UMass suffers blowout loss in final game of the 2022 season

Minutemen give up 44 points

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Sophie-Zoe Schreyer / Daily Collegian

By Judah Katz, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts football team suffered a 44-7 defeat against Army West Point Saturday in its final game of the 2022 season. The Minutemen (1-11) gave up 329 rushing yards and 44 points to conclude a woeful year. The Black Knights (5-6) amassed 396 total yards on the afternoon, scoring on seven different drives.

UMass struggled mightily to move the ball down the field throughout the entire game, especially on the ground. For this offense, running the football has been singularly important in its season-long attempt to control the clock and keep opposing offenses off the field. Against Army, they mustered 90 yards on the ground on 31 attempts, averaging 2.9 yards per carry. Senior  running back Ellis Merriweather started the game on fire, rushing for 49 yards on five attempts. His early exit due to injury crippled the Minutemen’s offense and seemed to take the life out of the running game.

“It’s deflating,”  head coach Don Brown said of Merriweather’s injury. “When you lose your big boy in a game like that, that’s a big loss.”

The Minutemen threw the ball more than they usually do to push the ball down the field. Starting quarterback Brady Olson threw for 145 yards on 24 attempts, ending the game with a 54 percent completion percentage. His two interceptions gave Army premium field position, which they used to score on both possessions following the turnovers. Olson missed several open receivers downfield, killing the Minutemen’s ability to keep the Black Knights on their toes.

The UMass defense was outmatched on Saturday, particularly on the line of scrimmage. Army’s offensive line created huge holes for its running game, resulting in 329 rushing yards split amongst 11 different rushers. The Black Knights starting quarterback Tyhier Tyler totaled 101 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, on 11 attempts. Backup quarterback Bryson Daily racked up 79 yards as well, including a 54-yard touchdown run to seal the game. Jakobi Buchanan served as Army’s battering ram, scoring two touchdowns like a traditional fullback, barreling his way into the endzone through multiple failed tackles by the Minutemen.

UMass ended the year with just one win. As they look to rebuild the program, they will build on some of the positives Brown referenced after the final loss.

“I told the kids and I mean this sincerely. This group has worked extremely hard. They have done a lot of good things,” Brown said. “Their discipline has been very good, in terms of getting places on time, representing UMass football the right way, practicing hard.”

As of now, the Minutemen quarterback room will look similar next year as it does at this moment. Brown has a series of decisions to make when it comes to their offense, including who he wants to take the helm next year.

“I thought the biggest issue for us on offense is the quarterback thing. It was really difficult to get some even play,” Brown said. “That’s tough when you’re in the first year of a system. You can’t cry about it.”

This season, UMass averaged 12.5 points per game, while giving up 31.1 to opponents. With the new transfer portal rules and regulations, Brown and his staff have a challenging road ahead to rebuild a program that has been scraping the bottom of the FBS barrel for the last few years.

Judah Katz can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @judah_katz.