UMass: Southern Illinois Salukis (0-1) at UMass Minutemen (0-1)

The Minutemen return home for the first game of the season at McGuirk Stadium against the Southern Illinois Salukis. After taking a 21-7 lead at Rutgers last week, UMass’ defense collapsed and the Minutemen ended up losing 48-21. The Minutemen should bounce back this week however.

Here are three keys to today’s game.

1. Improvement on defense: The Minutemen are young on defense so games like this are a good opportunity for them to get better. Southern Illinois is not very good on offense. The Minutemen should be able to consistently get three and outs.

2. Consistent quarterback play: Senior Randall West played well in the first half last week but struggled in the second half. It would not be a surprise to see Bell play both West and Andrew Brito today.

3. Get the dub: You schedule games like this because they are winnable. UMass needs to develop confidence. The best way to do that is to win games and take care of business against teams like this.

Final score: UMass 45 Southern Illinois 21: The Minutemen offense will rule the day by scoring 45 points. The defense will play better than last week and gain some confidence in the win.