Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass football stomped by Northern Illinois, 63-0

By Stephen Hewitt

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Taylor C. Snow/Collegian

No matter how bad the loss or how large the margin of defeat, one thing Massachusetts football coach Charley Molnar could hang his hat on through his team’s difficult winless season is that they’ve played their hearts out to the final snap each and every game.

But on Saturday, in the midst of his team’s worst loss of the season, he couldn’t even do that. The Minutemen had been run out of the stadium, and some of them seemed more interested in the flight home than the objective on the field.

“Our guys usually finish the game each and every week that we’ve played and today I was a little bit disappointed,” Molnar said in an interview with UMassAthletics.com. “I don’t think that every guy played to the end of the game. I think some of the guys started to think about the trip home and getting out of DeKalb and not finishing the afternoon the way I’d like to see it get done.”

The outcome of the game was rarely in question. In less than three quarters, Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch outgained the entire UMass offense, accumulating 348 total yards in addition to his two passing touchdowns and one rushing score as the Huskies handed the Minutemen arguably their most embarrassing loss of the season, a 63-0 defeat at Huskie Stadium.

The 63-point margin of defeat topped the 50-point loss on Sept. 15 at Michigan for the worst of the season, and was also the program’s worst since Oct. 13, 1956, when UMass lost 71-6 to Connecticut.

“We’ve got a long way to go as a football team, I understand that, we all understand that,” Molnar said. “Those are the cards that are dealt to us. We have some guys that aren’t quite ready for football at this level. We’re trying to bring them around as fast as we can. It’s a slow process for some, faster for others.

“But nevertheless, the score of today’s game, the performance especially in the second half was really inexcusable.”

As ugly as the score ended up being, the Minutemen (0-9, 0-5 Mid-American Conference) had reason for optimism early in the first quarter on their opening drive.

Quarterback Mike Wegzyn led the offense to two first downs and into Huskies territory, but things quickly spiraled out of control when he was sacked and fumbled the ball away to NIU. And after the teams traded possessions, the Huskies (9-1, 6-0) got the ball back at the UMass 46-yard line and drove that distance in four plays in 55 seconds to take a 7-0 lead.

They never had reason to look back.

Behind Lynch, who is beginning to earn Heisman Trophy consideration, NIU racked up 610 total yards, including 346 on the ground. Lynch accounted for 163 rushing yards on 15 carries and went 15-for-19 for 191 yards and two scores through the air before getting pulled in the third quarter. He now ranks first nationally in total yards from scrimmage.

“He’s everything that he’s been billed to be,” Molnar said. “I don’t know if he’s one of the Top 5 players in the country, I don’t get to see them all in this particular conference and who we’ve played thus far, but he is certainly the thing that makes this offense go here at Northern Illinois.”

The UMass offense wasn’t as anemic as recent weeks, but still failed to get points on the board. The Minutemen have only scored seven points in the last three weeks and have been outscored 188-21 since their upset bid fell short against Ohio on Sept. 29.

Wegzyn went 16-for-28 for 137 yards and was again pulled late in the game for A.J. Doyle, who didn’t do much better, going 4-for-9 with 16 yards and an interception. Running back Michael Cox’s performance could be seen as a bright spot, but his 94 yards masked a putrid 3.2 yards per carry average.

The Minutemen may have their best chance at their first victory next week when they finish their three-game road trip against Akron. The Zips haven’t won a game against a Football Bowl Subdivision school since Nov. 26, 2010.

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

2 Comments

2 Responses to “UMass football stomped by Northern Illinois, 63-0”

  1. Max on November 5th, 2012 10:19 am

    Don’t you have better things to be doing with your time than to be writing about this team??

  2. Richard on November 5th, 2012 2:39 pm

    Hate to say it, since I’m a Chippewa fan, but UMass might get it’s only win this season against Central Michigan on the last game of the season. CMU beat Iowa, and Iowa beat Northern Illinois, but CMU is weak this year.

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