Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass loses fifth game in a row to Arkansas State

Minutemen get out to big deficit and can’t mount a comeback
Devin Lippman
Daily Collegian (2023)

The Massachusetts football team dropped the second game of its homestand, falling 52-28 to the Arkansas State Red Wolves. Limited success on the ground was a bright spot to an otherwise tough game.

The running game got going in the second quarter, starting the frame off with a bang for UMass (1-5). Greg Desrosiers Jr. received a handoff up the middle for his second touch of the game. The Minutemen offensive line formed a huge whole for the redshirt sophomore to run through.

Desrosiers turned on the jets, flying up the middle of the field past Red Wolves (3-2) defenders. Arkansas State struggled to keep up or get a hand on him as he continued to cross yardage markers all the way until the maroon endzone.

The 60-yard touchdown was the longest of Desrosiers collegiate career and his first of the season on the ground. The score was the first points on the board for the Minutemen.

Desrosiers wasn’t done there, finding the endzone for a second time in the third quarter. Sneaking out of the backfield into the right flat, he caught a ball from three yards out, scampering past the goal line for his second touchdown.

On the night, Desrosiers finished with over 100 total yards, with three carries for 75 yards and a touchdown rushing. Through the air, he caught four balls for 27 yards and a touchdown. He was the definition of efficient, with 14.5 yards per touch.

“[This was] the best game [Desrosiers] has played since he’s been here,” head coach Don Brown said.

Kay’Ron Lynch-Adams found success on the ground as well, scoring his fifth touchdown of the season from two yards out in the fourth quarter. He finished with 13 carries for 41 yards and a touchdown to go along with four catches and 27 receiving yards.

The touchdowns for UMass came after Arkansas State got out to a fast start, scoring on its first possession. It took seven plays for the Red Wolves to make their way 75 yards and into the endzone just over three minutes into the first.

After forcing a turnover defensively, Arkansas State’s offense trotted back out onto the field with 13 yards until the endzone. The Minutemen held off for two plays but surrendered their second touchdown against on a pass to the flat on the third play of the drive.

The 14-point lead for the Red Wolves came early with just under six minutes off the clock. The Minutemen had only run three plays offensively and were immediately faced with a two-possession deficit.

UMass quarterback Taisun Phommachanh made his return to play in Week 5, his first time seeing the field since an injury Week 1 at Auburn. He returned with a different look, supporting a knee brace on his right leg.

Phommachanh’s playstyle was very different in this one, having no designed runs and acting strictly as a pocket passer. He didn’t have the same production he had in his only full start earlier in the season, finishing 29-38 with 269 yards through the air to go along with a touchdown and an interception.

“We didn’t run any designed runs for [Phommachanh],” Brown said. “It was nothing but playing quarterback. We felt really good and felt even better after the game because he obviously made it through the game just fine. He’s going to be available again.”

UMass cornerback Jordan Mahoney went out with an injury in the second quarter, being stretchered off the field and not playing the rest of the contest. The loss of the starting defensive back proved huge for the Minutemen, with the defense surrendering four passing touchdowns of 25 or more yards in the game.

Jaylen Raynor had a huge game under center for Arkansas State, tying the record for most touchdowns thrown in a game at the program. He finished the contest 20-of-25 passing, with 383 yards and six touchdowns.

“Raynor’s a talented guy,” Brown said. “[He’s] straight line fast. I think he’s a dual threat guy in every stretch of the imagination. But his throwing ability is better than his running ability.”

UMass had some bright spots against the Red Wolves, but struggled overall to keep up and couldn’t take home the win. The Minutemen have one game left in their three-game homestand, where they’ll look to break the losing streak against Toledo. Kickoff on Oct. 7 from McGuirk Alumni Stadium will be at 12 p.m. The game can be watched on ESPNU.

“Obviously, we’ve got to go back and look at what we’re doing,” Brown said. “… We had a couple of really unforced errors that hurt us [Saturday], especially defensively, and that’s not like us.”

Mike Maynard can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @mikecmaynard.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *