Ford, UMass look to rebound against Coastal

  • Ross Comis (2), UMass Quarterback, runs with the ball during a game against Hawaii at McGuirk Stadium on Saturday, August 26, 2017. FOR THE RECORDER/CAROLINE O'CONNOR

  • Running back, Marquis Young (8), hugs fellow teammate, Adam Breneman (81) before the start of a game against Hawaii at McGuirk Stadium on Saturday, August 26, 2017. FOR THE RECORDER/CAROLINE O'CONNOR

  • UMass quarterback Andrew Ford drops back to pass during the season-opening 38-35 loss to Hawaii Saturday at McGuirk Stadium in Amherst. FOR THE RECORDER/CAROLINE O'CONNOR

For The Recorder
Friday, September 01, 2017

CONWAY, S.C. — Andrew Ford wants another shot.

The UMass junior quarterback didn’t like the way his team finished in its 38-35 loss to Hawaii. He said he and the offense are eager for another opportunity to complete a pressure drive with the game on the line.

“That’s where quarterbacks build their legacy, in the two-minute drill. Having an opportunity Saturday to tie it or win the game there and not being able to get it done is frustrating for me personally,” he said. “There’s no more excuses. We just have to find a way to win games like that. Hopefully, that opportunity comes again and we’re able to deliver.”

He liked the way the team carried itself this week.

“Win or loss, 24 hours after you’re looking forward to the next week,” he said. “I really like the way the guys have come into the building the last couple of days ready to work.”

The Minutemen will play their first road game Saturday at Coastal Carolina, where the Chanticleers are playing their season opener and their first game as a Bowl Subdivision team.

CCU coach Jamey Chadwell said his team was eager to take the step.

“We’re looking forward to this opportunity. We know it’s a huge step up especially after watching them play last Saturday and the type of game that they played, it’s a completely different level. It’s going to take us playing a really good game of football for all 60 minutes for us to come out and win.”

Ford expected extra energy from the Chanticleers.

“Anytime you’re playing a team in their season opener, their home opener, especially a night game, you have to expect they’re going to come out flying,” he said. “We have to weather the storm for the first couple minutes and just play our game.”

Time & location: 7 p.m., Brooks Stadium

Records: UMass is 0-1, Coastal Carolina 0-0.

Last week: UMass lost to Hawaii, 38-35.

All-time series: First meeting.

TV/Internet: Streaming online at ESPN3

Radio: WHYN-AM 560.

When Coastal Carolina has the ball: The Chanticleers should have the element of surprise on their side early. CCU has a new offensive coordinator in Chadwell, the interim coach who is filling in for Joe Moglia (medical leave). Chadwell hasn’t announced who’ll be his starting quarterback yet.

“You’ll probably see multiple guys play early. We have in our mind what we want to do and who it’s going to be,” he said. “We’ll try to put in there whoever gives us the best chance to win the game.”

Chadwell admitted keeping UMass off balance was an advantage of not announcing his starter.

“They’ve got every video from the last two years of where I was at. They have a pretty good idea of what we’re going to do, just not who is doing it,” said the former Charleston Southern coach. “When we’re in pregame and we have about 12 quarterbacks warming up, they’re going to be watching pretty hard to see who it is.”

He’s only slightly exaggerating. CCU has eight quarterbacks, including Tyler Keane, who started seven games last year, and three transfers. Six appear on the depth chart with no indication of where anyone stands.

A year ago, CCU was run heavy with 587 rushing attempts vs. 211 passing attempts, and averaged 254.3 yards per game on the ground. But the top two running backs graduated. Senior tailback Osharmar Abercrombie leads CCU in rushing yards (396 in 2016) and name letters (19).

The Minutemen effectively held Hawaii to 112 yards on the ground last week.

For UMass, senior defensive lineman Sha-Ki Holines is officially a game-time decision.

When UMass has the ball: UMass struggled to get much going on the ground last week, averaging just 3.2 yards per rush on 35 carries (112 yards). Junior tailback Marquis Young enters the game needing 59 yards for 2,000 in his career. The Minutemen would benefit from a breakout day from him.

Senior tight end Adam Breneman needs 13 receiving yards to reach 1,000 at UMass. After Saturday’s nine-catch 179-yard effort, he’s likely to draw considerable defensive attention.

Linebacker Shane Johnson, who had 66 tackles in 10 games last year, leads the Chanticleer defense.