Three quarterbacks see playing time in 41-0 loss to Georgia Southern

Mike Fallon played the entire first half

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Parker Peters/Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts football team kept its quarterback situation unknown until the first snap of today’s game, where redshirt senior Mike Fallon got the starting nod.

Fallon was one of three quarterbacks listed on the depth chart this week, along with redshirt sophomore Josiah Johnson and true freshman Will Koch.

“We knew going in [we had a] limited amount of practice,” head coach Walt Bell said. “That’s what led to us to going with Fallon. Simply because he’s been around and played some football.”

Fallon only threw two passes in the first quarter and seven in the first half. The Minutemen leaned heavily on the run, rushing 16 times and only gaining 40 yards despite Georgia Southern taking a 28-0 going into the second half.

Bell stays loyal to UMass’ decision to be a run heavy team, saying that “It’s going to be who we are.” The Minutemen finished the game with 32 rush and 21 pass attempts, not being able to find success in either.

Fallon finished the night completing seven of his 12 passes for 41 yards and an interception early in the second, which was a dropped pass by junior wide receiver Samuel Emilus that fell into the hands of an Eagles defender.

Fallon played for three total drives in the second half before Johnson was able to get his chance at quarterback.

The former UMass tight end had been in the game at quarterback before his first official drive, but only for two quarterback designed runs. Johnson was 3/5 with passing attempts in his first drive before he threw an interception, underthrowing his tight end Jaret Pallotta for what would have been a touchdown.

Johnson was faced with the challenge of being pinned back to his own three-yard line on his next drive but completed a pass to Zamar Wise for 15 yards on third and nine to continue the drive, the first third down conversion of the game for the Minutemen.

Johnson finished his night completing six of his nine passes for 39 yards along with the interception he threw late in the third quarter.

Will Koch was given the last offensive drive of the game for UMass, who was down 41-0 with 2:34 remaining in the game. Koch had been in the game once before for a quarterback designed run, which was also his first play of his only drive at quarterback, where he took a read option for 25 yards. Koch finished the drive without attempting a single pass, and instead rushed threen times, leading to a 41-0 shutout from Georgia Southern.

On paper, the three quarterbacks finished with a combined 13 of 21 passing for 80 yards and two interceptions along with 13 rushed for 90 yards.

“I was really pleased with both of these young guys,” Bell said. “Moving forward, you’ll probably see all three of them again.

Fallon offers a much more experienced quarterback who has a good knowledge of this Minutemen system, which could be helpful for Bell and his staff while they try and figure out the rest of their roster, while Johnson and Koch offer that long-term upside that Fallon does not have.

Fallon will be able to play this year and next, with the NCAA granting a free year of eligibility to all college football players, but Johnson and Koch appear the higher upside options for UMass.

Johnson showed ability that the other two quarterbacks did not, making throws on the run and converting a difficult third and nine while backed up at his own four-yard line. Koch did not show any arm talent, as he had zero pass attempts, but proved he is athletic enough to be a dual threat in the future.

The Minutemen have no other opponents on its schedule at this current time but are likely to schedule more games in the upcoming weeks.

Joey Aliberti can be reached via email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @JosephAliberti1.