2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The UMass Offense
Establish an identity right away, and preferably have the ground game be a part of it. Under the new coaching staff, the passing game will work with a little bit of time, but the running attack that’s been so mediocre-to-lousy since becoming a part of the FBS world has to be more than just along for the ride.
The interior of the line has to undergo an overhaul, a few new backs have to emerge, and the offense that couldn’t move the chains needs to have something to rely on – especially considering the passing game has to undergo an overhaul, too.
Biggest Key To The UMass Defense
Stop the run, stop the run, stop the run. The Minutemen couldn’t get into the backfield – generating just ten sacks and averaging just five tackles for loss per game – and they couldn’t do anything to stop the run. They held just one FBS team – Charlotte – to under 200 yards and were destroyed for 300 rushing yards five times.
This is still going to be a young, developing front seven that will attack more, but has to show it can hold up. It can’t allow 5.8 yards per carry again.
Key Player To A Successful Season
QB Michael Curtis, Sr.
Or Randall West, or any of the new options that new head coach Walt Bell has brought in. The 6-2, 215-pound Curtis is a former JUCO transfer who stepped in a bit last year when injuries hit, completing 26-of-40 passes for 412 yards and four scores with two picks, and he ran for four touchdowns. This is a total rebuild of a job to do with this team, and Curtis is good enough to at least be reliable.
Key Game To The UMass Season
UConn, Oct. 26
It’s not like there’s a massive rivalry in the New England area between UConn and UMass, but the schools are only 50 miles apart, and both will need this game to have any sort of a decent season. The Minutemen get a week off to prepare, and after beating the Huskies 22-17 last season – and after being 3-1 all-time in the series – they have to keep it going.
– UMass Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 UMass Fun Stats
– UMass 1st Quarter Scoring: 131 – UMass 2nd Quarter Scoring: 64
– Sacks: Opponents 39 for 231 yards – UMass 10 for 71 yards
– Rushing Yards: Opponents 3,318 – UMass 1.697