FOXBORO - Given the opportunity to salvage one of its openers, the UMass Minutemen went down hard in their FBS home opener at Gillette Stadium on Saturday afternoon, being routed by the Indiana Hoosiers, 45-6, one week after dropping their first ever FBS game against the Connecticut Huskies. UMass, as a result, drops to 0-2 overall on the season.
"We've been working very hard in practice. I think our guys were mentally ready," said UMass coach Charley Molnar. "They had good momentum, good feeling at the beginning of the game, and all of a sudden, it just got away from them. We could just never get it back."
UMass' offense was shut out in the season opener, but showed signs of life early on against Indiana, when freshman quarterback Mike Wegzyn was able to lead his team on a three-play, 75-yard drive spanning 47 seconds to bring themselves within a point, 7-6, after Indiana quarterback Tre Roberson opened the scoring with a 50-yard touchdown rush. The Minutemen scoring drive was highlighted by a 56-yard passing play, with Wegzyn connecting with wide receiver Marken Michel on a trick play, setting up a 16-yard touchdown run up the middle by Wegzyn two plays later (Blake Lucas' extra point attempt was no good, wide left).
After that, the Minutemen couldn't muster any more offense. UMass had one more legitimate opportunity to put points on the board in the third quarter, but Lucas missed a 36-yard field goal wide left with 2:56 left in the quarter. UMass totaled 264 yards of offense (78 rushing, 186 passing) while giving up 606 total yards to the Hoosiers (321 rushing, 285 passing).
Wegzyn finished 18-of-26 with 151 passing yards and A.J. Doyle, who entered the game in the fourth quarter, saw some time under center, throwing for 35 yards on 3-of-8 passing. Michael Cox rushed for 36 yards on 15 carries and Michel racked up 68 receiving yards.
"I felt more prepared coming out. I think, as a team, we felt more prepared," said Wegzyn. "We've been looking a lot better in practice from the week before until this game week. Obviously, we didn't have the game we were expecting and hoped to have. There's more things that we have to polish up. I think, today, we came out and at least as an offense, we really found our identity this week and showed a little bit in spurts during the game."
Roberson, who rushed for two touchdowns in the first quarter and threw for one more, finished the game with 98 passing yards and 105 yards on the ground for Indiana, but left the game with a serious left leg injury early in the second quarter and was removed on a stretcher. Cameron Coffman, who replaced Roberson, had 159 passing yards and a score. Tevin Coleman rushed for 73 yards and Cody Latimer had 68 receiving yards for Indiana.
UMass travels to face the Michigan Wolverines next Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor.
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