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

Michael Curtis wills UMass football to win over Charlotte

Redshirt junior finished with a 181.5 QBR rating in his first collegiate start
Caroline O’Connor, UMass Athletics

Michael Curtis had himself a day.

The redshirt junior’s first career start under center resulted in a 49-31 win for the Massachusetts football team, ending a three-game losing streak.  Curtis contributed to four of the seven total touchdowns UMass registered, proving to be a key factor in the Minutemen’s big win over Charlotte.

“I thought he did a good job,” coach Mark Whipple said. “Anybody that goes in the first time, you don’t know what’s going to happen. You’d like to think you do but you don’t.”

Getting the start at quarterback in place of injured seniors Andrew Ford and Ross Comis, Curtis led UMass (2-3) out to a fast start and the Minutemen never looked back.

Senior running back Marquis Young returned the opening kickoff 93 yards to the end zone, setting Curtis up nicely for his first drive of the season.

The very first play of the next possession, Curtis hit senior wide receiver Andy Isabella for a 15-yard strike, doubling the lead to 14-0 almost instantaneously.

“We were talking on the sidelines and the best thing possible that could happen was taking the kickoff to the house,” Curtis said. “Everybody’s now excited and hyped up and so going out there and getting the ball in the red zone all ready and getting a little (short) pass to Andy and getting in the end zone, definitely a good start to the game.”

From then on UMass and particularly Curtis, were rolling.

Late in the first quarter, No. 17 bounced into the end zone on a three-yard rush but it was Curtis who set the score up with a beautiful, 37-yard toss to redshirt sophomore Brennon Dingle two plays before.

“We wanted to give him some easy throws and move him around a little bit and we did that,” Whipple said. “He handled it, he had fun out there. I really liked in his progress was really last week when he tried to make a play with a fumbled snap and threw a pick-6. I look at a guy the next series what he does, and I thought he handled it really well. He moved the team right down the field and scored a touchdown.”

In the second quarter Curtis connected with sophomore wideout Jessie Britt on another pretty pass, this one for 29 yards, making it 35-7 Minutemen.

The 49ers (2-2, 1-0 Conference USA) got some life in the second half but it was Curtis who squashed any hopes of a comeback when he scrambled out of the pocket and dove, albeit awkwardly, into the endzone, upping UMass’ lead to 42-10.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder finished the contest throwing 12-19 for 189 yards, two touchdowns and two rushing scores to go along with his 63.2 completion percentage.

“A lot of people asked me during the week, ‘you nervous for your first start’, and I really wasn’t,” Curtis said. “I was prepared, I was ready to go and just ready to get out there and have fun.”

 Ryan Ames can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.

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    Gilbert doeSep 23, 2018 at 3:46 am

    Much needed win for a team that is predicted to be bowl eligible this year ,, The OFFENSIVE line was dominant out there today ,, Need a big road win win in Ohio next week. But for real gave the new. QB some time today and the kid put up numbers , OFFENSIVE LINE FANTASTIC JOB GUYS.