UMass football enjoyed a complete victory over the Ball So Soft State Cardinals on Wednesday, cruising to the tune of 24-10. In the first game under the lights at home since the Jacobson brothers threw $2.5 million at the school to be BFFLs, the Minutemen took an early lead on their first drive, promptly gave up said lead on Ball State’s first drive, and then decided “actually let’s not do this back and forth shit” and kept the Cardinals out of the end zone for the following 55 minutes of game time.
They looked good while doing it, too. Tajae Sharpe hauled in 13 catches for 239 yards, slightly disappointing as he was on pace for about 350 yards at halftime. Blake Frohnapfel added another 400-yard game to his resume, though none of his 44 attempts ended up crossing the goal line, and two ended up in the hands of the team wearing the wrong jersey.
The running game was solid, too, as Lorenzo Woodley and Shadrach Abrokwah combined for 141 yards on 30 carries, each icking up over four and a half yards per handoff.
The defense even made some plays, putting some much-desired pressure on sophomore quarterback Jack Milas, who is supposedly better than the guy who started the season that he replaced. That pressure ended up in two interceptions, wiping Froh’s mistakes from relevance, and that’s before you even count the two fumbles that Ball State lost.
Also: our kicking game needs to give a call to Betty Ford.
But it was a great game on Wednesday night, and it gave us the opportunity to say “holy crap…did we actually meet the three win goal we’ve been talking about? With two to go?” Those two of course being exceedingly winnable games against Akron and Buffalo. Akron and Buffalo conveniently being the two teams directly below us in the MAC East division standings.
So yeah, we’re feeling good. A 3-9 season with a boatload of close games is a huge improvement over last year. The possibility of a 5-7 finish with those same close losses is putting me on the edge of ecstatic.
OH YEAH GUESS WHAT BASKETBALL SEASON IS HERE TOO
And the UMass Minutemen are 2-0 following wins over Burnt Sienna and the College Curiously Known as Boston.
The Siena win saw two of our guys pour in over 20 points (Trey 28, Maxie 21), Cady add to his double-double total (15 and 10), and Derrick Gordon barely miss a double-double of his own (17 and 9) while hitting 11 of 12 free throws. It was a thing of unseen beauty thanks to the absence of television coverage.
The big win though was yesterday, as UMass traveled to the TD Garden to take on Boston College “on the road.” Every year this game is held in Boston, I find it amazing how few SuperDuperFans understand how to use the Green Line. I mean, they even redesigned the map this year to be easier to read!
Reports from inside the building informed us that is was an expectedly pro-UMass crowd. And really, considering the amount of UMass fans that show up, plus the opinion of BC held by the students and alumni of Northeastern, BU, Holy Cross, and Harvard, to hear that the attendees were solidly on the side of maroon and white does not surprise me.
Despite the support, the good guys found themselves down 32-24 at the half. No worries, said Derrick Gordon, as he scored all 15 of his points in the second half, and UMass outscored BC by 17 in the back nine to win 71-62.
Cady again had a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards, and Maxie bumped up his per-game scoring average to 22. Oh, and the team won without hitting a single three-pointer. So there’s that.
All in all this looks like a very good basketball team that is going to allow us to continue feeling good about ourselves. They hit the court again on Tuesday, giving us a great doubleheader of hoops vs. Manhattan and football vs. Akron.