– University of Massachusetts football opened with 21 unanswered points, never looked back and finished with 572 total yards of offense as the Minutemen opened the 2018 season with a 63-15 victory over Duquesne at McGuirk Alumni Stadium on Saturday. The total offense figure set a FBS-era program record for a season opener, which previously stood at 413 yards against Hawaii on Aug. 26, 2017.
The 63 total points for the Maroon and White also established a FBS team best and marked the first time Massachusetts surpassed 60 points in a single game since it claimed a 62-20 win over Connecticut on Nov. 20, 1999 at McGuirk Alumni Stadium.
Redshirt senior quarterback Andrew Ford
led the passing game with a 13-for-19 showing including two touchdowns, while classmate Ross Comis
added a pair of touchdowns in the air as well. Senior Andy Isabella
reeled in five catches for 131 yards plus two scores. Junior Bilal Ally
and senior Marquis Young
highlighted the action on the ground as the duo combined for 24 carries, 199 yards and two of Massachusetts' four rushing touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball sophomore Jake Byczko
had a team-high seven tackles, followed by five different Minutemen with five stops apiece. In his UMass debut, graduate student Brice McAllister
had two interceptions, including a 60-yard pick-six, and forced a fumble.
The Minutemen needed little time to find the scoreboard. On Duquesne's opening series, junior Bakhari Goodson
intercepted Duquesne quarterback Daniel Parr, which set up Ford to find redshirt sophomore Brennon Dingle
for a 32-yard strike on the first play of that drive. That lead quickly swelled to 14-0 when Comis connected with Isabella for a 60-yard strike down the right sideline.
Then, with 6:20 remaining in the opening quarter, Ally punched home a one-yard score up the middle immediately following a 66-yard run down the Duquesne sideline. Ally nearly found the house on the initial scamper, but was tripped up by Reid Harrison-Ducros before coming down just short of the goal line. That would turn out to be all the scoring UMass would need.
Isabella and Young went on to add rushing touchdowns in the second quarter before Duquesne quarterback Daniel Parr connected with Nehari Crawford for a late score, sending the teams into halftime with the score at 35-9.
UMass would once again muster 21 unanswered points in the third quarter on the strength of touchdowns from Isabella, McAllister and Comis. The scoring for the night wrapped up with redshirt freshman Zak Simon's
first collegiate touchdown, which came with 7:42 left in the game.
Parr completed 16 of his 29 passes for the Dukes, finishing with 123 yards and three interceptions. A.J. Hines rushed nine times for 57 yards and Crawford had five catches for 59 yards. Defensively, Spencer DeMedal turned in 10 tackles.
The Minutemen are next in action on Sat., Sept. 1 at in-state foe Boston College. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. from Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, in a game that will be televised on the ACC Network Extra.
For the latest news and updates around UMass football, follow the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@UMassFootball).
UMass vs. Duquesne Postgame Notes
• Massachusetts produced the most points in the team's FBS era (2012-present) with the 63 produced against the Duquesne defense. It was the highest total scored in one game since the team's record-setting 77-0 victory over Northeastern on Oct. 9, 1999.
• Bilal Ally's 109 rushing yards marked the junior's second career game with 100 or more rushing yards. He averaged 12.1 yards per carry as he recordedn his 109 yards on only nine carries.
• Ally's efforts led a dominant run game as Massachusetts averaged 7.2 yards per carry. Marquis Young contributed 90 via 15 carries (6.0 ypr) while Comis followed with 49 on two attempts (24.5 ypr).
• Andy Isabella posted his seventh career game with 100 or more receiving yards as Isabella led all receivers in the game with 131 yards and two touchdowns on five catches.
• Andrew Ford threw his 49th and 50th touchdown passes of his UMass football career against Duquesne. It vaulted Ford into rare record book air as one of only three all-time UMass quarterbacks with 50 or more touchdown passes, alongside Liam Coen (91) and Todd Bankhead (51).
• Brice McAllister recorded two interceptions, including one returned 60 yards for a touchdown, and forced a fumble during his first game as a Minuteman following four seasons at Connecticut. McAllister also had three tackles in the game, including an eight-yard TFL.
• As a whole, the defense limited Duquesne to 253 total yards of offense, an average of only 3.8 per play. Duquesne was also only 7-of-18 on third down conversions (.389)
• Massachusetts played and won the first college football game of the 2018 season.
Quote of the Win: Brice McAllister, Redshirt Senior Safety
• On how the interception returned for a touchdown developed through his eyes:
"'X' (Xavier Steele), did a good job selling that he was matched up and then he blitzed, so the quarterback thought his receiver was wide open and then I just stepped right in front of it. After that, I just needed to make sure I didn't get caught and luckily Chinedu [Ogbonna] threw a great block and made it easy for me."