You are using an old web browser. Such browsers do not support modern web technologies and do not offer proper security. Please update your browser or download one of the others suggested for free.
Mozilla Firefox |
Google Chrome |
Internet Explorer |
Division IAA football program Massachusetts plays its first Division I Game against a solid Connecticutt program tonight.
OFFENSE: The Minutemen's new coach spent the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach of Notre Dame, earning a reputation as a passing wizard. Molnar has very little veteran talent returning at the skill positions from last season.
Junior Kellen Pagel will be the starting quarterback for the second straight year. Pagel actually began his career in the MAC at Bowling Green, but transferred to UMass after playing just one game as a redshirt freshman. The junior signal caller completed 57.3 percent of his passes last season with nine touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Pagel will be backed up by pro-style quarterbacks Brandon Hill and Mike Wegzyn. The new spread offense might take some time to develop as the receiving corps is very inexperienced. Chase Danska and Marken Michel, who are expected to start this season, combined for four total catches in 2011. Freshman wideout Derek Beck is going to play a lot and should make an impact.
UMass will use multiple running backs in the ground attack. Alan Williams and Jordan Broadnax are two very quick options out of the backfield.
The biggest strength for UMass is the offensive line. Senior left guard Malcom Speller is the only new addition to the starting front line which is big, experienced, and backed up well.
DEFENSE: The Minutemen's defensive unit returns 10 starters from last season's team which allowed 27.9 points per game against primarily Division I AA competition. UMass is switching back to a 4-3 style after using a 3-4 alignment in 2011. Perry McIntyre is going to fill the shoes of graduated FCS All-American Tyler Holmes, as the leader of the defense. McIntyre recorded 115 total tackles last season, which is the most of any returner.
Connecticutt returns QB Johhny McEntee who threw for over 2000 yards. They also return most of the defense which was 4th in the Nation against the run in 2011 and 118th against the Pass.
Connecticutt is a run first team. They have a stable of good running backs. The Line on the game currently sits at 21.5 pts and the Over/Under is at 47.
Although I think Conn. will probably cover this point spread, I think the safer bet will be to take the total Under 47. I don't see U Mass. putting up many points and Connecticutt seldom runs up a score.