Scrolling Headlines:

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

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

UMass woman’s basketball ends FIU Holiday Classic with 65-47 loss to Drexel -

December 29, 2016

UMass men’s basketball finishes non-conference schedule strong with win over Georgia State -

December 28, 2016

Brett Boeing joins UMass hockey for second half of season -

December 28, 2016

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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