Mike Wegzyn and the UMass Minutemen (0-3) have had three weeks to prepare for their Mid-American Conference opener against the Miami Red Hawks (1-2), which takes place at 12:00 p.m. ET on Saturday afternoon at Yager Stadium in Oxford, Ohio (ESPN3.com), and while they are still winless, some progress has been made.
UMass was blanked in its season and FBS opener, 37-0, against the UConn Huskies. The next weekend, in its home opener, the Minutemen would fall again, 45-6, but did manage to score their first FBS points. Last weekend, Michigan smacked around UMass to the tune of a 63-13 win at Michigan Stadium. The margin of defeat was by far the Minutemen's largest of the season, but on the plus side, they did score 13 points.
Wegzyn was in over his head against a much stronger Wolverines defense last Saturday, but was still able to pick up 141 yards through the air on 14-of-29 passing, and he did not throw an interception. Michael Cox, a fifth-year senior and former Wolverines running back, had 76 yards on 18 carries with a long rush of 14 yards and Deion Walker led all Minutemen receivers with 63 receiving yards on four catches. Christian Birt recorded his first career touchdown for UMass on a 32-yard interception returned for a touchdown. Brendon Levengood kicked two field goals, one from 32 yards and another from 25 yards.
Miami (OH) has dropped two games against Ohio State and Boise State thus far in 2012, but was able to capture a 30-14 win against Southern Illinois. Last weekend, the Red Hawks were on the wrong end of a 39-12 rout in Boise, thanks to a Joe Southwick 300 passing yard, two touchdown performance that helped the Broncos amass 599 yards. Zac Dysert had 176 yards on 20-of-27 passing and David Frazier caught three balls for 63 yards.
This marks the first ever meeting between UMass and Miami (OH). Massachusetts has played three current members of the MAC, however, compiling a 7-7 record against Ball State, Buffalo and Toledo.