Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass routed in home opener by Indiana at Gillette Stadium

Maria Uminski/Collegian

FOXBORO – When Massachusetts football coach Charley Molnar walked into his team’s locker room following Saturday’s defeat, he wasn’t sure what to say.

After all, he has had plenty of success in his long coaching career. He doesn’t prepare for losses. At least not like this one.

From the start, it wasn’t pretty, and in the end, the Minutemen were all out of sync, giving up big play after big play on defense en route to a 45-6 loss to Indiana in their home-opener at Gillette Stadium in front of 16,304.

“I was a little bit speechless,” Molnar said. “I expected better. I expected better from all phases of the game. We prepared very, very hard in practice. I think our guys were mentally ready.

“For some reason, they had good momentum, good feeling at the beginning of the game and all of a sudden it just kind of got away from them and we could just never get it back,” he said.

The Minutemen (0-2) registered their third consecutive loss at Gillette Stadium in the last three seasons. After being forced into a three-and-out to begin the game, the Hoosiers (2-0) came back strong on their second drive.

On the first play of the drive, Indiana dual-threat quarterback Tre Roberson found a seam up the middle on a draw play for an easy 50-yard score to give his team the early 7-0 lead, one they didn’t come close to relinquishing.

It was only the beginning of a long afternoon for UMass. Roberson, on his team’s next drive sprinted up field for a 39-yard touchdown before finding Shane Wynn in the end zone on the ensuing drive for another touchdown.

In the first seven minutes, 33 seconds alone, the Hoosiers scored 21 points and amassed 218 yards of total offense. By halftime, those numbers rose to 38 points and 427 yards as the Hoosiers never looked back.

“It wasn’t anything schematic out there, it was just our tackling was atrocious,” Molnar said. “I mean I saw more missed tackles today than I ever expected to see.”

Offense shows glimpses

A week after totaling only 59 yards of offense in a loss at Connecticut, UMass showed signs that it could eventually put together a high-powered attack.

Redshirt freshman Mike Wegzyn finished 18-for-26 for 151 yards and seven carries for 32 yards against the Hoosiers. Following a discouraging debut in which he finished with only 56 yards and an interception that was returned for a touchdown, it was a step in the right direction.

“It definitely felt different,” Wegzyn said. “I felt more prepared coming out. I think as a team we felt more prepared. We’ve been looking a lot better in practice, obviously from a week before to this game week.”

The work in practice paid off early in the first quarter as Wegzyn directed a drive that led the Minutemen to their first touchdown as a member of the Football Bowl Subdivision and only points of the afternoon.


Indiana vs UMass from Daily Collegian on Vimeo.

UMass responded quickly from Indiana’s opening strike, and on the first play of the ensuing drive put together the longest pass play of the season on a bit of trickery. Wegzyn pitched it to Jordan Broadnax, who tossed it back to Wegzyn on the left side. The quarterback then made no mistake, firing a bomb to Marken Michel, who hauled it in for a 56-yard grab.

Two plays later, Wegzyn took a quarterback keeper untouched into the end zone from 16 yards out to give the Minutemen their first points of the season.

“I think today, we came out, and at least from the offensive side, we really found our identity,” Wegzyn said. “I think it showed a little bit in spurts in the game, but we still have things to polish up.”

While the offense moved with a lot more fortitude throughout Saturday than the season-opener, it wasn’t quite enough. They finished with only 264 yards of total offense compared to Indiana’s 606, and didn’t do much damage in the run game.

Still, Molnar was pleased with his quarterback, one of the lone bright spots of a sluggish afternoon at Gillette Stadium.

“He took a step forward, a small step forward,” Molnar said. “He was more confident today. His eyes weren’t as big. He responded to the pressure of the defense or errors that he made and bounced back much better than he did a week ago.”

Michigan awaits

It doesn’t get any easier for UMass now, as it will prepare for Heisman Trophy hopeful Denard Robinson and a ranked Michigan team this week.

The Minutemen will likely be heavy underdogs, but it won’t change their demeanor. Molnar said it will take an ‘A game’ effort to pull out any victory against any team, especially Michigan.

He admitted, however, his team may not be there quite yet.

“We need to bring our A game every single week,” Molnar said. “There is not going to be many games where the talent level is going to be even on that field. It’s just not going to be. So for us to win the game, for us to stay in the game, we’ve got to bring our A game.”

Stephen Hewitt can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @steve_hewitt.

View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • M

    Mark WhitworthSep 9, 2012 at 2:53 pm