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

UMass football continues search for first win at Western Michigan


Maria Uminski/Collegian

Last time the Massachusetts football team traveled out to the state of Michigan, it left with a bitter taste in its mouth.

The team is hoping that won’t happen again.

Three weeks after the Minutemen (0-5, 0-2 Mid-American Conference) suffered a 50-point loss to Michigan, the team will head back to the “Great Lakes State” to face Western Michigan on Saturday.

Despite the winless record and, once again, being decisive underdogs against the Broncos (2-3), the general attitude in the Minutemen locker room is hopeful.

“I think the guys really feel good about where they’re headed and they know they’re just a few short steps away from being a winning football team,” UMass coach Charley Molnar said. “And each and every day we try to take as many of those steps as we can.”

The Minutemen had arguably their best performance of the season last week in a 37-34 loss to the Bobcats at Gillette Stadium as redshirt freshman quarterback Mike Wegzyn threw for a career-high 373 yards and the first four passing touchdowns of his career.

UMass took its first lead of the season and bounced back several times to regain leads throughout the game. It even led by touchdown late in the third quarter with multiple chances to put the game away, but penalties and missed opportunities down the stretch, as well as a career game from Ohio running back Beau Blankenship ultimately sealed the Minutemen’s fate.

Wegzyn said his team still has some work to do as it tries to maintain the numbers it put up last week.

“You don’t want to go back to doing anything else, so I think as a mindset, that’s what we are going into with,” Wegzyn said. “I mean, we’re looking to do the exact same thing, and actually do better than we did last week.”

WMU senior quarterback Alex Carder will miss his second straight game on Saturday as he attempts to come back from a finger injury on his throwing hand that he suffered in the Broncos’ 30-24 victory over Connecticut on Sept. 22.

In his four games as the starter, Carder threw for 1,049 yards and eight touchdowns, including a 364-yard, five-touchdown performance against Eastern Illinois. Carder led WMU to a 2-2 record in that span.

But without him under center, the Broncos sorely missed his production as they lost decisively last week in its MAC opener, 37-17, to Toledo. Backup quarterback Tyler Van Tubbergen threw for 232 yards, but tossed three interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown.

The UMass defense will be watching wide receiver Jaime Wilson, who ranks third in the nation in receptions (47) to go along with his 533 receiving yards and five touchdowns.

The Broncos also boast a two-headed rushing attack of Dareyon Chance and Brian Fields, who have combined for over 500 yards in five games. And as a collective unit, the WMU running game has accounted for seven touchdowns this year.

“They’re so diverse with all of their different personnel groups that they use, so they really keep you on your toes throughout the course of the afternoon,” Molnar said.

Wegzyn is hoping his team can finally put everything together to gain a long-awaited victory.

“I was looking to get it every other weekend as well, but I think this week, it’s really looking promising for us,” Wegzyn said. “Last week we really showed what we can do as an offense, and I’m hoping to make yet another stride forward and improve even off of last week.”

Stephen Hewitt can be reached at shewitt@student.umass.edu and followed on Twitter @steve_hewitt.

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