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Just Dyserts: Miami Game Notes

(Mike Cox ran for 188 yards against Miami, far and away his best game as a college football player. The Minutemen lost 27-16/ESPN)

For the first time this season, the UMass football team looked like it belonged at the FBS level.

The Minutemen lost to the Miami (OH) Redhawks, 27-16, in a game that was even closer than that score indicates. The time of possession was nearly equal, UMass had 471 yards of total offense, and the Minutemen actually seemed comfortable on the field with their opponent.

UMass flipped through the index of its play book and showed how a pass-based spread offense can also lead to yards on the ground. The defense pursued the ball well, but at the end of the day Zac Dysert was too good just a few too many times. His passes to a depleted receiving corps were, for lack of a better term, awesome.

Before I more on: Please be sure to watch the Dorchester Flip over and over again.

Below are the game notes from what was easily the best-played game of the year for the Minutemen.

Let ‘em Run: The Minutemen added a new running scheme reminiscent of last year’s pro style. Miami appeared to be caught off-guard by the no-huddle, up-the-gut running attack and allowed Mike Cox to run wild throughout the game for a staggering 188 yards – far and away the best running performance for UMass this season. The new attack meshed well with the delayed handoffs from the spread and the Cox-run Wildcat. I prefer this scheme over the handoff-to-pump-fake play that, over the course of this season, has gone for approximately zero yards.

Mike Wegzyn is Tougher Than You: I’m not sure if Wegzyn knows how to slide because the kid runs like a fullback. Wegzyn just continues to improve right in front of us. He has no problem throwing the ball away or simply tucking it and gutting out a first down. Wegzyn doesn’t force too many passes and seems to be very comfortable leading this offense. You can tell that he has adapted to the new offensive wrinkles, and if his game-by-game progression continues, this kid could be fun to watch by the end of the season. Sure, he had three interceptions, but one was a tipped pass, one was a late-game prayer and the other was the one time he forced his throw too much. All in all, I continue to be impressed with the poise and toughness he plays with.

Kassan Messiah is Ready: Messiah, a true freshman linebacker from Orange, N.J., had a huge sack on Miami’s opening drive. It was his first tackle of the season. He later made a great zone coverage tackle in the flats where he read the play like a seasoned veteran. By the end of the game, he had 10 tackles and was easily the best linebacker on the field for the Minutemen. Yes, that includes Perry McIntyre. Messiah was recruited as a tight end and linebacker out of high school and was a two-time All-State, All-Conference and All-County selection. It looks like the 6’4, 215-pound athlete has a good nose for the ball and could be a solid contributor throughout the season.


Penalties, They Hurt: Thirty five yards of penalties killed UMass’ best drive of the season. In total, the Minutemen had eight penalties for 88 yards. There are still stupid mistakes being made as this team adjusts to the new offense, and on defense the aggressiveness is coming back to bite UMass at times. I assume these things will get figured out, but there were a number of flags that stalled what was definitely UMass best offensive showing. Let me make one thing clear though: I had no problem with Stephane Milhim‘s personal foul. As far as I’m concerned, he was protecting his quarterback.

Draw Something Up: UMass desperately needs to figure out how to defend the quarterback draw. Against Indiana, Michigan and now Miami, the defense has been baffled by this play and seemingly gives up at least 15 yards every time. I know it’s easier said than done, but at some point defensive coordinator Phil Elmassian needs to come up with some answers. Dysert is athletic but is by no means a scrambling quarterback. He shouldn’t have had the running space he did. At the end of the day, Dysert ran for almost 100 yards. That’s just not going to cut it.

D.J. Done: During the postgame press conference, Molnar indicated that D.J. Adeoba is likely done for the season. Adeoba went down early against the Redhawks. That is a tough hit for the UMass defense.

Where’s Perry?: Coming into the season, Perry McIntyre was supposed to be the engine that paced the Minuteman defense. He was supposed to bridge the gap between Tyler Holmes and the next crop of young linebackers. Instead, McIntyre has been invisible. Sure, he puts up numbers, but sometimes numbers don’t tell the whole story. Time and time again he fails to be the initial aggressor and essentially comes in to clean up a tackle that someone else started. On the quarterback draw plays that have been killing this team, he is nearly always the guy looking over a guard’s shoulder as the middle of the field splits wide open. If this team is going to be successful, McIntyre needs to improve. It doesn’t matter to me if he gets his double digit tackles – I want him to set the tone for a game like Messiah did during his first drive as a college football player.

Tweet of the Game:

Odds and Ends: Colter Johnson could finally rest his leg. He had only one punt during the game, compared to the six he had against Michigan last week. … Jordan Broadnax continues to impress as a kick returner and broke off a 61-yard return against the Redhawks. I sometimes forget how elusive he can be with open field. … UMass went 11-of-19 on third down, easily its best performance of the season. … It looks like Trey Dudley-Giles has taken over at punt returner in lieu of Brian Dowling.


  1. SJGMoney says:

    Bob, you have to comment on the absolutely horrible penalty call that took away our first TD. Perfect play, and the inside LB that was supposed to cover Williams coming out of the backfield was so slow that the ref just assumed he got illegally picked. Terrible, terrible call. Walker went to the end zone and turned around, his man stayed all over him which left williams wide open. I for one am getting sick and tired of the penalties that we are getting hit with and more than a few are absolutely brutal calls.

    1. Bob McGovern says:

      I completely agreed, and was asking everyone in the room what the call was. Unfortunately I only have RCN cable so I couldn’t go back and watch the play. UMass has gotten some bad calls against it, but they are also kicking themselves in the ass a lot.

      1. SJGMoney says:

        Watch it again on ESPN3 if you can. I had listened to the first half on the radio but I DVR’d the game. So I didn’t get a chance to actually watch it until late Sat. night. Phantom call, and on a play that critical that takes away a TD you can’t blow the call. It has to be very obvious and very definite and it was definitely not even remotely close to anything resembling offensive pass interference. I’m going to say the refs were so surprised by our easy march down the field that they figured we must be doing something wrong. Same goes for a phantom holding call on Milhelm during one of Cox early big runs.

  2. Larry says:

    We didn’t win but the team is getting better.
    So improvement in almost every area except xpt n fg. Are we cursed in this area of special teams? We seem to be doing well returning kickoffs but returning punts is still an area to work on.
    Those I sit with loved scott duggan when he was on the team. He played lb n then fb n always played well on special teams. He was the one who blocked the punt at the 2010 Michigan game that put a shock in 107,000 .
    We always need a duggan n this year we think our new duggan is unh transfer #34 Carini. He is doing a nice job on specials n we hope he will block a kick for us soon.
    The schedule continues to be challenging but the team overall continues to improve. Hoping for a little better control in the penalty area n a break here or there in special teams for us.
    See all those who are on the ride in sec. 109 against Ohio.

  3. Rl says:

    Great synopsis…thank you for doing this. I listened on the radio, so i may be wrong about this, but it certainly sounded like the umass offense was running at a tempo that kept the Miami defense off their rotation schedule and had enough pre snap motion to keep them from Audibling into a more typical run-read defense. If that s the case, it seems like not only are we going to start matching up better on the personnel front, but that our guys are starting to really embrace the system that molnar is implementing.

    Again, the radio play by play coverage indicated that defense was best defined as well-coached and that the game plan was well designed and appropriate, but just too many one on break downs and failure to stop a non-mobile qb from breaking off some big runs.

    If this is right, it seems like talent wise and coaching wise, we are in a good spot and that as our guys keep getting bigger, better and more experienced, we are going to compete well in the MAC. Losing sucks, but I like the direction, attitude and compete level that this program currently has. If they can maintain that, despite the likely season-long losing streak, we are going to be a strong program faster than I thought possible.

  4. Mary says:

    Mike Wegzyn is NOT tougher than me! Just ask him. He’ll tell you he still fears me! I’m his mom! LOL Thanks for the kind words about Mike. He is just a 19 year old kid, who can’t even grow facial hair, who is working hard to be the best QB he can be.

    1. Larry says:

      The qb keeps improving every game. Like his running too but sliding when he is going to get a tough hit is not a bad thing. Just want him to keep playing.
      See you soon.

    2. SJGMoney says:

      You raised a tough boy Mary, and someone who like Bob said is impoving every game. As a growing program that is all we can ask, steady improvement.

    3. SJGMoney says:

      Oh yeah, and get him something good for his birthday!!

  5. Will says:

    The big difference in this game was twice having 1st and goal from the 5 and not getting any points. However, Wegzyn continues to improve drive by drive. I am excited for the rest of the season. Also, solid day for the MAC – great wins by C. Michigan and Ball State.

  6. Andy says:

    Definite areas of improvement this week. Placekicking still horrific. It was actually a pretty competitive game for the most part, with some penalties and freshman mistakes killing us. We just looked a little slow on defense. Anyone care to comment on MAC attendance? 15K at Miami (OH) for homecoming? Kent vs Buffalo at 14K, Toledo vs. Coast. Carolina at 19K. Why the mid-teens seems to be the norm here? I’m always hearing how the Northeast isn’t college football territory, but I thought Ohio and Michigan was more into it.

    1. Bob McGovern says:

      I was thinking the same thing about the attendance Andy. I think a lot of those schools suffer from what I call the USF Problem. Aka – All the the kids that go there entered college rooting for the state’s main team and don’t care as much about their school’s. I think that manifests itself the most at Eastern Michigan, which is only a stone’s throw from Ann Arbor.

  7. Dave says:

    Nice write up.

    By the way, I see two new names (both freshmen) on the roster, and they look like they have the potential to contribute:

    Ian Sybilis is a WR/DB from Everett, who has run a 4.38 40 and according to one source was offered by Penn State. According to ESPN, he is the younger brother of Omar Easy.

    Alain Leneus, a DL, is the other one. Rutgers, Temple, and several others had interest from what I’ve read.

    1. Bob McGovern says:

      I noticed before, but not Leneus. I will look into his situation further. I wonder if one of these kids took a scholarship from Cameron Mock – that big O-lineman from New Mexico who I don’t see on the roster.

      1. Dave says:

        Another recruit from that class that I’m not seeing is Nunez, a Juco DE. So these guys could both have a scholarship.

        1. Bob McGovern says:

          Dave, I just looked into it for you. Both guys are walkons and were not part of the 2012 recruiting class. Whether or not they are preferred walkons I don’t know.

          1. Dave says:

            Thanks, Bob, good to know.

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