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UMass football to play UConn, Rhode Island in 2016

The first month of the 2016 football season is shaping up to be a rivalry month for UMass.

The school is expected to announce shortly that the Minutemen will host games against UConn and Rhode Island at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, according to contracts between UMass and Gillette Stadium.

After opening the 2016 season at perennial national powerhouse Florida of the Southeastern Conference, UMass will host the Huskies on Sept. 10, travel to Boston College on Sept. 17, then host Rhode Island on Sept. 24. Kickoff times will be announced at a later date.

A UMass source said the UConn game is part of a larger series that includes at least one game at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. Additional details were unavailable.

This will be UMass’ second meeting with its longtime Yankee Conference rival since upgrading to the Bowl Subdivision in 2012. The Huskies defeated the Minutemen 37-0 on Aug. 30, 2012, UMass’ first game in the FBS. That game was scheduled before its upgrade had been announced.

The Minutemen lead the all-time series 36-34-2.

The Rhode Island game will be UMass’ second against an Championship Subdivision team since it’s upgrade. The Minutemen lost to Maine in 2013. UMass leads the all-time series with the Rams, their most common rival, 48-36-2.

UMass’ conference affiliation with the Mid-American Conference ends after 2015. It is currently searching for a new league, but athletic director John McCutcheon acknowledged earlier this month that the Minutemen could spend time as an independent if an opening wasn’t found in time. If UMass finds a conference for 2016, its nonconference slate is complete for that season. If not, then four of the 12 games have been filled.

The Minutemen’s other future nonconference opponents include:

2015 — Sept. 12 at Colorado; Sept. 19 vs. Temple; Sept. 26 at Notre Dame; Oct. 3 vs. Florida International.

2017 — Sept. 16 at Temple; Sept. 23 at Indiana.

2018 — Sept. 1 at Boston College; Sept. 8 vs. Vanderbilt; Sept. 15 at Florida International.

2019 — Date TBA at Colorado.

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

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