Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Football: UMass runs over Albany in opener

By Ryan Fleming, Collegian Staff

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Brian Tedder/Collegian

It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but the Massachusetts football team got the job done in whatever way it could.

Playing under the newly-installed lights at McGuirk Alumni Stadium, the Minutemen defeated Albany, 28-16, in front of 15,112 (the second-largest opening day crowd).

The Minutemen looked sluggish early, committing three penalties for a total of 43 yards (compared to Albany’s one penalty for 10 yards); not to mention a muffed punt return that ended up in the end zone which put Albany up 9-0.

“It’s pretty mind-boggling to think about it,” said Albany starting running back David McCarty about his team being up 9-0. “A lot of people didn’t think we had it in us. We stayed focused and knew what the task was ahead of us.”

The Great Danes went up on their first possession of the game when quarterback Vinny Esposito found tailback McCarty on a screen pass. The junior outran the UMass defense on his way to a 52-yard touchdown.

The Maroon and White answered; fueled by redshirt junior running back Tony Nelson who rushed seven times for 42 yards in the first half, helping the Minutemen march down the field to set up its first score.

Though Nelson did most of the work, Coen hooked-up with tight end Ian Jorgensen on the first of two, 2-yard touchdown passes. With most of the Great Dane defense falling for Coen’s play-action Jorgensen made a diving catch to pull the Minutemen within two. The Minutemen again scored almost five minutes later when Coen connected with Nelson from two yards out to put the Minutemen up.

Nelson’s score was set up by a tipped-ball from the fingers of defensive tackle Brandon Collier and into the hands of defensive back Jeromy Miles.

With the game still within one score Nelson broke a 64-yard touchdown run.

After accepting Coen’s handoff, Nelson darted up the middle. He broke the initial tackle, spun off another and sprinted through the Albany secondary on his way to the end zone.

“Tony made a great run

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