The Temple Owls welcome the Massachusetts Minutemen to Lincoln Financial Field this week. I am no expert when it comes to UMass football, but I do know someone who is. I was pleased to ask fellow Underdog Dynasty writer, Jack Godar, who covers UMass for the site. Here is what Temple fans should expect from the Minutemen this week.
UMass is the rare program that is playing football as an independent, but doesn't have the historical background as a Notre Dame, BYU or Army. How have they gone about securing games in the future with no conference matchups to fill out their schedule? Is there a future home in a conference for them ahead?
Right now UMass just tries to pick up games where they can, resulting in a schedule that traverses the country and plays an eclectic mix of opponents. As for there being a future home for UMass, right now it looks bleak. It’s hard to seem desirable to conferences when you’re not winning, and UMass has struggled to win as a FBS school. Additionally, UMass is a tough geographic proposition. There just aren’t a lot of FBS schools in the Northeast.
Mark Whipple is a name many people in North Broad remember from his time with the Philadelphia Eagles. How has he fared in his second stint with the Minutemen?
Whipple has struggled. UMass went 2-10 last season and they’re yet to win a game this season. He has recruited well, and brought a lot of talent to UMass, so there’s hope that he can put it together, and get some wins. However, so far, that hasn’t really happened yet.
While they are off to an 0-3 start, UMass has been competitive in every game they've played in, with all three losses coming by 10 points or less. What has been the reason for the Minutemen not being able to come away with these close games?
UMass has shown a frustrating tendency to make mistakes in big moments. Against Hawaii, for instance, a muffed punt in the third quarter really hurt the Minutemen. It’s really just a simple matter of playing good, smart football for the whole 60 minutes. UMass has a lot of talent and can play with most teams, they just need to hold it all together for an entire game.
The offense scored just seven points against Old Dominion, but scored 30-plus in the two games prior. What can the Owls defense expect from quarterback Andrew Ford and the UMass offense?
I think UMass’ offense will be back to being as explosive as it was in the first two games. The key is that tight end Adam Breneman will be closer to full health. Breneman is the best tight end in the country, and a former five star recruit. Against Coastal Carolina, he hurt his ankle and, while he played against ODU, he didn’t practice all week and was ineffective. He should be mostly recovered now, and he’s still averaging over 100 yards a game, despite only having one catch last week and leaving in the third quarter the game before.
Senior end Ali Ali-Musa had 15 tackles in the game against Hawaii. Tell me a little bit about the defensive end and what to expect from the rest of UMass' defense.
Ali-Musa is one of the Minutemen’s most reliable run stoppers and has been since he came to UMass last year. UMass’ defense is adjusting to new defensive coordinator Ed Pinkham’s scheme, and have struggled this year. Hawaii beat them in the air, and CCU ran all over them, but they looked better against ODU. However, this could be a good game for Temple to finally get their offense going.
What is the one matchup that you believe UMass will win in this game?
Tight end Adam Breneman against anyone he’s matched up against. He’s 6’5, 260, fast, strong and a great pass catcher. Very few teams have the personnel to stop him.
On our AAC podcast, I predicted that the Minutemen knocking off the Owls would not surprise me. Am I crazy to think that UMass can come to Philadelphia and pull off the win?
I think UMass can, but it will be tough for them. Like I said eariler, UMass is a very talented team, but they struggle keeping it together for a whole game. They’re always a threat to pull off an upset, and certainly are capable of coming to Philly and beating Temple.
Give me your final score for this one.
Temple 35 - UMass 28