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Notebook: RB Marquis Young breaks through in loss for UMass

  • Massachusetts wide receiver Jalen Williams (80) drops a pass near the end zone against South Carolina defensive back Rashad Fenton (16) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina defeated Massachusetts 34-28. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

  • Massachusetts head coach Mark Whipple, right, talks with quarterback Andrew Ford (7) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina defeated Massachusetts 34-28. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

  • Massachusetts tight end Adam Breneman (81) makes a catch during the second half of an NCAA college football game against South Carolina Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina defeated Massachusetts 34-28. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

  • Massachusetts running back Marquis Young (8) runs the ball against South Carolina defensive back Chris Lammons (3) and defensive lineman Kobe Smith (97) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina defeated Massachusetts 34-28. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)



@MattVautourDHG
Saturday, October 22, 2016

COLUMBIA, S.C. – On Wednesday, UMass coach Mark Whipple said it was 50-50 whether an undisclosed injury would prevent Marquis Young from playing.

In the Minutemen’s 34-28 loss to South Carolina, the sophomore back didn’t look like a player straddling the line of healthy enough. He delivered his third game over 100 yards this season with 123 on 28 carries.

“He’s our heart and soul in the backfield,” quarterback Andrew Ford said. “Hearing he was going to play was a boost to all of us for sure.”

Whipple said plays where he didn’t carry the ball weren’t as good.

“He didn’t practice. He did all right,” Whipple said. “He was bad on protections, which kind of caused some problems.”

 Young has 667 yards this season, raising his average to 83.4 per game. If he matches that average for the remainder of the season he’ll finish with exactly 1,000 yards.

KICKER QUESTIONS – UMass’ season-long kicking problems don’t appear to be going away. The Minutemen have just one field goal in five tries this season after Logan Laurent missed a 32-yard try in the third quarter. He’s 1-for-3 this season, while Mike Caggiano missed both of his tries.

Caggiano, who remained perfect on extra points (19-for-19), also sent a kickoff out of bounds for a 10-yard penalty.

“Logan (Laurent) was as good as I’ve ever seen him this week. At practice he was healthy, he was as good as I ever saw him. But then he gets out there, does what Mike did, just kind of soft shoe it,” Whipple said referencing Caggiano’s miss last week. “ (Logan) will be our guy next week.”

BIG PLAY WILLIAMS – Because he’s been battling an injury, senior receiver Jalen Williams has been used sparingly this season. The few catches he has have been big ones. He had one catch for 74 yards Saturday, giving him nine receptions for 211 yards this season, an average of 23.44 yards per reception. Four of his nine grabs have gone for touchdowns.

UMASS VS. SEC – Saturday’s loss brought UMass’ record to 0-3 this season against the Southeastern Conference. It lost to Florida, Mississippi State and South Carolina.

Since upgrading to the Bowl Subdivision in 2012, UMass is 0-6 against the nation’s strongest conference with three losses to Vanderbilt in addition to this year’s defeats.

UMass is 0-12 against teams in Power 5 conferences (and Notre Dame) over the same period.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage