UMass Rolls Over Lafayette 35-14, Advances Into Quarterfinals
Nov. 25, 2006
AMHERST, Mass. - No. 3 UMass advanced to the NCAA Division I Quarterfinals with a 35-14 victory over Lafayette on a sunny Saturday afternoon at McGuirk Stadium in the NCAA First Round. Senior tailback Steve Baylark ran all over the Leopards, gaining 152 yards and scoring two touchdowns. The Minutemen will take on New Hampshire. That rematch of UMass' 28-20 win back on Nov. 4, will take place on Saturday, Dec. 2 and be played at McGuirk Stadium at a time to be announced on Sunday afternoon.
Quarterback Liam Coen threw three touchdowns as he was very efficient completing just 9-of-15 for 151 yards.
Baylark came out blazing as he scored UMass' first two touchdowns less than 11 minutes into the game. He finished off a 60-yard drive with an 8-yard run to UMass the 7-0 lead with 8:26 left in the first quarter. On the next drive, Baylark continued to run wild and finished that drive with a 26-yard tackle-breaking run to give UMass the 14-0 lead.
The Minutemen expanded the lead to 21-0 as junior college transfer Michael Omar made his first catch in nearly three months, for a 33-yard touchdown from Coen. Omar, who had been injured, last made a catch against Villanova on Sept. 16.
Lafayette mounted a comeback by virtue of UMass turnovers.
Coen threw his first interception since Oct. 14, at Towson, with 3:06 left in the first half as Torian Johnson picked off the sophomore quarterback and returned it 17 yards to the UMass 34-yard line. Three plays later Leopard quarterback Brad Maurer hit Shaun Adair from 26 yards away with 1:23 left in the first half.
On the ensuing kickoff, UMass' Courtney Robinson returned it 35 yards, but Lafayette's Adrian Lawson forced a fumble and LC recovered the ball on UMass' 43. Two plays later Duaeno Dorsey hauled in a 31-yard pass from Maurer to cut the lead to 21-14 with just 28 seconds left in the first half.
Ian Jorgensen caught his first-career touchdown from Coen on a 1-yard lob with 2:01 left in the third quarter making it 28-14. The play was set up by a pass interference penalty which put the ball at the one.
Brandon London snagged an 18-yard pass from Coen with 5:26 left in regulation for the game's final score and the 35-14 finale. It was London's 14th career receiving TD, tied for sixth all-time at UMass with Chip Mitchell.
UMass won its first NCAA Playoff game since 1999.
Steve Baylark scored two touchdowns and now has 44 career TDs. He still stands fourth in the career TD list and third in career rushing TDs with 39.
Baylark had his 23rd career 100-yard game, including seven this season. UMass is 20-3 in those games. He gained 100 yards on his first 10 carries of the game, all in the first 18 minutes of action.
It was Baylark's 13th career two-touchdown game. UMass is 12-1 in those 13 games.
Baylark has at least one touchdown in 14 of UMass' last 18 games with a total of 24 TDs in those 18 games.
Michael Omar hauled in a 33-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, his first-career TD at UMass and first catch overall since the Villanova game (Sept. 16).
Brandon London hauled in his 14th career touchdown in the fourth quarter. That ties him for sixth all-time at UMass with Chip Mitchell (1986-89).
Liam Coen had three TD passes and now has 33 in his career to stand fourth in career TD passes. He passed Dave Palazzi, who had 31.
Senior James Ihedigbo had his second interception of the season and eighth of his career, which he returned 59 yards in the fourth quarter.
UMass senior offensive linemen Alex Miller and David Thompson started their 47th consecutive games (every game of their careers) on Saturday. That ties the UMass school record for game started, held by Jerard White (1996-99), Maikel Maret (1999-2002) and Shannon James (2002-05).