2014 has been a pretty amazing season in terms of offensive numbers for UMass. We actually have a quarterback who can play the position, and a coach that encourages him to throw on basically every down, including an outrageous amount of fourths. These things combine for gaudy numbers.
While Blake Frohnapfel himself is not on any Award Watch Lists himself, he is getting very close to breaking some significant records at UMass. Froh’s stat line after nine games shows him at 2,921 yards and 23 touchdowns. That’s good for second in the nation in yards and has him tied in sixth for TDs. But looking at just UMass, he’s in striking distance of at least four single-season records, is currently demolishing another, and is sniffing the Top 10 in a sixth category. Here’s his current placing, with three games left to play:
Pass Attempts: 5th, 393 attempts (Record: Todd Bankhead, 525 in 1998)
Pass Completions: 7th, 213 completions (Record: Todd Bankhead, 303 in 1998)
Passing Yards: 6th, 2,921 yards (Record: Todd Bankhead, 3,919 in 1998)
Passing Yards Per Game: 1st, 324.6 yards per game (Previous Record: Todd Bankhead, 261.3 in 1998)
Passing Touchdowns: T-6th, 23 touchdowns (Record: Todd Bankhead, 34 in 1998)
Passing Efficiency: 1.9 points out of the Top 10, efficiency of 132.2 (Record: Jerry Welchel, 165.4 in 1963)
So that’s awesome. It’s too bad these numbers have resulted in only two wins, but hey! Optimism and silver linings and stuff!
If Froh continues on this pace, he’ll finish second in yards, second in attempts, second in completions, and tied for second in touchdowns. And as wild as Todd Bankhead’s 1998 season looks now, he had an additional three games to pump up his numbers thanks to the playoffs. It’s fair to say that Blake Frohnapfels’ 2014 season is the most productive passing season in school history.
Meanwhile, two of the guys on the receiving end of Froh’s passes are reaping the benefits and garnering national attention. Tight end Jean Sifrin and wide receiver Tajae Sharpe were each added to their respective positions’ midseason award watch list a few weeks back, and continue to impress.
Jean Sifrin burst onto the scene during the Colorado game, pulling in two scores including a one-handed snag that was probably the best catch of the year for this team.
He’s put up 544 yards on the year, good for 56th in the country, and has scored 5 times. Whiel the Colorado game saw him make a serious impact, this past week was his best performance of the season. Targeted 10 times, Sifrin collected 185 yards, including a 76-yard sprint that tied the game at 35 with about six minutes to play.
Needless to say, he’s been great, and his production has earned him the honor of being last week’s John Mackey Tight End of the Week.
Tajae Sharpe has been no less impressive. Sharpe is sixth in the country in receptions and fourth in receiving yards, having hauled in 63 catches for 965 yards. Barring unforeseen circumstances, he’ll finish the year as just the seventh UMass receiver to tally over 1,000 yards in a single season, and should finish somewhere around second in school history for that mark.
Looking at the bigger picture for Tajae, he passed the New York Giants’ Victor Cruz during the Eastern Michigan game to gain possession of fourth place all-time in the UMass career receptions list (144 as of 10/26). He’s sitting directly behind Cruz in career receiving yards with 1,851, the seventh-most in team history. Considering Sharpe is a JUNIOR, he has a really good chance to leave UMass as the most productive receiver the school has ever seen. Except for touchdowns. Sorry Tajae, but those two Molnar years really hurt your chances of catching Adrian Zullo’s 32 scores. Unless you and Froh decide to score about 20 times next season. You won’t do it (Do it, please do it that would be awesome).
So while our overall record is fairly abysmal, it’s been a really fun 3/4 of a season so far. There’s three games left, and strangely enough, zero are on Saturdays, so be sure to plan your weekday debauchery accordingly. And continue to enjoy these three players. They are leaving a mark on the school that will go down in history.