Scrolling Headlines:

UMass men’s basketball falters in the second half, falling to George Washington 83-67 Thursday -

February 24, 2017

UPDATE: SGA announces second and third artist for ‘Mullins Live!’ -

February 23, 2017

Divest UMass and STPEC host panel on building ‘solidarity economies’ in the Trump era -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s basketball losing streak extends to 10 games after loss to URI -

February 23, 2017

Sixth annual Advocacy Day set to take place March 1 -

February 23, 2017

Panel discusses racial, sexual and psychological violence in response to art exhibit -

February 23, 2017

Judy Dixon enters final season with UMass tennis with simple message: One match at a time -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball enduring early-season limitation in playing in New England -

February 23, 2017

Minutewomen softball begins season with cross-country travel, string of tournaments -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball looks to bounce back from disappointing 2016 season -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior Hannah Murphy is Angela McMahon’s latest legend in the making -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior defenders accept leadership roles in quest for ninth consecutive Atlantic 10 Championship -

February 23, 2017

Kelsey McGovern rejoins UMass women’s lacrosse as an assistant coach after starring for Minutewomen -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse looks to continue improving throughout 2017 season -

February 23, 2017

Spring Sports Special Issue 2017 -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defense relying on senior leadership with new faces in starting lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball fills holes left by seniors with freshmen for 2017 -

February 23, 2017

The Hart of the Lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball prepares for a long, busy season in 2017 -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defenseman Tyler Weeks makes his way back from ACL injury -

February 23, 2017

UM, UNH meet in Homecoming Game

After suffering a 43-27 loss to Delaware last week, the No. 18 Massachusetts football team faces its toughest challenge of the season Saturday, as it faces off against No. 4 New Hampshire on Homecoming Day.

The Minutemen (3-2, 1-1 Colonial Athletic Association), look to bounce back after giving up 43 points against the Blue Hens, while giving up just 13.8 points per game through the first four games of the season. To solve their issues on defense, the Minutemen are looking to simplify things and get back to the basics.

“We’ve just got to simplify the game,” senior defensive back Jeromy Miles said. “[We need to] eliminate all the missed assignments and errors by decreasing the number of plays that we have. Now, we’re just trying to run a couple of basic plays, and really start to make them crisp.”

UMass will need to perform well on both sides of the ball if they hope to knock off the Wildcats (5-0, 2-0 CAA). UNH is currently ranked at the top of the CAA in both scoring offense (35.2 points per game) and scoring defense (15 points per game). The Minutemen, meanwhile, are right behind their rivals at second in scoring offense (32.4 points per game), but have dropped back to sixth in scoring defense (19.4 points per game), after being shredded by the Blue Hens last week.

Quarterback R.J. Toman and the Wildcats are fresh off of their victory against then-No. 2 Villanova and feature a stiff defense along with one of the best offenses in the country.

UMass, after facing off against one of the conference’s top passers, Pat Devlin, will be taking on another elite passer, Toman. Usually considered a dual-threat quarterback, Toman has been hampered by a foot injury, but remains a threat for the UMass defense.

The last time UMass and UNH played, the Wildcats ran away with a 52-21 win in Durham, N.H. In that game, Toman threw for 295 passing yards and four touchdowns, running for 61 yards and a score on the ground.

Morris, though, is less concerned about the daunting UNH offense than he is about focusing on improving his defensive unit.

“If we play, there shouldn’t be any matchup problems,” Morris said. “We’re more concerned about us and getting our assignments right [and] our alignments right. We didn’t do that well on Saturday night last week, so we need to go out and take care of UMass.”

This weekend’s game marks the 72nd meeting between the two CAA foes, with the Minutemen holding a 42-26-3 lead in the all-time series. In recent years, the UNH-UMass rivalry has developed into one of the fiercest in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Homecoming will likely be a good omen for the Minutemen, who are currently winless on the road, but are undefeated when they’ve played in Amherst.

“For us, it’s good because we’re bringing all the tradition to McGuirk Stadium, bringing all the tradition back into the house. We want to represent with the 2009 edition,” Morris said. “Homecoming’s very important. Being a CAA game, it’s obviously very important because we want to win the CAA conference.”

Some of UMass’ most important games in recent memory have come against UNH. Two years ago, the Minutemen claimed the CAA North title after they defeated the Wildcats 27-7. The year before, UMass beat UNH twice, the second coming in an NCAA quarterfinal game that ended in a 24-17 UMass win.

The history between the two teams only compounds the importance of the next game for the Minutemen.

“It’s New Hampshire, [it] is what it is,” Morris said about the challenge presented by his team’s upcoming opponent. “It doesn’t matter what the rankings are or anything else. We’re playing New Hampshire. That’s a good rivalry game for us and we always want to beat New Hampshire.”

Nick O’Malley can be reached at nomalley@student.umass.edu.

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