It took only 13 seconds for UMass to shake off weeks of frustration.
And it only took a few more minutes to remove any drama or doubt about the outcome.
Marquis Young took the opening kickoff back 93 yards for a touchdown. UMass then converted a botched Charlotte punt and recovered fumble into quick touchdowns to jump out to a 28-0 lead less than seven minutes into the game.
Charlotte's nightmare started with the allowed kick return, but here is a quick synopsis of how these next six or so minutes played out...
- Quick 3 and out
- Fumbled punt for loss of 13 yards
- 20-yard touchdown pass from Michael Curtis to Andy Isabella
- Charlotte fumbles on second play of next drive
- Pass interference on Charlotte
- 2-yard TD run by Young
- 3 and out again for Charlotte
- 2-yard TD run by Curtis after two plays moving the ball 40 yards
For those scoring at home, up to this point the offensive stats from scrimmage...
- UMass: 5 plays, 74 yards, 28 points
- Charlotte: 9 plays, -19 yards, 0 points
The good news at this point was there was still plenty of football to play. However, productive touchdown drives engineered by Curtis to close out the first half and start the second half put the game away for good.
Easing him in
The question all week out of Amherst: Who would be under center?
With Andrew Ford and Ross Comis both injured in last week's loss to FIU, coach Mark Whipple looked to Curtis, the redshirt junior, who played decent during garbage time against the Golden Panthers.
Charlotte missed their opportunity to make the third string QB squirm. Instead the miscues and short field position allowed Curtis to find the end zone twice early. Any inexperience is helped greatly with a 28-0 lead.
On the whole, Curtis was not spectacular, but was solid. He finished the game 12-for-19, 189 yards and two touchdowns, while adding two more scores on the ground.
The largest stat for Curtis, however, was 0 (read:turnovers).
His play is very encouraging for Minutemen fans, who now look towards a rematch with former conference foe Ohio. They will need every bit of offense against the Bobcats.
Last year, UMass broke 50 points and still lost.
49ers prepare for Dragons
The 49ers played better in the second half. They will have to carry as much of that positive momentum into next week's visit to UAB.
Charlotte actually out-gained the Minutemen, 364-331. Chris Reynolds was 23-for-34, 283 yards and three TDs vs. zero interceptions.
But that's what happens when special teams fails and you give an opponent the short field again and again.
The same goes for time of possession. The 49ers had the ball for more than 13 minutes longer than UMass.
Sometimes all it takes is seven or so minutes to put a game on ice.