Huge Game On Tap As #8/9 UMass Hosts #14/14 UNH, Saturday At Noon
Nov. 6, 2007
#8/9 UMASS (7-2, 5-1) vs. #14/14 NEW HAMPSHIRE (6-3, 3-3)
Huge Game On Tap As #8/9 UMass Hosts #14/14 UNH
Saturday will be Senior Day for the Minutemen, as UMass plays its final regular-season home game. The four-year Minutemen class record is 33-13 including a trip to NCAA Championship game last season and an Atlantic 10 Championship. The senior class consists of offensive lineman Matt Austin, fullback E.J. Barthel, defensive end David Burris, offensive lineman Nick Diana, fullback and graduate student Breyone Evans, linebacker Jason Hatchell, offensive lineman Chris Hopkins, kicker Chris Koepplin, tailback Matt Lawrence, tight end Brad Listorti, wide receiver J.J. Moore, wide receiver Michael Omar, wide receiver Rasheed Rancher, linebacker/long snapper Cesar Rosario, offensive lineman Matt Stolte, linebacker Charles Walker. These players will be honored in a brief ceremony before the game.
The Minutemen stand at 7-2 overall in 2007 following a disappointing overtime loss at Rhode Island, 12-6, last Saturday, played in hurricane conditions. UMass has a 20-2 record over the past two seasons in games against FCS teams. Prior to the loss at Rhode Island, UMass had won 17 games in a row against FCS teams in regular-season games. Over the last two years UMass is 20-4 with two losses to FBS teams (Navy and Boston College). Other than the URI loss, the lone inter-division loss to Appalachian State in the NCAA Division I Championship game last season. UMass began the 2007 season at 4-0 for the first time since 1986, losing to Boston College, the current second-ranked team in FBS, by a narrow 24-14 score in Chestnut Hill.
The Minutemen stand at 5-1 in the CAA and were the last undefeated team in league play prior to the loss to Rhode Island. The Minutemen are 13-1 in conference games over the last two seasons. After going 8-0 in conference last season (becoming the first undefeated team in league since Villanova in 1997).
The game will be broadcast live on the UMass Sports Network with Bob Behler returning for his ninth year as "Voice of the Minutemen." Former kicker Matt Goldstein will handle the color commentary. The pregame show begins at 11:30 a.m. on WRNX (100.9 FM), the flagship of the network. The game can also be heard live online at UMassAthletics.com. An in-stadium feed can be heard on 102.7 FM. Gametracker will be available on UMassAthletics.com.
The Series: UMass vs. New Hampshire
The Minutemen captured the last regular-season meeting 28-20. Defensive end John Hatchell batted down a lateral pitch by UNH quarterback Ricky Santos in the final seconds to secure the win. John's brother junior linebacker Jason Hatchell was honored with the Bill Knight Trophy as the game's MVP after he had a career-high 18 tackles.
In the NCAA Quarterfinal, it was a virtual repeat of the waning seconds in the regular-season meeting between the rivals, Jason Hatchell batted down a fourth-and-one pass by UNH's Ricky Santos, intended for Keith LaVan, to ensure the victory of the for the Minutemen, 24-17. Steve Baylark romped for 198 yards - his second-highest rushing total - to pace the UMass offensive attack. His 60-yard burst in the first quarter set up his only touchdown of the day. Brad Anderson intercepted Ricky Santos with 13:30 left in the fourth quarter and returned the ball 31 yards to the UNH 14-yard line which set up Chris Koepplin's 33-yard field goal with 11:08 left in regulation.
In the last regular-season game between the teams at McGuirk Stadium, UNH posted a 34-28 win at UMass on Oct. 29, 2005. Back in 2004, UMass posted a 38-21 upset win over then-No. 7 UNH.
The Minutemen stand at 21-11-1 against UNH in Amherst and 14-7 all-time in McGuirk Stadium.
The series with UNH is the longest dated active series as the teams first played back in 1897. UMass posted a 10-4 win on Oct. 2, 1897. The conference foes have played every season since 1952.
UMass has played 69 games, the third-most games of any opponent, against New Hampshire with only more games against Rhode Island (82) and UConn (71). The 41 wins against UNH is the second-most of any opponent with only more (45), coming against Rhode Island.
Head coach Don Brown is 5-2 all-time vs. the Wildcats, going 2-1 while he was at Northeastern and 3-1 at UMass. UNH coach Sean McDonnell is 4-5 vs. UMass over his nine years.
The Bill Knight Trophy
In 2005, UNH's David Ball won the award after he had four receiving TDs and gaining 199 yards through the air. Two years ago, Steve Baylark was honored with the award. In 2003, Jason Peebler captured the award as he caught five passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns. UNH's Stephan Lewis won the award the previous three seasons -- becoming the first player to win it three times. In addition to Baylark and Peebler, other UMass winners were: Tim Bryant (1986), Dave Palazzi (1988), Gary Wilkos (1989), John Johnson (1993), Marcel Shipp (1998) and Adrian Zullo (1999).
Coen On Payton List; Hatchell On Buck List
Coen Re-Writing UMass Record Book
Coen has a chance to become UMass' career passing leader as he enters the Minutemen's game against New Hampshire on Saturday afternoon. Coen comes into the game with 6,942 career passing yards, just 77 shy of breaking Todd Bankhead's career mark of 7,018. Coen became UMass' career touchdown passing leader on Oct. 27 in the 48-34 win at William & Mary. He tossed three scoring strikes to give him 54 in his career, passing Bankhead's 51.
Coen is UMass' career leader in pass efficiency (149.74), completion percentage (64.0), yards per attempt (8.53) and total yards per play (7.42). Through eight games, Coen is 137-of-219 for 1751 yards with 18 touchdowns and a 62.6 completion percentage.
This season, Coen ranks fourth in the CAA and 14th in the NCAA in passing efficiency with a 148.62 mark. He was sixth last year in the NCAA after leading most of the year.
He is on the verge of becoming UMass' career passing yardage leader. Coming into the UNH game, Coen (6,942) needs 77 yards to break the all-time mark held by Todd Bankhead (7,018). With his 272 passing yards against Holy Cross (9/1) in the opener, Coen moved to second in career passing yards in becoming UMass' second 6,000-yard passer. Coen also moved to second in career completions vs. Holy Cross. He now has 529. Only Bankhead (561) has more. He is also second in career attempts to Bankhead (933) with 827.
With three TDs at William & Mary, Coen became UMass' career leader in touchdown passes, breaking Todd Bankhead's mark of 51. Coen has 54 to-date including his second-career four-TD game at Colgate (9/8).
In just nine games this season Coen has the sixth-best single-season touchdown total in UMass history with 18. Next is Noel Reebenacker, who had 20 in 1952. Coen is third on the list with 26 last season.
Coen is on the verge of breaking onto several other single-season passing lists. No. 10 on the passing yardage list is Jeff Krohn (2,032 in 2002), Coen has 1,729 (needs 303). No. 10 on the completions list is Jim Simeone (147 in 1984), Coen has 130 (needs 17).
Coen had his fifth-career 300-yard passing game with 355 against Villanova (10/13). For his performance, he earned his third career New England Football Writers Golden Helmet, which he received on Oct. 16.
When looking at the career numbers among all active NCAA quarterbacks, Coen ranks in the top 10 in seven categories. He is fifth in career total offense yards per play (7.42), eighth in career pass efficiency (149.74), seventh in TD passes (54), eighth in passing yards (6,942), and ninth in completion percentage (63.97).
The Rhode Island native has started the last 33 games in a row with UMass holding a 26-7 record in those games since he drew his first start against Albany on Sept. 17, 2005. Of those seven losses, three games been to FBS teams, so Coen is 26-4 against FCS teams.
A Defense That Won't Be Denied
After a slow start, UMass' defense has risen to the top of the CAA, standing first in scoring defense, giving up just 18.7 points per game, which ranks 19th nationally. UMass is also leading the CAA in pass efficiency defense with a mark of 104.09, sacks with 2.89 per game and tackles for loss at 7.11 per game.
Since week one (when they allowed 30 points to Holy Cross), UMass has allowed just 138 total points (17.2 per game). After a slow start to begin 2007, UMass buckled down starting with the second half at Colgate (9/8) of Week 2. The Minutemen allowed just seven points and limited the Raiders to just 82 total yards in the final 30 minutes. Most impressively, Colgate's All-American tailback Jordan Scott was held to just 11 yards in the second half after 92 in the first 30 minutes. Scott is now third in the NCAA in rushing with 165.44 per game.
In the win over Towson (9/15), UMass limited the Tigers to just 22 yards on the ground while piling up five sacks and three interceptions.
Again at Maine (9/22), the defense was stellar with its best defensive showing, limiting the Black Bears to just seven points and a total of 243 net yards. Through the air, Maine only had 67 yards passing. It was the seventh time in 19 games, that UMass held an opponent to single-digits.
Playing against FBS team Boston College (9/29), UMass held the Eagles to their fewest points of the season to-date in a 24-14 decision (BC was limited to 14 points in a win at Virginia Tech on Oct. 25). UMass also limited the Eagles' Heisman Trophy candidate Matt Ryan to a season-low 204 passing yards.
In the second half against Northeastern (10/20), UMass blanked the Huskies, giving up just 90 yards. The Minutemen held tailback Maurice Murray to just 89 yards, as he came into the game averaging more than 120 per game.
In the hurricane conditions, UMass held Rhode Island (11/3), which ranked in the top five in the nation in rushing yards per game to just 109 yards on the ground, a season-low.
Senior Captain Linebackers Lead D
Hatchell has been one of the top tacklers in the nation over the last two years. He has 10 or more tackles in four of the nine games this season (Holy Cross, Maine, Northeastern and Rhode Island). He has led or tied for the team lead in tackles in 21 of the last 35 games. In 2006, he racked up 134 tackles, second in the conference. He ranked fifth in the league in tackles per game at 8.93 and 44th in the nation.
Hatchell has 14 career 10-tackle games, and UMass is 10-4.
Hatchell is currently fourth in career assisted tackles with 186. Next on the list is Vito Perrone (199). In his career, Hatchell has 330 total tackles to stand to 10th on the career tackles list. He moved onto the top-10 chart with a season-best 16 tackles at Rhode Island (11/3).
Walker teams with Hatchell for a dynamic 1-2 punch. Walker has 307 career tackles with 83 stops this season, second to Hatchell in 2007. He has led the team in stops in three of nine games, with seven career games with double-figure tackles. He racked up a season-best 14 tackles against Villanova (10/13). Walker was honored as the Co-UMass Athlete of the Week after the Colgate (9/8) game where he topped the team with 10 tackles along with a forced fumble and fumble recovery as Colgate drove to UMass' 1-yard line and a TFL. In 2006, he had 131 last season, third in the conference. Walker had 94 assisted tackles last season to rank as the fourth-best single-season mark. Walker tied UMass' single-game tackles record with 24 against Delaware in 2004.
Sophomore Josh Jennings has been a monster of late as he piled up a career-high 12 tackles against Villanova (10/13) and added 10 more at Rhode Island (11/3). After a slow start, Jennings has moved to third on the team in tackles with 51 tackles. Giving UMass' linebackers to top three spots in stops.
Defensive Line Creates Chaos
The major tackler for loss on the defensive side is Burris, who makes his name with stops behind the line of scrimmage. Burris leads the CAA with 9.0 sacks and leads in TFLs with 12.0 this season. He ranks fifth in the nation in sacks per game (1.00) and tied for 30th in tackles for a loss per game (1.33). Burris is fourth on UMass in tackles with 49 in 2007.
Burris has moved to sixth in career sacks with 22.5. With his 9.0 sacks this season in eight games he is already tied for 10th-most sacks in a single-season. Four others have 9.0 sacks. Todd Rundle had 9.5 in 1985 while three others had 10.0 to rank sixth.
Burris has three sacks in a game twice this season, most recently vs. Northeastern (10/20). He began 2007 with a career-high three sacks against Holy Cross including a pair in the fourth quarter. Burris now has 42.0 career TFLs and 22.5 career sacks. Coming into 2006, he was the leading returning tackler for loss in the conference with 16 for 69 yards last season. He was the top player in terms of returnees in sacks with 8.5. Burris has 42.0 career tackles for loss of his 200 career stops (21 percent of his tackles). Burris has a career-high nine tackles in each of the last two games vs. Northeastern (10/20) and at William & Mary (10/27). He racked up his 200th career stop at W&M.
Hanson has emerged of late as well. He racked up 3.5 TFLs including 2.0 sacks at William & Mary (10/27). His 10-yard sack on fourth-down late in the game, effectively ended the Tribe's chance at a comeback. Hanson had a career-high 13 tackles against Villanova (10/13). He is now fifth on the team in tackles with 48.
Collier has more than 10 tackles in two of the last four games with a career-high 11 at Rhode Island (11/3). He originally set a new career-high with 10 tackles vs. Villanova as did Harrington with nine. Collier recovered two fumbles against Northeastern (10/20). Collier is sixth in tackles with 46.
UMass Turns To Lawrence & Nelson
Lawrence has piled up 1066 yards in his first nine games as the starting tailback with more than 100 in six of the first nine games. He surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career at Rhode Island (11/3) with 83 and now has 1,066. Lawrence gives UMass a 1,000-yard rusher for six straight seasons.
Lawrence is fourth in the CAA in rushing and 13th in the nation with 118.44 per game. He has gained over a 100 in three games consecutive games (Oct. 13-27) with an average of 134.0 in that trio.
He piled up a career-high 186 at William & Mary (10/27) including 75 in the decisive fourth quarter, when he scored two touchdowns, including the game-winning TD. He scored all of his TDs in the final 16:30 of the game. He was named the UMass Athlete of the Week for the second time. Prior to big game at W&M, he had 110 vs. Northeastern (10/20). Lawrence was big in the 4OT win over Villanova (10/13). After a slow start, he gained 45 yards in the overtime sessions and scored two touchdowns. He redeemed himself, after he fumbled to end the first extra session. Despite gaining, just 64 yards at Boston College (9/29), it was the most by any Eagles' opponent this season. Lawrence had a career-best 176 yards at Maine (9/22) as he scored a career-high three touchdowns. He was named the UMass Athlete of the Week for his performance which included a career-long run of 62 yards. He broke out for 153 yards in the opener against Holy Cross (9/1). He also scored two touchdowns in a game for the first time in his career on runs of 1 and 28 yards. At Colgate (9/8), Lawrence gained 113 yards on 19 carries. Lawrence played most of last season as a fullback. Lawrence had 174 rushing yards last season and entered his senior year with 450 yards, a mark he passed in three games.
Nelson has been a great in gaining 402 yards on 73 carries, a 5.5-yard average. He has his first-career 100-yard game with 104 at Maine (9/22). That included a career-best 61-yard run in the fourth quarter. At Colgate (9/8), he picked up 70 yards on seven carries. Nelson gained 55 in the opener against Holy Cross (9/1) on nine carries.
Moore Catches For J.J.
Moore has risen to second in career catches in UMass history with 155. He moved past former teammate Brandon London (who was in the UMass locker room to congratulate him) with seven catches against Northeastern (10/20). Moore also passed London on the career receiving yardage list at William & Mary (10/27). Next is Jason Peebler with 2,395.
Moore had a great receiving game in the opener against Holy Cross (9/1), as he had a career-best 163 yards on nine catches. The 163 receiving yards ranked as the seventh-best single-game yardage total in UMass history. He was awarded the New England Writers Golden Helmet after that big day.
Moore also gained 100 yards against Villanova (10/13) with 138 on seven catches vs. the Wildcats. He also caught the two-point conversion in the fourth overtime to give UMass to 32-24 win.
Rancher is second to Moore in catches and yards in 2007 with 26 receptions for 534 yards. Rancher is on the verge of 10th place on career receiving yards with 1,321, needing just 38 to tie DeShon Hardy (1,359).
Rancher had a career day with new highs of eight catches and 155 yards vs. Villanova (10/13). He reached 1,000 career yards in receiving at Maine (9/22). Against Towson (9/15), he made an amazing bobbling circus catch for a 35-yard touchdown, which Coach Brown called one the best he's seen in 30 years of coaching.
Rancher moved to 10th in career touchdown catches with a pair at William & Mary (10/27). He now has 12, just behind Moore and Kerry Taylor with 13.
More Moore History
A third-team all-conference punt returner in 2006, Moore ranks 10th in career punt return average with 8.3 per return with his 18 returns for 147 yards in 2007. He had 30 returns for 244 yards last season.
Robinson Makes History In Opener
Robinson, who was an All-Conference second-team kickoff returner last season, can tie the UMass career and season records for kickoff returns for scores in a season with one more as Dent had a pair in 1978 as did Phil DeRose in 1964.
Robinson has 405 yards in 2007, as he closes in on the top 10 single-season list. No. 10 is Tim Berra (1971-73) with 431.
With 405 this year added to 489 as a sophomore in 2006, giving him 894, making him eight in career kickoff return yardage in just 23 career games. Next on the list is Garry Pearson with 952 in 1979-82.
No Smalls Feat
Keep On Kicking Koepplin Senior Chris Koepplin continued his great success in 2007. He started with his first kick in the opener against Holy Cross (9/1), as he tied his career-long with a 48-yard field goal on his first try of the season (also tied himself for the third-longest field goal in UMass history). Koepplin has missed just four kicks of any type this season with 7-of-11 on field goals and making all 32 PATs for 53 points. He has boomed kickoffs for a tremendous 66.2 yard average including 16 touchbacks from the new 30-yard line kickoff mark. In his first year at UMass after being a junior college transfer from Nassau C.C., Koepplin was an all-conference second team kicker. He tied the school record for field goals in a season with 16, set the school record for point after touchdowns with 51 and set the record for kick scoring in points with 99. In his final year at UMass, Koepplin ranks on several career charts with just one-plus season under his belt. Koepplin stands fifth in career field goals with the single-season tying 16 last year and seven more this year for 23. Next on the list is Eric Oke with 26. His career field goal percentage of 67.6 (23-of-34) ranks second all-time to Doug White (77.1). He is also third in career PATs with the 83 (51 last year and 32 this year). Koepplin is also first in career PAT percentage with a mark of 98.8 percent (83-of-84). He passed George Papoutsidis, who was 96.9 percent (31-of-32). Koepplin has eight field goals at UMass of 40 or more yards after the 48-yarder vs. Holy Cross, a 40-yarder against Towson (9/15) and 45-yard kick at Maine (9/22).
5 Strong: O-Line Of Protection UMass lost two mainstays on the offensive line in All-American Alex Miller and all-conference guard David Thompson heading into 2007. But the Minutemen figure to not miss a beat on the offensive line as all five starters this year saw action last season. Senior All-American Matt Austin anchors the line, he has 39 career starts in 43 games overall. Austin has started in four different positions on the line: right tackle, left tackle, left guard and center. In 2007, he started once at left guard and the last five games at center. Austin has been part of an offensive line that has led of been tied for the league lead in fewest sacks allowed in each of the last three years. UMass allowed just 16 sacks in 15 games in 2006, 1.07 per game, tops in the league, 14th in the nation. After 14 sacks this season, UMass has allowed just 51 sacks in 47 games since 2004. Along with Austin, UMass is looking to senior Nick Diana, giving UMass a pair of preseason all-conference performers. With Austin moving to center, he swapped with Diana, who returned to left guard after playing the Holy Cross game at center. Diana, a second-team all-conference player last year is joined by senior Chris Hopkins, a former tight end, who started the final 14 games of 2006. Junior Sean Calicchio mans right tackle, where he started in 2006, but broke his arm in the first game of the season. After missing 11 games in a row, Calicchio returned in the NCAA Quarterfinals and played in the final three playoff games. Sophomore Vladimir Ducasse, who played in three games in 2006, is starting at left tackle. With some injuries of late senior Matt Stolte, a converted defensive lineman started three games at left guard (Oct. 13-27) and has had success. Juniors Biff Gotthrer and Ben Coblyn also also filled in admirably.
McGuirk Magic UMass has been tough to beat in the friendly confines of McGuirk Alumni Stadium since the start of the 1998 season. The Minutemen have gone 47-11 (.810) at home over the last seven years, improving their all-time record at McGuirk to 155-72-2 (.682). UMass went a perfect 8-0 at home in 2006, setting the school-record for best record at home, set in 2003. Since 1992, UMass has had a losing record at home only once, while posting a home mark of 67-23 (.744) during that span. In 2003, UMass went 7-0 at home to set the former record for most home victories in the 40-year history of McGuirk Stadium. UMass has won 16 of its last 17 games at home after dropping the 2005 home regular-season finale to New Hampshire on Oct. 29. They are 23-3 dating to 2003.
Transfer Of Power, I-A Players Join UMass has 16 players on its roster who transferred into the Amherst school after beginning their careers at I-A/FBS schools. The Minutemen have continued to add talented players giving the team incredible depth at all positions. Here is a rundown of the transfers: senior FB E.J. Barthel (Rutgers), junior DB Keiron Brown (Toledo), graduate FB Breyone Evans (Syracuse), sophomore TE Rob Getek (UConn), redshirt freshman DB Reshaude Goodwin (Boston College), sophomore WR Jeremy Horne (Syracuse), junior Chauncey Incarnato (Indiana/Notre Dame), redshirt freshman DL Andrew Krevis (Eastern Michigan), senior RB Matt Lawrence (UConn), senior TE Brad Listorti (Rutgers), junior SS Michael Meggett (West Virginia), sophomore FS Jeromy Miles (Navy), junior DB Spencer Ridenhour (Penn State), junior CB/KR Courtney Robinson (UConn), sophomore LB Anthony Rouzier (UConn) and sophomore athlete Joe Sanford (Virginia).
Syracuse Impact Playing just 45 minutes from where they began their college careers at Syracuse, transfers Jeremy Horne and Breyone Evans scored UMass' first two touchdowns in the win at Colgate (9/8). Horne, who is a redshirt sophomore after two years with the Orange had a 25-yard touchdown catch to open the scoring. Evans, is a graduate student after four years -- playing three at `Cuse -- and scored on a 4-yard catch in Week 2.
Quartet of Captains In 2007 UMass have four team captains in 2007. On the offensive side of the ball, the Minutemen will be led by senior offensive lineman Matt Austin and senior wide receiver J.J. Moore. On defense, the leaders will be senior linebackers Jason Hatchell and Charles Walker.
Looking Back At 2006 UMass reached the 2006 National Championship game where they lost to defending national champion Appalachian State, 28-17, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Minutemen finished with a school-record 13 wins as they finished ranked No. 2 in the nation. The Minutemen went a perfect 8-0 in the Atlantic 10, the first team to go undefeated in league play since Villanova in 1997. UMass also went 8-0 at home, to set a record for home wins in a season. The UMass football team captured the 2006 Lambert Trophy, symbolic of the team top team in the East, presented by the ECAC. The Minutemen were the winners in the I-AA/FCS Division. To advance to the NCAA final, UMass topped Lafayette, 35-14 in the first round; conference foe New Hampshire, 24-17 in the Quarterfinals and won at hostile Montana, 19-17 in the Semifinals.
Preseason Polls & Honors
The Minutemen were ranked No. 3 in the first poll of the FCS Coaches for 2007. Head coach Don Brown is a voter in the poll. UMass was also No. 3 in the Sports Network poll of the media and sports information directors.
The Minutemen were were picked to capture the inaugural CAA Football Championship in 2007 according to a vote of the league's 12 head coaches and selected media. The results of the poll, along with the 2007 All-CAA Football Preseason squad, was announced during Wednesday's CAA Football Media Day at the ESPNZone in Baltimore, Md.
The Minutemen, who earned a record 20 All-Conference honors in 2006, placed a total of seven on the Preseason All-Conference squad this season. Offensive linemen Matt Austin and Nick Diana, join tight end Brad Listorti on the offensive side of the ball. Defensive lineman David Burris, as well as Charles Walker and Jason Hatchell, both linebackers, represent UMass in the defensive front. Cornerback Sean Smalls is the seventh Minuteman on the preseason squad.
The Sports Network had three from UMass on its preseason All-American team. Offensive lineman Matt Austin and linebacker Jason Hatchell have been named to the first team while tight end Brad Listorti is on the second team.
The College Sporting News has named two UMass seniors to their its pre-season All-America football team. Hatchell was selected to the first team, while Austin was chosen for the second team.
Listorti has been named a Preseason All-American by Street & Smith's. Listorti heads into the 2007 season as one of the top tight ends in the nation.
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