Quick Hits: A few standout performances highlight UMass football’s annual spring game

By Kyle DaLuz and Nick Souza

Jong Man Kim/Collegian

The annual spring game for the Massachusetts football team featured a few standout performances as UMass brought it’s spring session to a close.

Team White made things interesting in the final minute as safety Jesse Monteiro returned an interception by quarterback Randall West 85 yards to score with just 14 seconds left. However, a failed onside kick gave Team Maroon the 17-13 victory.

“I thought they played hard and did some things, and [Monteiro] had that huge play at the end,” Minutemen coach Mark Whipple said. “There was a lot more positives than negatives. It was a good night, a really good night.”

Quick hits:

  • Wide receiver Brennon Dingle was impressive with over 100 receiving yards in the first half for Team Maroon.

The spring game on Friday was the redshirt freshman’s first chance at any real game action with UMass and he did not disappoint, finishing with 109 yards on eight catches.

Dingle also received a 21-yard pass from redshirt junior quarterback Andrew Ford that resulted in the first touchdown of the night in the first quarter as Team Maroon took a 7-0 lead.

“(Dingle) was a guy that got here last summer and unfortunately couldn’t play for us last year,” Ford said. “He’s someone I’ve been able to get the timing down with for almost a year now, so being able to come out here in a situation similar to a game and show what he can do was great for us.”

  • Marquis Young with a standout performance on the ground provided Team White some offense.

The junior running back finished with a game high 93 yards on the ground and scored the only offensive touchdown for Team White near the end of the first half with an 11-yard rush to the end zone to make it 14-7.

Young and quarterback Michael Curtis combined for 127 yards on the ground, which accounted for most of Team White’s offense as it struggled to throw the ball with just 23 yards passing.

“I definitely fell like I ran well tonight, made some good cuts and got some good film to watch,” Young said. “It felt like coming back home. It felt great.”

  • Recently retired ESPN host Chris Berman serves as honorary coach for Team White against recently hired men’s basketball coach Matt McCall and Team Maroon.

For the first time in 37 years, Chris Berman finds himself late in the month of April without the NFL draft to prepare for. Typically this would be the time of year where he and the ESPN staff would be preparing rigorously for draft day researching every eligible player and every possible draft pick teams might make.

With his schedule cleared, Berman now has the ability to visit his long time friend and fellow Brown University graduate Whipple.

“It was fun because I saw him in his element.” Berman said. “I’ve seen him coach in the NFL at Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, but this is his program. It was really kind of neat given that I’ve known him 41 years. I’m proud of him.”

When asked about what he would do with his new free time in the fall, he didn’t appear to be to concerned about what it would be like.

“It won’t be sad, it’ll be really different,” Berman said. “I’ll watch the games on TV and I’ll remember what I did at 20 and why I like football. It’s ok. I don’t feel like my career or my life is any less complete because I didn’t do three or four more years. I don’t have the answer yet, but I’m not worried about it either.”

  • Prior to the game, Whipple established the Michael Boland Inspirational Award, given to the team’s most dedicated players in the program.

Rising seniors Adam Breneman and Steve Casali were the first honorees to be given the award, named after the memory of 2016 senior offensive lineman Michael Boland who passed away in February of 2017.

Breneman caught 70 passes for 808 yards and eight touchdowns in 2016, his first season with the Minutemen after transferring from Penn State. He averaged 67.3 yards per game and 11.5 yards per reception.

Casali led UMass in tackles last season with 105. He’s been a letterman for three years with the Minutemen and started all 12 games at inside linebacker in 2016, with 38 career games to his credit.

Kyle DaLuz can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Kyle_DaLuz. Nicholas Souza can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @nicksouza27.