Although this game was on ESPN360, my ISP is not a participant. This meant I couldn’t watch it live or watch the replay. That makes grading this game nearly impossible. In fairness, I’ll give everyone an incomplete and just post my thoughts by areas. Keep in mind that this is based on what I heard via Cronin and Meterparel on the radio broadcast and what some people who did see the game have shared with me.
I cannot tell what is going on with Ryan. I’ve asked others and no one could pinpoint the problem. His passes were off at times, but he gunned some others perfectly. He also got lucky that a few of his forced passes weren’t picked. Someone else mentioned that the pocket is collapsing around him quickly and he is rushing his throws. I don’t know. Next week will be telling. I am hoping it was just two off days. The important thing is that he did enough to win.
From the sound of things the offensive line did not play that well. Ty Hall was back in for Ramsey. Cherilus got whistled for two dumb penalties again. That’s been a problem for two seasons now. Someone needs to get through to him.
Ryan Thompson was back in the mix. Good for him. Gunnell made some big catches. Robinson as well. Challenger was MIA. Jarvis made a play. My concern is that we didn’t make more plays. Some of those balls must have been catchable. I am also disappointed that these guys couldn’t get more separation. I know UMass has talent, but our WRs continue to get roughed up by everyone and have for two seasons. We need to adjust: more moves, fighting back, finding openings…whatever it takes.
It sure sounded like Andre Callender ran hard and helped save the game. 32 carries. 4 catches. Huge day. His second half running helped save the game. Brooks was the only other one to get carries and he did nothing. I have no idea how Newman played, but Thompson worked from the backfield, so I am wondering how much time Newman even got.
I don’t know what to make of Logan’s play calling. From what I can tell, we kept throwing deep when the short stuff was there. I wonder if giving Ryan all this freedom is hurting us. Is Matty looking for the big play when he should be dumping off? Does Logan need to reign him in? I don’t know. The three and outs are frustrating but not for why you think. I have no problem with being aggressive. What bothers me is that this sputtering seems to be coming in the second and third quarters. Are teams figuring us out? No idea. Logan, like Ryan, will be interesting to watch next week. I expect a bounce back game.
The defense is much harder to get a feel for. Things I liked: finally getting some pressure on the opposing QB. Continued to control the opposing team's running game. The first half we shut them down completely. I also liked that we got many of the second teamers in and they contributed.
Things I didn’t like: the mental lapses that allowed UMass to get back into the game on a few big plays (it seemed like they were picking on Morris). I also was shocked when they allowed UMass and their backup QB move the ball down the field in the fourth. The game was on the line and they didn’t make plays. Not good.
Special Teams: N/A
This is killing us. It seemed the kicks and coverage were better and the punting was strong. The punt returns or lack of returns are killing us. We continue to get pinned and lose the field position battle. That will make a difference in the second half of the season. If Tribble keeps waving for the fair catch, then we should give someone else a shot back there.
I am flying blind here, so no overall grade. I am glad we won. I am disappointed we didn’t play better, especially after last week’s struggles. Regardless of how ugly it got, Jags and the coordinators do deserve credit for keeping it together and getting the team to the win.