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 to host Ohio before facing extended bye-week

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Collegian)

According to running back Marquis Young, the Massachusetts football team doesn’t accept moral victories.

To him, the Tennessee game was a heartbreaker, and one that dropped the Minutemen to 0-5.

Despite the loss, there is no doubting that it was one of UMass’ best performances of the year. With Ohio (3-1) next on deck, the attitude in practice reflected the Minutemen’s near victory against the Volunteers.

“The attitude in practice, people had a little chip on their shoulder,” Young said. “Being 0-5 doesn’t really show our talent, and we know that. We know that we are better than 0-5 and we’re working like champions every day.”

In the past, Young has often served as a spark plug for the Minutemen. Last season, he had four games in which he ran for at least 100 yards. Five games into this season, Young has maxed out at 83 yards (Week one vs. Hawaii).

Young’s mediocre production has been on par with UMass’ running game as a whole this season. The Minutemen have only had two games in which they rushed for more than 100 yards in total (144 at Tennessee, 115 vs Hawaii).

However, the breakout run could be coming.

“The big play is coming. We just have to stay patient,” Young said. “The big play is definitely coming, really just waiting for the opportunity. We really just have to keep chugging along. Nothing is given. So we just got to work for it if we want those 100 yards in the backfield.”

While Young will continue to be the primary man in the backfield, the man under center for UMass is still unknown.

After leaving Saturday’s game toward the end of the third quarter with a head injury, Andrew Ford is expected to play for the Minutemen against Ohio, per coach Mark Whipple.

With that said, it’s still unclear to what capacity Ford will play. The uncertainty will most likely stay up until the start of the actual game.

Nevertheless, this could mean much more playing time for Ross Comis.

Comis has been used from time to time in games as a change-of-pace quarterback. Scrambling in the pocket and picking up a first down or dumping the ball off to a receiver over the middle has essentially been his specialty.

The redshirt junior found himself taking control of the Minutemen offense for the entirety of the fourth quarter. With a heavier work load possibly in his future, Comis said his preparation for Ohio has been like any other week. He admits however that being a quarterback who takes the field on consecutive drives is different than just being inserted for specific plays.

“Yeah, it’s tough when sometimes you don’t know when you’re going to go in and you get thrown in, or if you go in for a series and you don’t know if you’re going to go back in,” Comis said. “But it’s something that I’ve grown on this year, because that’s what we’ve been doing. I think we’ve been successful moving the ball. We just have to put it in the end zone.”

Comis’s lone touchdown this season came against Tennessee when he found his way into the end zone, on a 5-yard run, in the second quarter.

Scoring aside, he has completed six of 17 total passes in the four games he’s played this season. The six completions combined for 94 yards.

To bolster both Ford and Comis’s targets, the quarterbacks will have stand-out tight end Adam Breneman throw to against Ohio. Breneman has been limited in recent games due to an ankle injury which completely sidelined him last week against the Vols, but Whipple said that he should be able to play on Saturday.

With Ohio coming to Amherst for UMass’ final game before an extended three-week-long bye, the Minutemen will try to out play a strong defense in order to earn their first win.

“I mean, they’re a good team,” Comis said. “Their defense has been top of the MAC [Mid-American Conference] last couple years and they almost won the MAC last year. From this year they have shown some of the same stuff. So this is a good team, a good defense. So it’s going to be a tough task. It’s going to come down to who makes one more play than the other guy. Just like last week, we were one play away and that’s probably what’s going to happen next week.”

Philip Sanzo can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Philip_Sanzo.

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  • J

    Josh JacobsSep 29, 2017 at 11:14 am

    Ohio is NOT in the “Mid-Atlantic Conference” as stated in the article, it is in the Mid-American Conference. You know – the exact same conference UMass played in as recent as several years ago…SMH…