Nov. 19, 2007
The UMass football team is coming off a convincing 27-5 victory over Hofstra. They will face Fordham in the first round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs on Saturday. Read what Head Coach Don Brown had to say about that game, looking ahead to Saturday's regular-season finale at Hofstra.
UMass Head Coach Don Brown on the game:
Coen hit Rasheed Rancher to the post of play action. We go up 14-0 at that point and then we really faced our first sense of adversity in the football game as we drop a punt on the 12 yard line and the defense rose up. We gave up four yards at that point, forced a field goal and I thought that was an enormous play because they're sitting at your door step with an opportunity and we hold them to a field goal and really get out of a half at 14-3. Come out in the third quarter and it is really back and forth, back and forth, but we finally broke through. We hit a screen pass to J.J. Moore for a long touchdown and then finished it off with 4:47 to go: Ian Jorgensen from Liam Coen to go up 27-3. Liam had a very solid day despite being very, very ill. We had to get him three IV's in the morning he threw for 309 yards 22-for-34, Matt Lawrence rushed for 107 yards and defensively we held Hofstra to 8 first downs, 39 yards rushing and we had 5 sacks and held them to 129 yards passing. I thought for the second week in a row defensively we've played at an extremely high level as we did the week before with Ricky Santos and New Hampshire.
Brown on whether or not UMass is playing their best football of the season:
I would like to think so. There are some things we didn't take care of: a couple of fourth down and short opportunities, but I do have to give credit to Hofstra. I thought that they played really hard on defense all day, but those are opportunities we would like to capitalize on. We had an extra point blocked that ended up being a two-point play the other way, so there were some things in special teams that I was not greatly happy about. But again, I think we are competing on a high level. I think the offense is complementing the defense and vice versa, but there are still shades of room for improvement, but I do think we are playing very, very solid at this level at this time of the year.
On being home for the first round:
It is a little bit of an odd week; it is the toughest week to do during the playoffs because you have Thanksgiving Day to deal with in the middle of the week and you want to try and give your kids that are local a chance to maybe get home for a few hours, but it's a difficult process. We dealt with it a year ago, thank God we are at home, because it would make that situation that much more difficult, but we have been really drawing well at home of late and all this year and at the end of last year. So we really feel solid about our home field advantage. Our guys play well at home. We are 13-0 the last 2 years, so at least you like your chances and there is a confidence level there that our guys feed off being at home. So, we are excited about that opportunity and getting the chance to compete in front of our home fans.
On the CAA receiving five bids:
Again, I think our league is extremely strong top to bottom. New Hampshire is an outstanding football team, one of the best in our league. It is a great opportunity for them. They were 4-4 in conference, which some people would question but they also had the 1-A win at Marshall. So there is a lot of good football being played there. They had a great win early against Delaware, so you can certainly justify them getting in. I think McMatthews eluded to what Villanova may have a little bit of a gripe on it. The reality is that as coaches, we don't really have any control over it, but it does show the strength of our league and there are five teams from our league and I am excited about that for our conference.
On facing Fordham:
They play a 3-4 defense. They play very, very solid. Some zone blitz; they have had a tremendous year. They wrapped up the conference before the last week of the season. On offense, John Skelton, their quarterback is legitimate. He is 6-5, 220, swings it around. They have two excellent tailbacks in Jonte Coven and Xavier Martin, both relatively diminutive in size, but quick and can hit a homerun at any time. Asa Lucas is a wide receiver who's done some big things for them. They play a number of different receivers. They are in that spread offense trying to spread you out and run it, for they can do all those things. Just seems like every week we are looking at pieces of that on a week to week basis, so we are excited for the challenge. It is a very solid football team. They are huge up front. They are just absolutely big in stature. We know we have our hands full against a good opponent and we will have to play a great football game if we are going to advance.