UMass Notebook: Battered Ford’s status uncertain for immediate future

  • Tennessee Volunteers linebacker Elliott Berry (41) sacks UMass QB Andrew Ford (7) during Saturday’s 17-13 UMass loss in Tennessee. ap photo

For The Recorder
Sunday, September 24, 2017

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Any optimism UMass might have from staying with an SEC opponent on the road will likely be tempered until the status of its injured players is determined.

Quarterback Andrew Ford had been sacked a nation-high 23 times entering Saturday’s game, and the fifth one he absorbed against Tennessee sidelined him in the third quarter. UMass didn’t have an official injury assessment, but he was without his helmet at the end of the game. It’s protocol for medical staff to take a player’s helmet if there are concussion concerns.

“We’ll follow it up during the week,” UMass coach Mark Whipple said after the 17-13 loss.

Sophomore right tackle Jack Driscoll wasn’t on the field at the end either. It’s unclear when his undisclosed injury occurred. Corner Lee Moses had to be helped up after holding his leg. He was replaced by Jackson Porter.

Tight end Adam Breneman, who is battling a re-aggravated ankle injury, was questionable all week. The senior made the trip but didn’t dress.

UMass has three weeks off in a row after Saturday’s game against Ohio.

KICKING — Michael Schreiner’s field goal woes have been well publicized. The redshirt freshman kicker missed all four attempts this season, including three in last week’s loss at Temple.

He’d been perfect on extra points until Saturday. After he missed a second quarter PAT that would have tied the game at 7-7, Whipple turned place-kicking duties over to punter Logan Laurent.

The senior has kicked field goals and extra points before, but an undisclosed injury prevented him from doing so this year until Saturday.

“They probably would have put me in an insanity asylum if I didn’t make that change,” Whipple said. “There wasn’t much of a decision to make.

TURNOVER STREAK OVER — On third-and-2 with 7:54 left in the first quarter, Jesse Monteiro hit UT quarterback Quinten Dormady, who fumbled the ball. Tyler Hayes recovered for UMass ending a 15-quarter streak without a takeaway dating back to Isaiah Rodgers’ interception in the first quarter against Hawaii.

SPREADING THE BALL AROUND — With Breneman out, eight UMass players caught passes, including Jyvon “Silky” Brown, who made a 7-yard catch for his first career reception. Andy Isabella led UMass with three catches for 46 yards.

CROWD — The crowd of 95,324 was low by Tennessee standards as Neyland Stadium holds 102,455. It was still the fourth largest audience ever to see UMass play behind two games at Michigan and one at Penn State.

MISCELLANEOUS — Former ESPN personality Chris Berman, a longtime friend and Brown classmate of Whipple’s, traveled to Tennessee with UMass and watched the game from the sideline.

The Minutemen (0-5) have kicked off to start all five games.