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 travels to take on defending national champs

When Richmond traveled to Amherst last fall, they walked away with a 30-15 victory on its way to a Football Championship Subdivision National Title.

For the Massachusetts football team, it limped away with a snapped 16-game home winning streak, a spoiled homecoming and a torn MCL for defensive tackle Brandon Collier.

“I got hurt in that game last year, I tore my MCL and I’ve been waiting a year for this game, and they ruined our homecoming, so we owe them a lot,” Collier said.

Despite it being a tall task to knock off the No. 1 team in the country and defending national champions, it’s a challenge the No. 14 Minutemen are welcoming. It’s also a challenge that gives UMass (4-2, 2-1 Colonial Athletic Association) a chance to return some favors when they face off in Richmond this Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

The Spiders (6-0, 4-0 CAA) are currently riding a 15-game winning streak that started with last years win over the Minutemen and has carried on through a run to a national title as well as a perfect start to their 2009 season.

UMass is also looking to find its first road win this year. In six games on the season, the Minutemen are a perfect 4-0 at home, yet are winless 0-2 away from Amherst. One of the losses came in the first week of the season, a near upset over Football Bowl Subdivision Kansas State, while the other came after a three-week home stand followed by a bye week against a tough Delaware team. But for UMass coach Kevin Morris, it doesn’t matter where his team plays.

“You better be ready to play. We have to make sure that we are really focused, that our preparation is good during the week and that any trip doesn’t make us weary,” Morris said before the team’s practice on Tuesday. “Being on the road is no different than being at home.”

UMass has had recent struggles on the road in the past two years, losing its last three and five of its last seven dating back to last year. But Collier feels the Minutemen could prove to be a strong road team this week against the Spiders.

“I feel like we could be a good road team, its just our first game of the year was on the road, [and] then we took basically a month off at home [and] kind of got settled into home,” Collier said. “I feel like we’re going to be a good road team, and [that] we’re going to prove it this week.”

 To do that, Collier and the rest of the defense will have a tough task of keeping Richmond’s dynamic quarterback, Eric Ward, under wraps. The senior is a danger in many ways, but mostly in how efficient he is with the ball and with the Spiders offense. Ward averages 203.7 yards per game through the air, and has also piled up 119 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns on the year, while throwing three interceptions.

“He doesn’t try to do things that he can’t. If you give it to him he’ll take it, he’s one of those guys, not just a run-around guy making plays,” Morris said. “He’s a smart, sharp, efficient quarterback who can run and pass.”

“We [have] got to play well, we’ve got to play assignment football, [and] make sure we’re playing as 11 [on] every snap. We can’t have anyone make any mistakes.”

Morris is still uncertain whether or not the four previously suspended players – Mike Mele, Shane Viveiros, Bob McLaughlin and James Carven – will dress for Saturday’s game, as the four players are going through an integration process.

“It’s part of the integration process and the answer is no, its not up to me, its just how they play into the roles and if they earn a spot on the bus,” Morris said.

The four players were reinstated before UMass’ victory over New Hampshire last weekend, but did not dress for the game.

Jeffrey R. Larnard can be reached at jlarnard@student,umass.edu.

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