WHAT WE KNOW
Massfacts: Coming off of easily their best game since joining the FBS, Massachusetts looks to build on the success of last week on the road. Mass set records for points scored and touchdowns scored (which makes sense those would go hand in hand) in a 3 point loss to PAC 12 member Colorado.
Blake Frohnapfel looked stupendous in the game making very few mistakes, and connected for 2 TDs with new and now forever Four Volleys Favorite and actual giant Jean Sifrin. Infact, you can read more about Sifrin and his bizarre lead up to the game here. Tajae was Tajae last week and made good bordering great plays. Overall, the offense has us EXCITED for Massachusetts football which is something I sort of remember being once upon a time.
The defense last week would probably be the weak point, which is kind of surprising but whatever. While strong up the middle and in the backfield early, the lack of pressure and ability to maintain outside contain continues to be an issue for the D. Jette had another pick because he’s awesome but ultimately you can only expect the DBs to hold up for so long in a game when there is literally no pass rush. Messiah had a sack early and then disappeared, so there’s also that.
Finally, Blake Fucking Lucas made a successful field goal try. Yup.
Builtfacts: Let’s see, who shall we watch out for this game on the opposite side of the ball? Well, it’s not the Vanderbilt quarterbacks, unless of course you like a train wreck. They are juggling four signal callers at the moment as they still cannot make up their minds on who’s better. Hell, even Dumb Bob Diaco made a decision at UConn despite being wholly unimpressed with the play of any of his options.
I’d keep my eye on the running backs, specifically Ralph Webb, if I were you. Though they’re only averaging 80.5 yards per game (1 yard more than UMass), Vanderbilt’s had to rely a lot on the passing game as they’ve fallen behind by multiple scores early in both of the games they’ve played. Facing UMass might allow them to establish more of a rhythm, and couple Webb currently averaging over 5 yards a carry with the UMass defense not exactly looking capable of hindering the run, and you have a recipe for some chaos near the line of scrimmage.
The Vanderbilt pass rush looks halfway decent as well, as they managed 3 sacks against an Ole Miss offensive line that is not nearly as offensive as the line at UMass. Considering Froh has hit the turf a literal handful of times already this season, it seems this matchup could pose some BC-level disruption to the UMass passing attack. That’s not good when said attack is your best attack. Yikes.
Timefacts: Fresh off the heels of an announcement that the fourth game in this double home-and-home series has been called off, we look forward to tomorrow in what may be the last time we see the Commodores from Nashville. Two years ago, HomelessJerry and I joined some friends of the blog on a road trip to the Music City and enjoyed the sights and sounds before witnessing what can only be described as a pummeling at the hands of the home team. Last year, the score remained much closer, as UMass was only down by 3 late in the fourth quarter until Vandy put up a couple late touchdowns and finished the game up 24-7.
This year looks like it could go a multitude of directions and we certainly can’t base it off of what occurred the past two seasons. The teams are different, the coaches are completely different, and both squads are winless. We briefly discussed the game on yesterday’s episode of Critical Mass (at about the 25:40 marker), and while I was fairly sure that we needed near perfect execution and the ability to take advantage of Vandy’s inevitable mistakes, Jerry was much more confident that we’d be able to hang with the ‘dores even at less than peak performance. Give me that sauce.
WHERE TO ENJOY
TV: ESPN3, or Fox Sports South if you happen to have a satellite dish or live in a questionable state
Radio: WEEI (105.5 FM in Springfield/Western Massachusetts), WVEI (1440 AM in Worcester/Central Massachusetts), WXKS (1200 AM Boston), and WATD (95.9 FM on the South Shore)
Legal Streams: Video, Audio, Delayed Animated Dots
Four Volleys: Pockets will be peeking at the score while drinking wine in Hardwick and appreciating the ability to rewatch games on WatchESPN. HomelessJerry is equally appreciative of couches in the Boston Metropolitan area
Shit just got real old-timey on the mascot fight as Sam, an unenlisted irregular soldier who was expected to leave oxen and plow to fight tyranny takes on an obscure, rarely used, historical Navy rank equivalent to a fancy double captain.
Sam obviously wins because this game is taking place on land, not water. Fuck your floatilla.
You hear an S-E-C chant over the broadcast
Coach Whip gives a blank stare as Froh walks by him following a turnover
Tajae Sharpe makes a catch off a comeback pattern
Sifrin uses either or both hands to make a catch
UMass forces a turnover (extra sip if Randall Jette is involved)
When you realize this is probably the best game on at noon, but flip to Boise State-UConn just to enjoy the look of sad Huskies
UMass is within a score at the half
When the announcers remind you that we’re nearly homeless (extra shot if they recommend moving to the Sun Belt)
HALF THE BOTTLE
UMass is down by more than two scores at the half
DRINK ALL OF THE CHAMPALE
FIND FOUR VOLLEYS
Doubtful! Unless you happen across Jerry’s living room, which would be weird.
It’s the first road game of the year against an SEC team who is having struggles early in the season but is still a formidable opponent for a MACish program. Coming out of this one avoiding a blowout would make me pretty happy, and a win, well…let’s not get too excited.
That being said, the line has started slipping down towards a two-touchdown spread, and is currently hovering around 15, 15.5 in Vanderbilt’s favor. We can cover that. Take it. You know you wanna.
Update: Apparently Vandy has been handing out MASSACRE UMASS stickers for the game. I now want a decisive victory. Do it for the blog, UMass.