UMass loses 53-3 to No. 17 Coastal Carolina

Minutemen lose their 15th-straight game

Nina+Walat%2FDaily+Collegian

Nina Walat/Daily Collegian

By Dylan Corey, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts football team lost 53-3 to No. 17 Coastal Carolina Saturday afternoon at Brooks Stadium. The defeat extended UMass’ (0-4) losing streak to 15, tied with Arizona for the longest active losing streak in the nation.

The Minutemen defense has yet to hold an offense under 200 passing yards and surrendered at least 200 rushing yards for the third time this season. With the Chanticleers (4-0) sporting one of the most explosive offenses in the country piloted by quarterback Grayson McCall, it’s no surprise that Saturday was another struggle for UMass.

“Nobody has done a very good job against him (McCall) as of yet,” head coach Walt Bell said earlier in the week. “Considering I think they lead America in almost every statistical category, explosiveness, yards per play, you name a stat, they’re pretty good at it.”

McCall completed 10-14 passes for 162 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but backup quarterback Bryce Carpenter had the longest completion on the day. 52 of Carpenter’s 77 yards came on a deep touchdown to senior wideout Jaivon Heiligh, who ended his day with 118 receiving yards.

CCU entered halftime up 36-0 and at one point had 36 points to the Minutemen’s 38 total yards. UMass was held scoreless until its final drive with 8:22 left in the game when Cameron Carson converted his first career field goal on a 35-yard try. That drive was just one of two times where the Minutemen successfully moved the ball past the Chanticleers 49-yard line.

Braydon Bennett and Reese White ran for 152 of CCU’s 312 rushing yards. As a team, it averaged just shy of seven yards per carry while the Minutemen totaled only 28 yards on the ground for an average of 1.2.

“I think the most disappointing thing for me was we had opportunities,” Bell said. “We weren’t able to put ourselves into the game early and it got away from us.”

Struggling against one of the top teams in the country is expected, but UMass also had a number of avoidable, self-inflicted wounds. After electing to receive the opening kickoff, Walt Bell was forced to take a timeout before the first snap of the game for the second time this season. Five plays later, the first of many bad snaps set the Chanticleers up with first and goal inside the 5-yard line.

The Minutemen later had a snap that sailed high over 6-foot-4 Brady Olson’s head, and another bad snap on a punt that went out of the back of the end zone for a safety. UMass committed seven penalties that gave CCU 65 yards.

“They’re one of the top football teams for a reason,” Bell said. “When you play a good, experienced football team, you can’t hold them. You can’t make mistakes, especially critical mistakes.”

Kay’Ron Adams made his return to the Minutemen after being sidelined the majority of the season. He and Ellis Merriweather had six carries apiece, totaling 55 yards. Freshman quarterback Brady Olson completed 14-of-23 passes for 86 yards. Redshirt freshman Garrett Dzuro eventually took over and went 4-7 for 44 yards.

Next up for UMass is Family Weekend at McGuirk Alumni Stadium as the Minutemen return home to face Toledo at 12 p.m. on Saturday.

Dylan Corey can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TheDylanCorey.