Andrew Ford looks to continue to lead UMass football’s torrid offensive passing attack

By Kyle DaLuz

(Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian)
(Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian)

It appears as if the Massachusetts football team will be riding the arm of redshirt-sophomore quarterback Andrew Ford, barring injury, for the rest of the season.

Ford has led the Minutemen (1-3) to their only victory of the season – a 21-13 triumph over Florida International Sept. 17 – and has posted numbers far superior to that of his teammate and fellow quarterback Ross Comis.

Through two games, Comis completed just 44 percent of his passes (20-for-45) for 286 yards, threw a touchdown and an interception as UMass fell to then No. 25 ranked Florida on the road and Boston College at Gillette Stadium.

Ford’s numbers have been impressive on their own. He’s completed just over 63 percent of his passes (52-for-82), thrown for nearly double the yards (551) of Comis and tossed seven touchdowns to four interceptions. His ability to make big plays and put points on the board is something that has been evident and on display in his two collegiate starts.

The Minutemen have scored 56 points combined in their last two games against FIU and Southeastern Conference power Mississippi State, to just 14 in Comis’ starts.

The then-starter Comis has been sidelined with an undisclosed injury and does not appear to be taking the field anytime soon. Comis has dressed for warmups each of the past two weeks but has not suited up come game time. The extent of his injury has not been made public.

Regardless, UMass coach Mark Whipple is impressed with the play of his current starter through his first two games.

“It’s getting better,” Whipple said. “He’s had two weeks now of getting more reps, more with the first team guys. He was still getting a lot of reps with the second team but the timing was a little bit better. It was good today. We thought that against a really good team (MSU) he performed well. We just have to clean up a couple more things and give him some more reps and some of the concepts we’re trying to apply on Saturday.”

Ford has adjusted quite well to his new complement of weapons. Wide receiver Jalen Williams was a huge factor against the Bulldogs – snagging two touchdown passes in his five receptions while compiling 114 receiving yards. His health and production are key if the Minutemen hope to win their second game of the season at McGuirk Stadium this Saturday against Tulane.

“(Williams) seemed to get a little better as the game went on,” Whipple said. “He’s got experience. Obviously he makes a difference in what we try and do.”

Andy Isabella (18 receptions, 265 yards, one touchdown), high school teammate of Ford’s, Adam Breneman (21 receptions, 231 yards, two touchdowns), and Bernard Davis (10 receptions, 87 yards, one touchdown) amongst others are some of the weapons that Ford has in his arsenal.

“We have a lot of great players all over the field,” Ford said. “It’s my job to spread it around and make everybody happy. They always do a great job like they always do of making plays and making me look good. Each day we’re out there the guys get more confidence in me. As the quarterback, your guys have to have trust in you and I think we’re heading in the right direction.”

Now, per his coach, he wants him to go out and get another win.

“Just to get a win,” Whipple said about what he hopes Ford can accomplish this week. “He’s cleaner now. He plays a position where a lot of things are happening. I’m learning him a lot more. He’s learning me and the things that we’re doing and we’re flipping some things. There’s a lot of things that we’ve practiced that we’re going to apply on Saturday that he feels good about.”

UMass will host the Green Wave (2-2, 0-1 American Athletic Conference) Saturday at 3:30 p.m. for the Minutemen’s annual homecoming game.

Kyle DaLuz can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Kyle_DaLuz.