UMass Football Notebook: Tight end Breneman plays, held in check by Monarchs

  • UMass teammates Andy Isabella, right, and Jessie Britt celebrate Isabella’s touchdown during a 17-7 football loss to Old Dominion Saturday at McGuirk Stadium in Amherst. For the Recorder/JERREY ROBERTS

For The Recorder
Sunday, September 10, 2017

AMHERST — After a week of uncertainty, UMass senior tight end Adam Breneman did play Saturday in the Minutemen’s 17-7 loss to Old Dominion, but the Monarchs kept him in check.

Breneman suffered an ankle injury in the third quarter of the Coastal Carolina loss and didn’t return. He had just three catches for 18 yards against the Monarchs.

UMass coach Mark Whipple said Breneman didn’t practice all week and the uncertainty around his availability limited how much he built into the game plan.

“He didn’t practice all week. We weren’t sure and game-planned that way,” Whipple said.

Breneman is still averaging over 100 yards per game with 21 catches for 323 yards. Kyle Horn had the only other catch by a tight end.

Sha-Ki Holines, whose status was also questionable, didn’t play. Neither did ODU running back Ray Lawry.

DOWNEY RETURNS — Senior Da’Sean Downey, who missed last week’s game for a team rules violation, was not only back, but named one of the team’s game captains. He had a sack on Old Dominion’s first drive and finished the game with eight tackles.

NO TAKEAWAYS — While UMass coach Mark Whipple praised his team’s defensive performance, he lamented its lack of takeaways. The Minutemen haven’t produced one since Isaiah Rodgers’ first-quarter interception against Hawaii.

“It’s been 11 quarters without a takeaway. That’s the longest I’ve ever seen,” he said.

In the third quarter, UMass thought it had recovered a Germonta Jackson fumble, but the referees rules his knee was down on ODU’s 31. Whipple wanted a replay but said he was told there was a technical problem and no replay was available. It was eventually fixed. Replay was used to determine whether a subsequent hit late in the game was a targeting call.

MILESTONES — Senior defensive tackle Ali Ali-Musa had a career-high 15 tackles. True freshman Jake Byczko had 10 tackles. Logan Laurent’s 60-yard punt was a career high.

NOTES — Rodgers suffered a leg injury in the second quarter and had to be helped off the field. He returned in the second half. Junior quarterback Ross Comis, who had played in one series in each of the first two games, directed two against ODU. He completed one pass for 17 yards and ran for 11 yards on two carries.

UMass has scored touchdowns on the first drive of the second half in all three games this season.

Despite the return of the students, there were 9,028 fans in attendance.