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 football head into Week 6 against Toledo

The Minutemen plan to take it one game at a time
Devin Lippman
Daily Collegian(2023)

The Massachusetts football team is days away from its matchup against the University of Toledo in its final of three consecutive home games. The leaders of the Mid-American Conference hold a 6-1 advantage against the Minutemen (1-5), as their eighth meeting lies on the horizon. Playing on UMass territory, Toledo (4-1, 2-0 MAC) also leads 2-1.

Coming off a week five loss against the Arkansas State Red Wolves, head coach Don Brown focused on the positives that came out of the evening.

“We’re [healthier] on the offensive side,” Brown said, emphasizing the importance of not constantly adjusting the offense throughout the game.

Starting quarterback Taisun Phommachanh is expected to return to his position under center again on Saturday. After missing three full games due to injury, the redshirt junior took the field with a knee brace against the Red Wolves. He finished the evening with 269 passing yards and one passing touchdown.

“[Phommachanh] exhibited great leadership ability during the course of the game,” Brown said. “… it was just nice to have him [and his talent] back.”

Heading into the team’s next matchup, Phommachanh may see more action in terms of reviving his own run game and running shiftier, more creative plays. This will be dependent on his health.

Coming off a breakout performance, Brown expects Greg Desrosiers Jr. to handle the ball more, especially on the perimeter. Desrosiers ended his Saturday evening with 75 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. He averaged 14.5 yards per touch and locked in the best game of his collegiate career.

“We’re trying to give [Desrosiers] the ball every week now,” Brown said.

As for Toledo, Brown discussed the similarities in defense style between the two teams. For the UMass offense, going up against something familiar will “provide some comfort for [the players],” Brown said.

However, the Minutemen are preparing to take on the Rockets’ run game. Out of their 1192 rushing yards attained on the field so far this season, junior running back Peny Boone has gained 526 of them. Boone has also slotted in five rushing touchdowns out of the 13 tallied over the course of Toledo’s season. Paired with different quarterbacks so far, such as starting quarterback Dequan Finn who sits at 73 completed passes out of 110 attempts, the running back position may continue to find the holes in the UMass defense that has struggled to stabilize.

“We [have] to have a sound ground attack for [Toledo’s] run game,” Brown said.

UMass is also suffering the loss of three defensive backs from the field, with the most recent being Jordan Mahoney. The defensive back came off the field on a stretcher against Arkansas State.

Losing key elements to the defense has hindered the UMass performance. The Minutemen allowed 556 yards that evening and continued to struggle with finding rhythm on the field in the first half. Brown emphasized the importance of hitting the ground running on all sides of the ball heading into the Toledo matchup.

Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. at McGuirk Alumni Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 7. The matchup between UMass and Toledo can also be watched on ESPNU.

“Each game you play is the most important one, and that’s really what our focus is,” Brown said. “… Let’s just get off [on] the right foot and attack the game. Really just get started and go from there. Our guys compete now, our guys go hard at it… That’ll be a big push this week.”

Sydney Ciano can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @SydneyCiano.

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 *