Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass football gives up 58 points in shootout loss to Ohio

(Caroline O’Connor/ Daily Collegian)

After a high scoring first half that saw both teams put up a combined 54 points, the Massachusetts football team’s offense went stagnant for the third quarter. Meanwhile, Ohio continued to light up the scoreboard, scoring two quick touchdowns in the third and then two more in the fourth. This all culminated in a 58-50 loss for the Minutemen.

There were two stretches of the game that UMass (0-6) would like to have back.

With 8:15 remaining in the second quarter, it looked as though the Minutemen were heading toward an all too familiar result.

An Ohio 67-yard kickoff return led to a quick score, which was followed up by a UMass fumble on the first play of its next possession. Yet again, the Bobcats found the end zone.

Trailing 21-13, Minutemen quarterback Andrew Ford threw an interception that was returned to the UMass seven-yard line. However, this time the Minutemen defense was able to hold Ohio to just a field goal.

“Crazy kind of game,” UMass coach Mark Whipple said. “Came out pretty good. Had that five-minute hiccup with the two turnovers and the kickoff return. Then our guys fought back. I thought we were in good shape at halftime, 27-27 with two turnovers.”

Tied at 27, Ohio (4-1) opened the second half by marching quickly down the field, leading to running back A.J. Ouellette rushing one in from five yards out.

The Bobcats then held UMass to just 17 yards on the next possession, forcing a punt. Ohio drove down and quarterback Nathan Rourke found Ouellette swinging out of the backfield, who followed a brigade of blockers into the end zone from the 12-yard-line. That extended the Bobcats’ lead to 41-27 with 6:38 remaining in the third quarter.

While the 50 points the Minutemen offense put up is impressive, 21 of the points came in the fourth quarter while trailing by a wide margin. Once the UMass offense began to click, there wasn’t enough time left on the clock for it to matter.

“We just got to get a takeaway to give our defense confidence,” Whipple said. “Our guys just keep playing the next play. I’m proud of them that way.”

The Minutemen defense had no answer for Rourke, who had a combined four touchdowns on the day. The signal caller completed 13-of-24 passes for 181 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while also rushing for 135 yards, finding the end zone twice on the ground.

“He’s a good player,” linebacker Steve Casali said of Rourke. “He made us miss tackles and we just didn’t do our jobs. He excelled over that.”

Ohio also had a good game from both of its running backs. Ouellette finished with 125 yards on 12 carries, while redshirt senior Dorian Brown had 73 yards on seven carries.

Not being able to slow down the rushing attack led to a lot of short distance third downs for the Bobcats, who went 5-for-10 on third down conversions.

“The last three games we did a good job of getting three and outs,” Casali said. “We didn’t do that today. They excelled off that. They had a good offense and we just didn’t play well.”

For UMass, Ford set a personal best with five touchdown passes and 390 yards through the air. The five touchdowns tie him with the single game program record.

Even while having a career day, Ford believes his offense can be better.

“We left a lot of points out there,” he said. “As an offense every time we touch the ball our goal is seven points. We drove the ball down the field those couple times and weren’t able to finish it. When we get in the red zone, we have to make sure to make those plays to get the seven.”

Thomas Johnston can be reached at [email protected] and followed on twitter @TJ__Johnston.

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    Ryan McKinneyOct 2, 2017 at 11:02 am

    First game I’ve ever left early in the three seasons I’ve watched this team as a student. I decided it was better to watch the game from Berk. At least there it was warm and I could eat away my feelings of disappointment, losing in year 6 at home to the likes of Ohio. Glad that in the end, they were able to keep it under 10 points.