WHAT WE KNOW
Massfacts: UMass comes into this game on a 2 game winning streak, the first time it’s ever had a winning streak in the FBS, that also matches the win total of the past 2 years. So yeah, we pimpin’. While the offense has certainly shined, especially in the passing game but starting to thrive in the running game as well, the defense stepped up in a big way last week limiting Reginald Bell to 40 yards rushing and the Fighting Emus to 14 points. If the defense can start to catch up to the offense, this team will become a late season nightmare for the rest of the MAC. Speaking of stepping up, the running game saw all 5 touchdowns scored, 4 of which coming from Shad. While fumbles continue to be an issue, this team make more explosive plays than disappointing plays on offense and that’s a sentence that would have been laughable last year.
There is no doubting this is the best iteration of the Minutemen we’ve seen in a long time and they continue to improve on almost every facet of the game, save maybe the act of striking the ball with a foot through large yellow arms for points.The lack of a kicking game can kill the hopes of a championship team, and fortunately this team is not yet a championship team. This will need to be a priority next year for Whipple on the recruiting circuit as the Minutemen prepare their “Fuck You Very Much” tour towards the MAC Championship game next year. And that is not a stretch statement, this team legitimately should be in the running for the MAC East next year.
Rocketfacts: First things first, this team plays its home games in a stadium called the Glass Bowl.
Toledo is coming off a strong performance against the Open Date Fighting Byes, which is a good thing for them considering the game before that ended in a 7-point loss to Iowa State. The same Iowa State that lost to North Dakota State. I mean, NDSU is probably one of the best football teams in general in the country, sure, but FBS Iowa State should not get blown out by 20 points to even the best FCS team. But it happened. And then Iowa State beat Toledo.
So while Toledo is clearly the class of the MAC, they aren’t the unstoppable force that seems to be permeating the coverage leading up to this game. Yes, they are a very good team. But UMass should be able to hang with them.
The Rockets have an outstanding running back in Kareem Hunt, who has yet to rush for less than 100 yards and a score in a game he actually plays in. Luckily for UMass, he has been sidelined for the past three weeks with an ankle injury, and his status is still uncertain for Saturday. We’re in good shape if he remains out, since he picked up an average of 9 yards every time he touched the ball in the first four games of the year. Truly frightening. But hopefully, we’ll only be facing a stable of Swanson/Jones-Moore/Remy, who combine to pick up just over 6 yards a rush. Yes, that’s still a lot. But it’s an improvement.
Oh, also, despite the fact that I hate Toledo this week because they are the ENEMY, I would like to extend a pre-game super high five for their utter destruction of UNH to start the year. Nice work,
Timefacts: TOLEDO holds a 2-1 advantage all time, with the teams last meeting in 1999 meaning as far as Toledo knows, Mark Whipple has never left Amherst. The Minutemen last (and only) beat Toledo in the 1976 season opener in Amherst. I enjoy games like this because it gives the Minutemen the opportunity to even the all time series, a thing that selection bias tells me always happens*
*Not at all, but sometimes!
WHERE TO ENJOY
Radio: WEEI (105.5 FM in Springfield), WVEI (1440 AM in Worcester), WXKS (1200 AM in Boston), and WATD (95.9 FM on the South Shore)
Legal Streams: Video, Audio, Delayed Animated Dots
Four Volleys: HomelessJerry will be in Washington, DC seeing how many mimosas are in a bottomless mimosa. I’m guessing he’ll just be drinking straight orange juice by the end.
Pockets will be in some part of Massachusetts thanking the Google gods for the Chromecast.
Well, I’d say Sam would have a hard time against an actual rocket if it was in flight. Those things are fast. But while the original Minutemen lived far prior to realistic spaceflight, our Sam has been around since the early 1970’s, meaning he basically grew up in the space age. My best guess is if Sam needed to disarm a weaponized rocket, he’d find within himself the capability to do so.
But if we’re talking Minuteman versus Rocketeer? I have to give it to Sam in a landslide for two main reasons. First, he has a gun, and guns are very useful against humanoid creatures. Second, Toledo’s Rocky looks like a four year old kid dressing up like a Power Ranger on Halloween.
For initially thinking the Toledo Mascot was the Mudhens (that’s the minor league baseball team)
Tajae catch over 10 yards
Shad does something that makes you pump your fist
For realizing the leader in both MAC divisions are a game over 500
Discussion of CONFERENCE WOES and UMass’ pending independence
Running back fumble
Adventures in place kicking
HALF THE BOTTLE
Running back injury
DRINK ALL OF THE CHAMPALE
UMass gets a 3 game winning streak
FIND FOUR VOLLEYS
Jerry is in DC punishing his liver and likely tweeting on tape delay, so if you’re in our Nation’s Capital, you may see him. Meanwhile, you will not see Pockets because he will be in a basement somewhere, stressing out about each play that does not gain at least 2 yards.
Spread:Toledo -17…..Moneyline: Mass +650…..O/U 70.5
This is a classic degenerates game, with a juicy O/U at only 70.5 with two teams who have A) Only scored less than 30 points twice this year and B) have allowed an average of 33-34 points a game. This one’s a shoot out. Take the over and Mass +11 in the first half. Mass doesn’t let teams score big until the 3rd usually, so that seems like a head scratcher of free money.