Scrolling Headlines:

: Nineteen turnovers sink UMass men’s basketball in loss to Fordham Saturday -

January 21, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls to Fordham behind strong defensive effort by the Rams -

January 21, 2017

UMass hockey can’t take advantage of strong start in 6-1 loss to Boston College -

January 21, 2017

High-powered Eagles soar past UMass -

January 21, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

Home-field advantage big for UMass this weekend

With the success the Massachusetts football team has had this year at home, the team must be happy to return to Amherst, especially when facing an opponent like No. 4 New Hampshire.

On the year, the No. 18 Minutemen are a perfect 3-0 at McGuirk Stadium, but winless in two tries on the road, after their 43-27 loss last Saturday at Delaware. With the Wildcats (5-0, 2-0 Colonial Athletic Association) coming to campus on Homecoming weekend, UMass (3-2, 1-1 CAA) will hope to continue its perfect record at home, and make a statement in a game that few can deny could have big implications down the road.

“We’ve got to come back and make a statement that we’re still competitors in this conference,” quarterback Kyle Havens said. “We still have faith that we can win this conference, so it’s a big game.”

Havens, as well as UMass coach Kevin Morris, are happy to have a home-crowd advantage at the game after traveling to Delaware, where they faced a tough Blue Hens squad and a crowd of over 22,000 fans. But regardless of whose side the crowd is on, Morris feels his team shouldn’t be affected by it, and should be able to play the same on the road as they do at home.

“Home or away, we still have to play well at both places,” Morris said before Tuesday’s practice. “We obviously have to get better at doing that, but we love playing at home because we have the great home crowd.”

The Minutemen have controlled the all-time series against UNH, especially at McGuirk, where they hold a 15-7 record against the Wildcats.

When it comes to hosting Top 5 teams since 2002, the Minutemen have also fared well, going 4-2. The last visit by a Top 5 team, however, came in 2005 when the then-fourth ranked Wildcats squared off with then-seventh ranked UMass, with the Wildcats coming out on top, 34-28.

UMass has always played well in McGuirk, going 22-2 since 2006 and 48-11 since 2000.

Keep on running

When the Minutemen fell behind 20-0 to Delaware last Saturday, it had to change its mentality on offense, as it found itself playing catch up. With that mentality, tailback Tony Nelson had one of his worst statistical games in a UMass uniform.

Nelson averaged just 2.2 yards per carry on 15 carries for a total of 33 yards in the loss.

“It was definitely playing catch up, and a matter of that we didn’t play well,” Morris said. “We didn’t block well, we didn’t tackle well, all of those fundamental things, but we didn’t get it done, and that took away from our effectiveness on both sides of the football, and that hurt our running game.”

Morris hopes for his team to not find themselves in an early deficit as they did against the Blue Hens, in hopes of being able to keep Nelson as a full part of the offense. Last year, when UMass traveled to UNH, they found themselves in an even greater deficit, as they trailed 31-0 less than two minutes into the second quarter.

“Any game in the CAA, if you’re going to give points away like we did, you’re going to put yourself into a hole that is really hard to get out of,” Morris said. “We did that, and we couldn’t get out of that hole.”

Drop in the polls

With the loss to Delaware, UMass dropped six spots, its lowest ranking of the year to No. 18. The drop was tied for the second largest drop of the week, with only Eastern Kentucky falling further from No. 16 to No. 24.

The win also boosted the Blue Hens into the Top 25 at No. 23 after not being ranked the week before.

Prior to this week’s rankings, the Minutemen had been as low as No. 17 in the Sports Network Poll. UMass started the year at that spot, and remained there until their win over Rhode Island boosted them to No. 15. While the Minutemen may have dropped in the most recent poll, they have still been one of the most consistent teams in the Top 25, claiming a spot in the polls for 60 of the last 61 weeks.

Jeffrey R. Larnard can be reached at jlarnard@dailycollegian.com.

Leave A Comment