The can’t miss kids

  • Old Dominion freshman kicker Nick Rice will be seeking to follow the gilded path of the other opposing kickers who’ve converted 25 consecutive field goals against UMass when he takes the McGuirk Alumni Stadium field today at 3:30. Photo courtesy Old Dominion University)

For The Recorder
Friday, September 08, 2017

When Coastal Carolina’s Evan Rabon kicked a 46-yard field goal against UMass last Saturday, it was the 25th consecutive time an opposing kicker had put the the ball between the uprights.

The last time an opponent missed a field goal against UMass was Nov. 14, 2015, by Eastern Michigan’s Dylan Mulder from 49 yards out in front of 2,759 fans at Rynearson Stadium in Ypsilanti.

During the 16-game stretch, UMass kickers have converted only 10-of-15 field goal attempts. The three-point scores add up like dollars on a 1090 form, and the Minutemen have been out-scored by 108 points via the field goal since they joined the FBS in 2012.

Check for yourself, but it’s what I came up with over three cups of coffee on Sunday morning while analyzing the Minutemen’s shocking 38-28 loss to the Chanticleers.

Coastal Carolina was a 2½-point underdog in their FBS debut, and Chanticleer broadcasters Joe Cashion and Layne Harris were downright giddy after UMass kicker Michael Schreiner missed a 33-yard field goal in the third quarter. “Wide left!” chortled Cashion. “Looked like one of my tee shots!”

Cashion offered faint praise, saying UMass could be a decent team “… if it had a running game, a couple more receivers and an offensive line.”

A field goal would’ve made it a one-score game, but UMass came up empty after a ten-play drive that stalled at the 16-yard line. “The missed field goal was huge there in the fourth quarter,” said Chanticleers coach Jamey Chadwell.

AIN’T NOTHIN’ BUT A HOME DOG: UMass is a 3½-point underdog today against Old Dominion at McGuirk Alumni Stadium in Amherst (3:30 p.m.). Last year, the Monarchs converted three field goals during their 36-16 win against UMass in Norfolk, Va. Placekicker Brad Davis has handed off field goal chores to freshman Nick Rice, who booted a 26-yarder in last week’s 31-17 win against Albany.

UMass coach Mark Whipple is three wins from passing Vic Vusia as the school’s all-time wins leader. It’s hard to get pumped about a coach who’s won eight games and lost 30 since he returned in 2014. The publicity office made the same big deal about hockey coach Toot Cahoon, who had three winning seasons in 12 years at UMass. Both are also the all-time loss leaders in their respective sports. If UMass thinks it’s so great it should hand out rose-colored glasses to the fans this afternoon.

After yielding 321 yards on 47 carries against Coastal Carolina, the UMass defense will again be tested by the double-barreled running attack of Ray Lawry and Jeremy Cox. Last year, they teamed up for 257 yards and three touchdowns against the Minutemen. … Old Dominion was 10-3 last year and beat Eastern Michigan in the Bahamas Bowl, 24-20. … UMass quarterback Andrew Ford is the second-leading passer in the FBS, a good-news stat that will likely get countless mentions on today’s radio broadcast. … Monarchs’ nosetackle Brandon Tyson is a Vinny Wilfork look-alike; 6-feet-1 and 342-pounds. Ed Miller of the Virginian Pilot calls him “a self-described ‘burger guy.’ … Da’Sean Downey was suspended from last week’s game for unspecified reasons. In February, 2015, Downey was charged with assaulting two students at an off-campus party. One of the alleged victims, Alex Stolicny, said the late-night party became a “hostile takeover by the football team. One player was invited. He invited a good portion of his football friends and they invited their friends.” … Old Dominion is 99th in Jeff Sagarin’s computer ratings published by USA Today. UMass slipped from 139th to 155th— behind UConn (121st) UNH (134th), and Harvard (143rd). Boston College (78th) is the highest rated New England team. … The students are back, and it’s Miller Time at State U. After a peaceable family-oriented game against Hawaii two weeks ago, the police will have a tougher time of it this afternoon trying to keep the rowdies corralled.

Athletic director Ryan Bamford signed a contract extension through 2022 this week, signalling that UMass supports an AD whose coaches win games more than coaches who win popularity contests.

SCOUTING TRIPS: Last week, UNH beat Maine, 24-23, before a record crowd of 15,584 at Wildcat Stadium in Durham, N.H. The Black Bears were flagged 10 times and missed an extra point and two field goals. UMass plays Maine at Fenway Park on Veterans Day. … Boston College beat a tough Northern Illinois team in hostile territory, 23-20, a week ago Friday. Colton Lichtenberg converted all three field goal attempts including a 38-yarder with 2:31 remaining. The Eagles host Wake Forest in an ACC tilt this afternoon at the Heights. … In Boca Raton, Lane Kiffin’s FAU Owls got in a few surprise plays against Navy before losing 42-19. The game didn’t end until 1:47 a.m. because of lightning delays. FAU is a 31 1/2-point underdog today at Wisconsin.