Sunday, September 07, 2008
Holy Cross game comments and Picasa Web album
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Let's start the good. Liam Coen and his receivers were in sync this week. With Holy Cross putting eight-in-box to stop Tony Nelson (who still made 84 yards, 3.7 yards/carry and 2 TDs), Coen shot down the Crusaders with completions to seven different receivers.
Note that we scored 45 points and we had the ball for almost exactly ten minutes less (24:59 to 35:01) than Holy Cross. We also fumbled on one position while driving for a score.
Jeremy Horne had 10 catches for 172 yards and 2 TDs. That one game ties him with six other UMass receivers for 8th place in the all-time single game receiving record book.
After seemingly waiting since the last Ice Age for him to get on the field, Victor Cruz had 5 catches for 89 yards. A couple of those were nice receptions.
Octavious Hawkins had one catch for 23 yards.
The latest iteration of the offensive line again did not allow a sack. And nobody was cramping up in the humid 80 degree weather. Four hundred sixty eight yards of offensive was a credit to the OL.
The kickers were again superb. Brett Arnold averaged 44 yards/punt. Armando Cucko won his second game in seven field goals. He crushed the game winning kick after ignoring three attempsts to ice him. Cuko also averaged 56 yards/kickoff in the heavy air.
The game winning drive was very nicely done. Starting with 2:22 minutes to play, UMass drove 36 yards in 11 plays to the Holy Cross 25. Tony Nelson set the kick by centering the ball on his last carry.
The Bad was available in large quantities. Tackling continued to be an elusive skill for the defense. Holy Cross had 27 first downs and controlled the clock. The Crusaders had 126 yards rushing. On all those possessions and offense, the UMass defense was around the ball, but did not close on the receiver or did not wrap up. Dominic Randolph's longest completion was only 26 yards.
The defensive intensity did improve in the second half, but if we play that way against Texas Tech, they are going to score like a stuck pinball machine.
The UMass also had at least four instances when the defensive player got his hands on the ball, but did not make the interception. A couple of positive plays in the first half would stopped all the drama in the second.
The special teams flat out did not play well. Holy Cross had a combined 244 yards in punt and kickoff returns. UMass might want to consider playing more of their regulars on special teams.
Other notes: The announced crowd of 12,000+ seemed a little generous. UMass had a big turnout. We had at least 40% of the total crowd.
I have a forty image Picasa Web album here . The images were taken with my point-and-shoot because I was worried about the weather. About 20 minutes after the game, it was raining torrents.
Holy Cross is a good team. We may have beaten our second straight 2008 conference champion.
Go UMass! Beat the Dukes!