Minutemen fall to Akron 30-6 on Tuesday night MACtion

By Andrew Cyr

(Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian)

(Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts football team knew the odds would be stacked against itself without starting quarterback and Mid-American Conference passing leader Blake Frohnapfel.

Frohnapfel’s importance to the Minutemen’s offense was apparent Tuesday night, as he was sorely missed in UMass’ 30-6 loss to Akron. The Minutemen (3-8, 3-4 MAC) produced only 235 total yards, their lowest total since Aug. 30, when they only gained 202 yards against Boston College.

It was certainly no Drew Bledsoe-to-Tom Brady turnover as backup Austin Whipple threw for just 157 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. Whipple struggled moving the ball down field while dealing with cold temperatures and high winds.

The Zips (5-6, 3-4 MAC) converted a 26-yard field goal on their second possession of the game from Robert Stein to make it 3-0 after Brian McDonald’s eight-yard punt gave Akron the ball at its own 49 yard line.

Following a three-and-out from UMass, Akron quarterback Kyle Pohl hit L.T. Smith in the back corner of the end zone after he beat cornerback Trey Dudley-Giles on a corner route to put the Zips up 10-0 after one quarter.

The Minutemen’s only points of the night came on their first drive of the second half, when Whipple hit tight end Jean Sifirn in the end zone on beautifully executed play-action pass. A 72-yard pass from Whipple to a wide-open Rodney Mills put UMass in scoring position on the previous play.

Logan Laurent missed the extra point, continuing a recurring issue for the Minutemen this year. It’s the fifth missed extra point for Laurent on the season and sixth overall for UMass.

Pohl led the offensive attack for the Zips, completing 26 of 40 passes for 277 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Wide receiver Zach D’Orazio finished with career highs in receptions (10) and receiving yards (121). Akron used running backs Jawon Chisholm (19 carries for 78 yards) and Conor Hundley (15 carries for 68 yards and a touchdown) as the Minutemen’s defense struggled to string together stops throughout the night.

UMass struggled to pick up any yards on the ground, as the team ran for just 67 net yards.

Shadrach Abrokwah ran for just 50 while losing a fumble midway through the third quarter, and Lorenzo Woodley pitched in with just 22 yards on 11 carries of his own.

Linebacker Jovan Santos Knox finished with a career high 19 tackles and forced two fumbles in the losing effort.

The Zips scored the final 10 points of the game as Hundley finished a 12-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and Stein’s 31-yard field goal in the fourth put the game at 30-6.

After winning the coin toss and deferring to halftime for possession, UMass coach Mark Whipple elected to kick off again to start the third after Lucas had initially kicked off to start the game.

UMass’ season finale is Nov. 28 against Buffalo at McGuirk Stadium.

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

Correction: An earlier version of this story dated the final UMass football game for Nov. 29. The game will be played on Friday, November 28.