Photo – @UmassFootball
Down just seven at halftime on Saturday, UMass had a golden opportunity to win two straight games for the first time in a long time.
Unfortunately, in a defensive struggle, the Minutemen could only muster 259 yards of total offense – including just 80 passing yards – in a 28-0 loss to the Owls.
UMass also didn’t help itself by any means, racking up 11 penalties for 83 yards and going just 3-for-18 on third downs. Entering the game, the Minutemen were 10-point under dogs and went into halftime down just 7-0, but in the end, this slow process produced another frustrating result.
UMass is now 1-3.
“You can’t get frustrated when you don’t score,” said head coach Don Brown. “You just have to keep playing the game. Unfortunately for us, I think there was some frustration, but you can’t. You can’t get frustrated when things don’t go your way. You just kind of stay in the foxhole and keep playing, keep competing and if you eventually do that things will go your way.
“It really comes down to two pass plays, both on third down, that probably was the difference maker in the game.”
The only score of the first half came with 1:54 remaining in the second quarter when Temple’s Ian Stewart hauled in an 11 yard pass from EJ Warner. The Minuteman defense held the Owls to just 313 yards of total offense, but could only do so much.
Quincy Patterson’s two yard touchdown run in the third quarter capped a 10-play, 80 yard drive and put Temple up 14-0. The true dagger came when Layton Jordan picked off a pass and returned it 41 yards to the house to make it 21-0 with 6:14 left in the quarter.
“I think he made a good break on the ball,” Brown said of the pick-six. “I’m not sure we saw him. We’re going to have to find that out in film work and so forth over the next two days, but I’m not sure he saw him. Obviously, he had a nice run after the catch resulting in a score, which is not what we’re looking for, that’s for sure.”
In the fourth, Temple put the game away for good when Warner hit Adonis Sanders for a 50 yard touchdown.
While the Minuteman defense continues to try its best to keep the team in games, eventually, the offense is going to need to carry the slack if UMass wants to win more than one or two games this season. Coach Brown is firmly behind offensive coordinator Steve Casula and believes things are going to get turned around on that side of the ball.
“Coach Casula’s a hell of a coach,” Brown stated. “He knows what he’s doing. That’s his baby. Obviously, I think the nemesis today was we just didn’t click on third down and we got behind the chains with a couple of those penalties. You put all that together, but the bottom line is it’s a nothing-nothing game very close to the end of the half. Kind of disappointing.”