It was another tough game to lose against the SEC, this time to Mississippi State 47-35. On the bright side, for the first time this season the week’s recap is brought to you by Wyoming Jeff!
UMass went toe to toe with an SEC opponent for the second time this season, but the results were ultimately the same. The Minutemen dropped a somewhat close game to Mississippi State 47-35 on Saturday at Gillette, showing that despite a tremendous effort, the talent gap between UMass and Power 5 schools is still quite large. Marquis Young finally had the breakout game we have been waiting for, courtesy of an 83 yard touchdown run that put the Minutemen ahead in the 1st quarter. Andrew Ford, short of one terrible pick 6, played well enough against an SEC defense to continue his case for starting quarterback.
The Bad (and The Ugly)
A terrible third quarter ultimately sunk UMass as the Minutemen gave up 28 points. The dagger was a MSU touchdown run followed 17 seconds later by a Ford interception returned for a touchdown. This is the only one of Ford’s 3 interceptions that I’ll hold him accountable for. Telegraphing a throw into triple coverage is never going to end well. UMass clawed their way back into it in the fourth with two TDs of their own but it wasn’t enough in the end. However, in my opinion, the momentum really shifted towards the Bulldogs just before halftime. Following a spectacular Jalen Williams touchdown catch on 4th and 10 with just over 1:45 left, Whipple elected to kick it short and go into halftime with a 14-6 lead. Mississippi State had other ideas and promptly marched down the field to score their first touchdown of the game and cut the deficit to 1.
Player of the Game
There were several impressive performances by UMass players, but Jalen Williams is the one I’ll remember most from this game. Williams had two incredible touchdown catches (both gave UMass the lead at the time) and is really starting to click with Ford. (Seriously, find these catches online and watch them multiple times.)
Mike Caggiano gets a one level boost up the Year-of-the-Kicker-ometer following a 5-for-5 performance on extra points. He’s been money from that distance this year, which should be expected but remember, this is UMass we’re talking about. No field goal attempts this week, but we can’t fault the kid for making the opportunities he’s given.
Decent opponent in Tulane for the homecoming matchup this Saturday afternoon at 3:30. UMass should be able to win in a competitive game. If you’re not going to be able to make it to campus this year, why not join the UMBR’s Wyoming Jeff and Slim Phil at what will undoubtedly be Wyoming’s biggest and best UMass Homecoming celebration? Details to follow. Go UMass!