#19 UMass Falls To Rhody, 37-34, In Wild Game
KINGSTON, R.I.The 19th-ranked UMass football team suffered a crushing 37-34 loss to Rhode Island as the Rams scored the winning touchdown with Brandon Johnson-Farrell grabbing a 3-yard TD catch from Steve Probst with 1:10 left in regulation. The Rams converted a 2-point conversion for the three-point win. UMass' postseason hopes suffered a crushing blow as the Minutemen finished the regular-season at 6-5, 4-4 in the CAA. Rhode Island finishes 5-6 on the year and 4-4 in the CAA.
Junior Jonathan Hernandez scored two touchdowns and ran for 124 yards. Senior Kyle Havens threw for 373 yards on 25-of-42 passing with two touchdowns. Senior receiver Anthony Nelson had his third 100-yard receiving game with four catches for 129 yards. Julian Talley had a career-high nine catches for 109 yards.
Hernandez carried UMass on his back with some great runs and finished what could have been the game-winning drive with a 1-yard rush with 3:32 left in the game for a 34-29 advantage., but the Rams wouldn't be denied.
The game-winning drive began with a 48-yard kickoff return by Deontray Johnson, setting the Rams up at the UMass 46 yard line. A 21-yard pass to Johnson-Farrell brought the Rams down to the UMass nine yard line, setting up a first-and-goal. After UMass kept Rhody out of the end zone on the first three downs, Probst hit Johnson-Farrell in the right corner of the end zone on a fourth and goal for the winning score.
UMass received the ensuing kick off as Jesse Julmiste returned the ball 24 yards to the UMass 25. Three plays later Evan Shields picked off Havens at the Minuteman 47-yard line and squashed UMass' postseason hopes.
Probst finished the day with 267 total yards, throwing for 200 and running for another 67. Anthony Ferreira ran for a career high 125 yards for the Rams.
Rhode Island regained the lead at 29-28 as Probst pushed his way into the end zone from 4-yards out with 6:34 left in the fourth quarter. Mike Mele batted down the 2-point attempt to keep the game at a 1-point difference.
Down 20-14, 2:30 into the into the third quarter, UMass regained the lead 25 seconds later after a 58-yard bomb to Nelson and a 2-yard TD rush by Havens to regain a 21-20 lead.
Jonathan Hernandez extended UMass' lead to 28-20 on a 30-yard rushing touchdown as he busted up the middle with great blocking from the line with 65 seconds left in the third quarter. It was his eighth TD of the season, but first since week five.
The Rams cut the deficit to 28-23 on a field goal by Louis Feinstein, his third of the game with 13:17 left in the fourth quarter.
Rhode Island scored 17 unanswered points bridging the second and third quarters and spanning 4:57 to take a 20-14 lead with 12:30 left in the third quarter. Anthony Baskerville hauled in a 25-yard pass from Probst to give the Rams their first lead since 3-0.
The Rams cut the deficit to one at 14-13 as they capitalized on a blocked punt by Jarrod Williams. Just a few plays later, Anthony Ferrer scored on a 9-yard pass from Probst with 1:20 left in the first half.
After Rhode Island kicked a 34-yard field goal on the first drive of the game, UMass' air attack was on display for much of the first half. Havens led the Minutemen to a pair of scoring drives on TD passes to Nelson (30 yards) and Dan Sheeran (4 yards). The Minutemen piled up 295 yards of offense in the first half as they advanced inside the red zone on the first four drives as the Minutmen built a 14-3 lead with 4:06 left in the first half.