Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass defense can’t stop late Toledo surge, Minutemen fall 42-35

By Andrew Cyr

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Football is a funny and unusual game.

It’s the one sport where it seems that neither one big win, nor one heartbreaking loss will translate over on a week-to-week basis.

But this loss will be one that will sting a little bit longer for the Massachusetts football team after it fell to Toledo on Saturday, 42-35.

With 34 seconds remaining in the game, Toledo running back Terry Swanson scored from 19 yards out to put the Rockets up by seven. However, not one Minutemen player made a valiant effort to stop the ball carrier. UMass coach Mark Whipple said in a radio interview following the game that wanted to let Toledo score to give his offense a chance to tie the game.

On the ensuing drive though, Frohnapfel’s pass sailed just high downfield and was intercepted by Trevon Mathis to seal the victory for the Rockets.

Frohnapfel finished with another impressive performance in a game that featured virtually no help from the running game (20 carries for 52 yards and no touchdowns). Frohnapfel was single-handedly filling the stat sheet – like he’s done so many times earlier in the season –finishing 28-for-55 with 438 passing yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions.

UMass opened up the afternoon on a 14-play, 80-yard drive capped off with a 15-yard touchdown catch from wide receiver Jalen Williams. On the Minutemen’s next drive Frohnapfel found Williams in the endzone again, this time with an impressive over-the-top catch from the wideout.

Williams’ (six catches, 97 yards and two touchdowns) biggest play however came on a 76-yard touchdown reception from tight end Jean Sifrin, who shook off one tackler right after he made the reception, tying the game at 35-35 with 5:57 remaining. Williams made a pair of blocks to seal off the sideline for Sifrin. The 6-foot-7 target finished with six catches for 185 yards.

Coming off of a career-high performance last Saturday against Eastern Michigan, Tajae Sharpe made an incredible over the shoulder catch in the endzone with 11:57 remaining in the fourth. Following a successful two-point conversion, the game was tied at 28.

Toledo answered the first two touchdowns from the Minutemen with a 14-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes left in the first quarter from Swanson ran in untouched off left tackle. Swanson finished with 97 rushing yards on 18 carries to go along with his pair of touchdowns.

It was Kareem Hunt who stole the show for Toledo in his first game back from a high ankle sprain. Hunt ran for 198 rushing yards on 26 carries, with his only touchdown coming on 36-yard run where he broke a series of multiple tackles from UMass defenders.

Khary Bailey-Smith saw much more action at safety today, after playing primarily in the nickel package in previous weeks. Bailey-Smith intercepted Logan Woodside’s pass on the first play in the second quarter. Trey Dudley-Giles intercepted Woodside at the end of the quarter, giving UMass the 20-14 lead entering the half. Woodside finished 20-for-34 with three touchdown passes along with his two interceptions.

Shakur Nesmith had his first touchdown catch of the season less than two minutes into the second quarter from 15 yards out. Nesmith was the ninth different Minutemen player with a touchdown reception—UMass quarterbacks had just nine total touchdowns last season.

The Minutemen will enjoy a much-needed 17-day break before playing Ball State on Nov. 12 at McGuirk Stadium.

Andrew Cyr can be reached at [email protected], and can be followed on Twitter @Andrew_Cyr.

1 Comment

One Response to “UMass defense can’t stop late Toledo surge, Minutemen fall 42-35”

  1. tom massetti on October 26th, 2014 9:36 am

    Lets not make this ALL on the defense Mr. Cyr! The offense had the ball with less than 5 minutes left (after the defense held I might add) and the score tied and they couldn’t get past mid field leading to a punt and the game winning score!

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