Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass football throttled by Colorado in Saturday season opener

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Collegian File Photo

Collegian File Photo

In last September’s head-to-head matchup at Gillette Stadium, the Massachusetts football team fell short against Colorado in a 41-38 shootout. With the confidence it could hang with its Pac-12 opponent again and the motivation to avenge last year’s heartbreaking defeat, UMass hoped to produce different results in its rematch with the Buffs Saturday in Boulder, Colorado.

However, the Minutemen opened its 2015 season with a disappointing loss as Colorado cruised to a 48-14 victory behind a strong running game that tallied 385 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the ground.

Michael Adkins and Christian Powell led the Buffs’ attack with 119 and 105 rushing yards respectively for a Colorado offense that racked up 553 total yards.

“We didn’t respond,” UMass coach Mark Whipple told reporters postgame. “They ran the ball. We didn’t run the ball. We didn’t have anyone play good. The coaching staff did a bad job. We didn’t make any plays either side of the ball.”

Despite the lopsided final score, the Minutemen kept pace with the Buffs early into the second quarter. After Powell opened up the game’s scoring on Colorado’s first drive of the game, UMass senior running back Jamal Wilson tied the score on a two-yard run midway through the opening frame.

Wilson’s touchdown came on his first rushing attempt since breaking his ankle in week three of 2014 in a loss to Vanderbilt.

After the Buffs regained the lead in the closing seconds of the first quarter, the Minutemen responded again with an 18-yard reception by Marken Michel from Blake Frohnapfel three minutes into the second quarter.

But that would be the final time UMass reached the scoreboard as Colorado finished on a 34-0 run.

“We learned a lot about ourselves,” Frohnapfel said. “Coming in with high hopes, we were probably thinking we’re a little better than what we are. We’ve got to learn from that.”

Frohnapfel, a preseason first team All-Mid-American Conference selection at quarterback, finished with a respectable 225 passing yards and a touchdown while completing 20-of-34 pass attempts. But with the game still in reach toward the end of the first half and UMass driving, he threw a third-and-goal interception to end the seven-play, 65-yard drive.

Frohnapfel’s top target, senior wide receiver Tajae Sharpe, finished Saturday’s opener with 11 receptions for 138 yards.

On the ground, freshman running back Marquis Young led the Minutemen’s unit with 62 rushing yards while adding two receptions for 21 yards. However, the Fairport, New York native limped to the sideline midway through the third quarter with an apparent injury that held him out for the remainder of the game.

UMass’ five second half drives ended on three punts, a fumble and a turnover on downs. Its longest came on a 10-play, 55-yard drive that came to a close on an incomplete pass intended for Sharpe on fourth down.

On the other side, Colorado finished with zero turnovers and scored points on 8-of-12 offensive drives. The Minutemen’s defense struggled to get stops on third down all day – the Buffs were 9-of-15 on third down conversions – and missed several open-field tackles.

UMass now returns to Massachusetts for its home opener Saturday, Sept. 19 against Temple at Gillette Stadium.

Anthony Chiusano can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @a_chiusano24.

1 Comment

One Response to “UMass football throttled by Colorado in Saturday season opener”

  1. LBH on September 14th, 2015 11:23 am

    Let’s be honest. It’s a huge mistake for a team from the Northeast to compete in Division I. There isn’t enough talent in these parts, and the good talent goes to the established schools. We should just go back to tailgating and playing in a lower division so we actually have a chance to win a few games. This is futile.

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