is now tied for seventh in career field goals with David Croasdale. He broke a tie with Marco Gabrielli and Michael Torres with his second score of the game.
Liam Coen moved to fourth in career completions with 323. He passed Peil pennington who had 316.
Brad Anderson has more than 10 tackles in a game for the third game in a row with 41 total tackles in the three games.
David Burris had a career best Z tackles for a loss including 2.5 sacks.