That was worse than I had hoped.
Before briefly mentioning the bad, though, let’s take a moment to appreciate a couple things.
Saturday’s weather was AMAZING. So much so, in fact, that Great Friend of the Blog “Steinomite” practically melted in the summer sun and had to relieve himself in the shade of the concourse before turning into a non-literal lobster. The sunny skies and high temps assisted in pushing the attendance up to 30,479. Which was still short of what I was expecting but still set a record for largest home crowd in team history.
Also great? UMass trailed at the half but only one score. This was the the perfect example of a bend-but-don’t-break defense, as Boston College was able to put together some consistent drives but unable to find the end zone. But boy were they bendy, unable to force a punt until the fourth quarter.
The Minutemen had some big plays too, including a Randall Jette interception in BC territory and the 77-yard touchdown strike to Tajae Sharpe. You have to convert on turnovers, though, especially when you’re gifted a short field. Unfortunately, Blake Frohnapfel got called for interntional grounding on the first play post-Jette pick, which put UMass in a big hole.
The third quarter is when it got ugly, as BC put up 14 points, then added another 7 just eight seconds into the fourth quarter. It was another case of UMass coming out of halftime flat, and seemed to be a different team than the one clawing for every yard in the first half.
In the This Is Not News department, running quarterbacks continue to be an issue for UMass. Tyler Murphy is not going to be an All-American, but he shredded the maroon and white defense, leading his team in rushing with 118 yards and a score. There were multiple times where he kept a drive alive with his legs. I won’t say I was having flashbacks to the days of Ricky Santos running all over UMass, but it’s a bit frustrating to see one aspect of a football game be a thorn in your team’s side for ten straight years.
While this feels like a real missed opportunity – had UMass managed to score at the end of the first half after Jette’s interception and gone into the locker room with a lead, this could have turned out quite differently – I’m not nearly as disappointed as I would be if this was not the season opener. There are 11 games left, continuing this Saturday against Colorado. We’re just getting started.