Ford has edge in QB battle

  • Andrew Ford (7), UMass Quarterback, about to throw the ball during a 38-35 loss to Hawaii at McGuirk Stadium in Amherst Saturday. He completed 21 of 30 passes for 275 yards, two TDs and an interception. FOR THE RECORDER/CAROLINE O'CONNOR

For The Recorder
Sunday, August 27, 2017

If Saturday was any indication, Andrew Ford is UMass’ No. 1 quarterback, but there’s a role for Ross Comis.

Heading into the matchup with Hawaii, a 38-35 Minuteman loss, UMass coach Mark Whipple said he had two starting-caliber QBs and that both would play. He didn’t indicate what the breakdown of snaps would be.

Ford led UMass for 12 of its 13 drives, completing 21 of 30 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns. He threw an interception on UMass’ second offensive play of the game, but his throw caromed off of Andy Isabella’s hands before caroming to the Warriors.

He was sacked four times.

Comis came in with 6:29 left in the second quarter. He was 1-for-4 passing for 23 yards and ran twice for 15 yards. Playing 10 plays, his effectiveness was blunted by penalties around him.

“That was the plan. Ross got in there and did a good job. Ross moved it pretty good,” Whipple said.

OPENER WOES — UMass has now dropped six straight opening games. It’s last Game 1 win was against Holy Cross in 2011. Hawaii snapped its 13-game nonconference road losing streak.

BRENEMAN MILESTONES — Adam Breneman’s 179 yards receiving was the third most ever for a Minuteman tight end. He now had 1,173 career yards, including 987 at UMass and 186 at Penn State.

BARR, SCHREINER HIGHLIGHT UMASS DEBUTS — Fifteen UMass players made their Minuteman debuts. Linebacker Bryton Barr, a junior transfer from Towson had a team-high 13 tackles, including a sack.

Redshirt freshman kicker Michael Schreiner handled kickoffs and extra points in his first collegiate game. He didn’t attempt a field goal, but made all five extra points.

“Schreiner was fine. He was the one freshman who did a good job,” Whipple said. “I was happy with him.”

True freshman Jesse Britt started at receiver and didn’t have a catch. Jyvon Brown, Jake Byczko, Brennon Dingle, Tyris Lebeau, Chinedu Ogbonna, Kyle Horn, Charly Timite and Avien Peah also saw action as freshmen.

Transfers Jake Froelich, Tyler Hayes and Jacoby Herring also played in UMass uniforms for the first time.

MISCELLANEOUS — Malik Lee’s touchdown catch was the first of his career. Hawaii’s Chris Posa was disqualified for his second personal foul of the game.

The crowd was 12,145, not including students.