So much for poor starts.
UMass scored on its first offensive play from scrimmage after forcing a turnover.and never looked back, dismissing FCS member Duquesne, 63-15.
Receiver Andy Isabella found the end zone thrice, catching TD passes from both quarterbacks Andrew Ford and Ross Comis and taking an end around to the house.
In total: six touches, 145 yards of offense, three scores.
This one got ugly in a hurry.
The Minutemen put up 21 unanswered points less than nine minutes from the opening kickoff, including a 60-yard wide-open jog down the seam by Isabella on a pass from Comis and a one-yard plunge from Bilal Ally, who moments earlier ran 66 yards down the left sideline to set it up.
They took a 35-9 lead into halftime, and yet the game seemed like even more of a blowout just by the eyeball test.
The UMass offensive and defensive lines continually pushed the Dukes backwards, paving the way for their respective playmakers to make big play after big play.
Star Duquesne running back A.J. Hines gashed the defense for a couple plays on a touchdown drive to close the first half, but was ultimately kept in check.
1-0 came via Duquesne, but for a team that started 0-6 last year and has not started 1-0 in eight years, 1-0 is 1-0 and the Minutemen will take it.
Welcome to Massachusetts, Mr. McAllister
UConn transfer Brice McAllister made a dynamic first impression. He intercepted two passes, returning the second one 60 yards for a touchdown. Turnovers aside, McAllister provided blanketing support in the secondary and was consistent coming up against the run.
The backup man, Comis
Before an injury slowed him down, Comis and Ford split time on the field last season. With Ford’s play last season winning the starter job, Coach Whipple found ways to get Comis into games, regardless.
Comis threw for two touchdowns and ran 27 yards for a third score. Yes, it’s Duquesne, but it’s promising to know the backup is ready to go in the event he needs to leap into action.
Tight end spot is promising
The veteran UMass offense returns a bevy of talent for 2018, but the one position with a question mark entering the season was at tight end due to the graduating Adam Breneman.
Kyle Horn, getting his first significant snaps, showed some dependency, catching five balls for 49 yards and having a good nose for the first down marker.
Breneman, no. Passable, yes.