UMass remains winless suffering a 45-7 blowout loss to Toledo

The Minutemen rushed for the least amount of yards in their history

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Sophie Schreyer/Daily Collegian

By Irina Costache, Assistant News Editor

The Massachusetts football team lost 45-7 to Toledo on Saturday afternoon, avoiding a shutout with a fourth-quarter touchdown. The defeat marks its fifth consecutive loss of the season.

“Offensively we did not answer the bell today,” UMass coach Walt Bell said.

The Rockets defense (3-2, 1-0 Mid-American Conference) consistently put the Minutemen offense (0-5) to a stop, with UMass finishing the game with just 134 yards of total offense. Toledo also dominated rushing the ball, ending with exactly 200 more than the Minutemen’s 23. UMass averaged 0.9 yards per rush, way under the Rockets 5.2. This was the least amount of rushing yards ever completed by a UMass football team.

UMass also completed 111 passing yards throughout the game, with Toledo completing 232.

On par with their previous games this season, the Minutemen struggled in the opening half of the game. In the first two quarters, the Minutemen converted only two first-downs and gained 47 total yards.

This was shown through their third-down conversion rate of a whopping 1-of-11, a stark difference compared to Toledo’s ability to convert on almost 50 percent of its third downs.

Freshman quarterback Brady Olson struggled throughout the game. After putting up a strong fight earlier this season, Olson looked as if he took a few steps back, completing only 41 percent of his passes and throwing an interception, in comparison to his 58 percent completion percentage he managed to attain against Eastern Michigan.

Olson was also sacked once in the first quarter by Toledo’s linebacker Jonathan Jones, fumbling the ball and overturning it to the Rockets.

“We didn’t move the ball early enough to take pressure off [Olson], and so [Olson] got put in some really hard situations and third mediums and third longs early in the football game,” Bell said. “But we’ve got to continue to fight to run the football.”

The freshman’s performance picked up at the start of the second half, completing a 12-yard pass to wide-receiver Tray Pettway and a 39-yard pass to Rico Arnold.

“[Olson] is going to be an exceptional player,” Bell said. “I mean he’s going to be a really good football player.”

Arnold’s catch paved the way for the Minutemen’s only touchdown, setting UMass up on Toledo’s two-yard line. Olson completed a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Taylor Edwards, his first of the season.

“What’s so special about this group is, this group has been through an unbelievable adversity, you know from last year to this year, from injuries, but this group has always done exactly what we’ve asked them to do and always given it back to us in terms of what we need,” Bell said.

Punter George Georgopoulos consistently flipped field position, giving UMass’ defense a helping hand when its offense failed to get things rolling. Georgopoulos averaged 52.9 yards a punt, stopping the ball on Toledo’s one-yard line on two occasions.

In the third quarter, the Minutemen’s leading rusher, Kay’ron Adams suffered an apparent lower-body injury and was assisted off the field.

“We’ve got to execute, we got to connect the dots,” Bell said. “We’ve got to coach.”

The Minutemen will return to McGuirk Alumni Stadium Saturday Oct. 9, hosting UConn. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.

Irina Costache can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @irinaacostache.