Looks like the Minutemen have found an opponent they can beat regularly: the FIU Panthers. UMass followed up last year’s victory over FIU with an encore performance this season, taking down the Panthers 21-13 at McGuirk. It wasn’t the prettiest game to watch (by far), but UMass showed some breakout on the offensive side of the ball. Throw in some timely defense and bonehead penalties by FIU, and the Minutemen are walking away with a 1-2 record. And as a bonus, here are some photos from the UMBR’s newest field reporter, Alanna!
- Coach Whipple definitely reads the blog – He gave Andrew Ford the start over Ross Comis after two weeks of harsh reviews by the UMBR. Coincidence? I think not.
- Fans have to be impressed with the way Andrew Ford played at QB. He had the offense moving and consistently made clutch throws into tight windows for third down conversions. He had a tendency to throw high over his receivers, but I’ll attribute that to rustiness.
- That interception in the 1st quarter was ugly, but Ford bounced back quickly. The kid can throw the long ball and has real nice touch with dropping a pass in over his receiver’s shoulder.
- The running game took control in the fourth quarter when the Minutemen needed to bleed out the clock. Good showings by Marquis Young, and John Robinson-Woodgett provided a nice change of pace.
- UMass showed a nice pass rush against FIU quarterback Alex McGough (Magoo!), sacking him twice and forcing hurried decisions in the backfield.
- Bad case of the dropsies by the Minutemen on both sides of the ball. They dropped a number of sure receptions and interceptions. Time for Coach Whipple to fire up the JUGS machine.
- Can we get Slim Phil and Wyoming Jeff on the call for a home game? At times, the announcers for this game seemed to not know what state they were in and they pronounced “Caggiano” at least 5 different ways.
- It’s good to see UMass students haven’t changed. Back in our day we stayed for at least the first half of the Victor Cruz show before heading back to the tailgate – today’s students only made it through the first quarter! Those warm Natty’s that they left in the car aren’t gonna drink themselves…
After 3 nicely converted PATs, I was just about to boost Mike Caggiano up to “Maybe we should pay this guy”. Then he comes in an pulls a shankopotamus on a 30-yard field goal which would have put the game out of reach of FIU for good. It didn’t matter in the end, as UMass still took home the W, and I’m in too good a mood to drop Mikey C. all the way down to Billy Cundiff level. I guess all those successful PATs count for something.
Local Talent Steps Up
More so than ever before in recent years, fans could hear the names of homegrown Massachusetts players being called out regularly for the Minutemen. Jan Jonah from Westside had a few nice catches, Sha-Ki Holiness and John Robinson-Woodgett from Springfield both made their presence felt on their respective sides of the ball, and of course Khary Baily-Smith from Weymouth was as stout as ever in the defensive backfield. As the UMBR has talked about before, this is excellent for recruiting. If a local guy knows he will be given the opportunity to make an impact on this team, maybe he’ll choose to come to UMass and be a starter rather than warm the bench for some school in the south, or Chestnut Hill.
Slim Phil’s Fun Fact of the Week
Mississippi State, UMass’ opponent next weekend, plays its in-state rival Ole Miss annually in the Egg Bowl. The trophy presented to the winner is called the Golden Egg Trophy, which has been in existence since 1927.