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May 8, 2017

Second-half struggles continue for UMass football in 51-9 loss to BYU


(Collegian File Photo)

It was a nightmarish second half to forget for the Massachusetts football team Saturday in Provo, Utah.

After trailing by just five points at halftime, the Minutemen (2-9) were outscored 37-0 over the final two quarters before falling to Brigham Young 51-9 at LeVell Edwards Stadium.

BYU (7-4) opened the third quarter with two quick 33 and 34-yard field goals off the leg of Rhett Almond to extend its lead to 20-9. The Cougars then added two touchdowns in the third quarter less than a minute apart.

Harvey Langi found the end zone on a two-yard run to push BYU’s lead to 18. On the ensuing UMass drive, Andrew Ford threw an interception into the hands of Francis Bernard who took it back for a 39-yard touchdown, as all the momentum in the world had swung the way of the home team.

The fourth quarter was much of the same. Quarterback Taysom Hill (five-yard run) and Garrett Juergens (seven-yard reception) scored the two touchdowns in the final quarter for the Cougars. Almond added his third field goal of the half in the waning minutes of the game to close out the lopsided victory over fellow independent.

“It was disappointing. We got some guys back who haven’t played in six weeks so we had a little energy but I was disappointed in our discipline,” Minutemen coach Mark Whipple told the Daily Hampshire Gazette. “We played some young guys and they had good energy but it was just a series of plays that hurt us. We don’t handle the reset button very well and that’s a lack of some leadership that we’re missing.”

After a Colbert Calhoun forced a fumble from Hill, UMass took a 6-0 lead with just under four minutes to play in the first quarter on a quick three play drive. On third-and-nine, Ford found Bernard Davis for the first down and then some, as the receiver scampered 70 yards to the end zone. Mike Caggiano missed the ensuing extra point.

The reception was Davis’ third touchdown of his career and a career-long – the next best being a 19-yard hookup with Ford during the Sept. 24 loss to Mississippi State.

KJ Hall scored on an 11-yard touchdown to open up the second quarter to give BYU its first lead of the game. Logan Laurent responded with a 44-yard field goal on the ensuing drive. That would be the last time points would be scored by the Minutemen.

Ford threw two interceptions and the lone Davis touchdown in the team’s ninth loss of the season.

Linebacker Steve Casali improved on his impressive tackle numbers in the loss. The junior totaled 12 tackles on the afternoon and increases his season total to 96.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Minutemen failed to get much going on the ground. Marquis Young saw 10 carries for 40 yards – the same amount of rushing yardage gained by the team.

Adam Breneman continued his impressive season with eight receptions and 79 yards. Heading into the final week of the season, the John Mackey award semifinalist is closing in on school records for receptions and receiving yards in a single season. Breneman is 76 yards and eight catches away from tying Kerry Taylor’s 1998 numbers.

UMass was outrushed by 207 yards and was just 3-for-11 on third down. Four turnovers and nine penalties combined with an inability to score double-digit points on the road is no recipe for success.

The Minutemen close out their season and their three-game road trip Saturday in Hawaii, with kickoff set for 11 p.m. at Aloha Stadium.

Kyle DaLuz can be reached at and followed on Twitter @Kyle_DaLuz.

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