Monthly Archives: October 2008

The Fans and the Minutemen Defense Finally Show Up

The University of Massachusetts Minutemen have been struggling on defense the last few weeks. In consecutive losses on the road, they gave up 52 points to CAA rival James Madison and 56 points to #7 Texas Tech.

A trip home and a Joe-Flaccoless Delaware Blue Hens was just what the UMass defense needed to get back on track. (Flacco was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens with the 18th pick in the 2008 Draft.) 

Playing in front of the largest crowd at McGuirk Stadium since 1974, the Minutemen defense fed off the energy of the 16,422 in attendance. They controlled the game from the outset, making the Blue Hens offense look completely helpless on the field. The Delaware offense was only able to muster 167 yards of total offense. 

The usual high-scoring Minutemen offense was held in check by a strong performance by the Delaware defense. They dropped linebackers into coverage all day, confusing UMass star quarterback Liam Coen into throwing three interceptions, two of them coming in the red zone. It is the only the third time in Coen’s career he has thrown three interceptions in a game, the most recent against Southern Illinois in the Football Subdivision Quarterfinal last season. 

But, the UMass defense was putting points on the board as well. Cornerback Jeromy Miles intercepted Delaware’s Robby Schoenhoft and returned it 52-yards for the touchdown, putting UMass up 17-7 with only 10:52 left to play in the game. It was the icing on the cake. Delaware could not put together a drive on its final possession. 

In a day where the Minutemen offense struggled, it was the defense’s time to shine and that is exactly what they did. They shook off some early season woes and look to continue the success next weekend @ Northeastern.

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UMass vs. Delaware

The University of Massachusetts football team returned home Saturday and defeated the University of Delaware 17-7 in front of the largest home crowd in McGuirk Stadium since 1974. 

After consecutive losses on the road to James Madison and Texas Tech where the defense gave up over 50 points both games, the UMass(3-2, 1-1) defense stifled the Blue Hens(2-3, 0-1) offense series after series. 

Thriving off the crowd of 16,422, the Minutemen came out firing on the first possession. Senior quarterback Liam Coen connected with junior Jeremy Horne on a 40 yard strike 2:08 into the first quarter giving UMass the 7-0 lead. 

Delaware countered with 3:43 left in the first when junior quarterback Robby Schoenhoft found tight end Robby Agnone in the back of the end zone for an eight yard touchdown, tying the game 7-7.

The Colonial Athletic Association rivals defense’s both settled in after the first quarter. 

With back to back red zone opportunities in the second quarter, the Delaware defense picked off Coen twice keeping the game tied at 7-7. The Blue Hens continually dropped linebackers into coverage, throwing different looks at Coen all day leading to three interceptions.

With the offense failing to put points on the board, the UMass defense had to shutdown the Delaware offense. Shaking off some early season woes, the Minutemen suffocated the Blue Hen’s passing game, holding them to 40 yards in the air. The Delaware offense was only able to muster 167 total yards. UMass finished with 459 yards of total offense. 

UMass was effective in controlling the line of scrimmage, led by junior linebacker Josh Jennings. Jennings was able to stuff the run game, finishing with 16 tackles. On the other side of the ball, the UMass running game was consistent all day, led by junior Tony Nelson. Nelson finished with 163 yards rushing. 

UMass finally capitalized with 12:55 left in the fourth quarter when senior kicker Armando Cuko hit a 38-yard field goal, giving the Minutemen a 10-7 lead.

UMass put the game on ice 1:58 later when junior Jeromy Miles intercepted Schoenhoft and returned it 52 yards for the touchdown, putting UMass up 17-7.

The CAA rivals have both been to the national championships in the last two years. UMass lost to Appalachian State in 2006. Delaware lost to Appalachian state last season.  

UMass travels to Northeastern next Saturday. Delaware heads home to host Maine.

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