UMass’ slump continues in 45-7 loss to Toledo

UMass allows 28 points off turnovers

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Parker Peters

Parker Peters/Daily Collegian

By James DiLuca, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts football team faced off against Toledo on Saturday, who coming into the contest had been lights out on defense. The Rockets defense had not allowed a touchdown in its last eight quarters of play. Toledo held the Minutemen scoreless through the first three quarters of today’s game, cruising to a 45-7 victory.

For the Minutemen, turnovers proved to be very costly as Toledo had three one-play drives off UMass turnovers that each resulted in a touchdown.

“We all understand that momentum in football is huge,” said Toledo head coach Jason Candle.“I thought that second quarter was huge in getting some of those turnovers there, and we were able to put some points on the board right after… those guys are playing at a high level, the defensive front, it kind of forces the quarterback’s hand at times to make questionable, quick decisions.”

UMass threw two interceptions in the second quarter and on both of them Toledo was able to return them down inside the UMass 10-yard line. The Rockets took advantage of stellar field position scoring from 5 yards out and 7 yards out.

The Minutemen’s first turnover came in the opening quarter when quarterback Brady Olson was stripped by Toledo’s Johnathan Jones. Desjuan Johnson recovered the Olson fumble on UMass’s 34-yard line, and Toledo wasted no time taking advantage of the UMass turnover. Rockets quarterback Dequan Finn kept the ball on a read option and sprinted 34 yards into the endzone.

“We put those guys in a bunch of short fields,” UMass head coach Walt Bell said. “But our defense you know when they had, grass behind them, played good defense. They got some stops, you know, and that’s a step in the right direction with a really young group.”

Throughout the game the Minutemen defense was put in compromising positions off of the offense’s turnovers.

One reoccurring theme for the Minutemen is having difficulty stopping the run game. Coming into Saturday’s game UMass was allowing its opponents to rush for an average of 242.2 yards which ranks as the fourth worst defense in the FBS.

Toledo ran for 223 yards against the Minutemen and were led by running back Bryant Koback who rushed 11 times for 85 yards and two touchdowns. Koback’s day was highlighted by an 18-yard touchdown run that saw him burst through a hole at the line and truck through a UMass defender before walking into the endzone.

“I went outside, and I was 1-on-1,” Koback said. “It was just natural instinct on what I did, I didn’t really think of anything, I was just running.”

In contrast, the Minutemen gained only 23 yards on the ground, which is the lowest total in program history. The Minutemen also had some mishaps on special teams, as Eric Collins muffed a punt early in the third quarter. Collins has now muffed two punts this season.

UMass will now turn its attention towards UConn, a team it could have some success against. The Minutemen will host the Huskies next Saturday at 3:30 pm.

James DiLuca can be reached at [email protected]umass.edu.