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UMass notebook: Record number of fans give Minutemen a boost

  • YOSHITAKA HAMADA<br/>Fans of University of Massachusetts Minutemen shows his excitement after the Minutemen scored a touchdown during the second half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.  The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30

    YOSHITAKA HAMADA
    Fans of University of Massachusetts Minutemen shows his excitement after the Minutemen scored a touchdown during the second half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30 Purchase photo reprints »

  • YOSHITAKA HAMADA<br/>The reflection of the field is seen before the start of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.  The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30

    YOSHITAKA HAMADA
    The reflection of the field is seen before the start of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30 Purchase photo reprints »

  • YOSHITAKA HAMADA<br/>University of Massachusetts Minutemen running back Jamal Wilson (6) catches the ball during the first half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.  The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30

    YOSHITAKA HAMADA
    University of Massachusetts Minutemen running back Jamal Wilson (6) catches the ball during the first half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30 Purchase photo reprints »

  • YOSHITAKA HAMADA<br/>University of Massachusetts Minutemen defensive back Trey Dudley-Giles (9) tries to tackle Boston College Eagles running back Myles Willis (23) during the first half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.  The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30

    YOSHITAKA HAMADA
    University of Massachusetts Minutemen defensive back Trey Dudley-Giles (9) tries to tackle Boston College Eagles running back Myles Willis (23) during the first half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30 Purchase photo reprints »

  • YOSHITAKA HAMADA<br/>University of Massachusetts Minutemen running back J.T. Blyden (23) runs the ball on the field during the first half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.  The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30

    YOSHITAKA HAMADA
    University of Massachusetts Minutemen running back J.T. Blyden (23) runs the ball on the field during the first half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30 Purchase photo reprints »

  • YOSHITAKA HAMADA<br/>University of Massachusetts Minutemen Randall Jette (4) intercepts the ball as defensive back Trey Dudley-Giles (9) runs in front of Jette during the first half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.  The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30

    YOSHITAKA HAMADA
    University of Massachusetts Minutemen Randall Jette (4) intercepts the ball as defensive back Trey Dudley-Giles (9) runs in front of Jette during the first half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30 Purchase photo reprints »

  • YOSHITAKA HAMADA<br/>University of Massachusetts Minutemen head coach Mark Whipple, second left, stands on side-line during the second half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.  The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30.

    YOSHITAKA HAMADA
    University of Massachusetts Minutemen head coach Mark Whipple, second left, stands on side-line during the second half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30. Purchase photo reprints »

  • YOSHITAKA HAMADA<br/>Fans react to the game during the second half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.  The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30

    YOSHITAKA HAMADA
    Fans react to the game during the second half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30 Purchase photo reprints »

  • YOSHITAKA HAMADA<br/>University of Massachusetts Minutemen head coach Mark Whipple, left, stands on side line as the defensive coordinator Tom Masella, right, yells to the players during the second half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.  The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30

    YOSHITAKA HAMADA
    University of Massachusetts Minutemen head coach Mark Whipple, left, stands on side line as the defensive coordinator Tom Masella, right, yells to the players during the second half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30 Purchase photo reprints »

  • YOSHITAKA HAMADA<br/>Fans of University of Massachusetts Minutemen shows his excitement after the Minutemen scored a touchdown during the second half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.  The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30
  • YOSHITAKA HAMADA<br/>The reflection of the field is seen before the start of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.  The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30
  • YOSHITAKA HAMADA<br/>University of Massachusetts Minutemen running back Jamal Wilson (6) catches the ball during the first half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.  The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30
  • YOSHITAKA HAMADA<br/>University of Massachusetts Minutemen defensive back Trey Dudley-Giles (9) tries to tackle Boston College Eagles running back Myles Willis (23) during the first half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.  The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30
  • YOSHITAKA HAMADA<br/>University of Massachusetts Minutemen running back J.T. Blyden (23) runs the ball on the field during the first half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.  The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30
  • YOSHITAKA HAMADA<br/>University of Massachusetts Minutemen Randall Jette (4) intercepts the ball as defensive back Trey Dudley-Giles (9) runs in front of Jette during the first half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.  The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30
  • YOSHITAKA HAMADA<br/>University of Massachusetts Minutemen head coach Mark Whipple, second left, stands on side-line during the second half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.  The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30.
  • YOSHITAKA HAMADA<br/>Fans react to the game during the second half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.  The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30
  • YOSHITAKA HAMADA<br/>University of Massachusetts Minutemen head coach Mark Whipple, left, stands on side line as the defensive coordinator Tom Masella, right, yells to the players during the second half of the Saturday afternoon college football action against Boston College Eagles at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.  The University of Massachusetts Minutemen fell to Boston College Eagles, 7-30

Good weather and a local opponent produced the draw UMass had hoped for as the 30,479 fans were the most ever to see a Minuteman home game.

The parking lots near the stadium were overflowing with different shades of maroon, a signature color of both programs. Flags with each team’s logo were interspersed above the tailgates.

A troop of 1,500 UMass incoming freshman fans all wearing maroon T-shirts were part of the team’s run-onto-the-field ceremony, while a similar number of BC students all in gold T’s filled a section beneath Gillette Stadium’s landmark lighthouse.

The crowd gives UMass a big boost toward avoiding attendance related probation. NCAA rules require a school to average 15,000 fans in at least one season in every two-year cycle, a quota reached by UMass last year for its first two years.

If the Minutemen average 11,903 over the five remaining home games, they’re clear through 2015.

BLYDEN BRIGHT SPOT — In UMass’ depth chart coming into the game, junior Jamal Wilson was listed as the No. 1 running back and sophomore Lorenzo Woodley was No. 2. But after Wilson (six carries, 24 yards) struggled early Whipple turned to true freshman J.T. Blyden, who led the Minutemen with nine carries, 43 yards. Woodley didn’t play until the final UMass drive when Whipple had removed many of his regulars in the 30-7 loss.

“J.T. Blyden showed he could play at this level,” Whipple said.

Junior quarterback Blake Frohnapfel was more effusive in his praise.

“A young guy like that. You hand him the ball and sit there and watch as he makes plays with his feet is something you really like to see,” Frohnapfel said. “He’s someone who is 18 years old and you can trust him a big game like that. We’ll be using him heavily in the future.”

Blyden was one of several Minutemen to make their collegiate debuts. Sha-Ki Holiness (defensive tackle), Alex Kenney (wide receiver), Josh Bruns (offensive line) and Jackson Porter (cornerback) all started, while Jalen Williams (receiver) Jesse Montiero (defensive back), Austin Whipple (QB), Lucas Amato (linebacker), Da’Sean Downey (linebacker) Daquan Mack (fullback), Nick Berus (long snapper), Brian McDonald (punter) and Jon Denton (tight end) all saw action for the first time.

LONG TIME SINCE LONG PLAY — UMass’ 77-yard TD pass from Frohnapfel to Tajae Sharpe was the first pass play of at least 70 yards since Oct. 25, 2008 when Liam Coen hit Matt Silver for an 80-yard TD pass.

CUT DOWN DAY — While the current Minutemen struggled on the field, the former ones struggled on NFL cut-down day Saturday. Michael Cox and Julian Talley were cut by the New York Giants. Rob Blanchflower, whose bid to make the Steelers was hampered by an early camp injury, was cut. Emil Igwenagu was cut for the second time this preseason as the Lions, who picked himm up after the Eagles let him go, also cut him.

Vlad Ducasse was the only Minuteman on the bubble to survive as he made the Vikings’ 53-man roster.

Igwenagu, Cox, Talley and Blanchflower were all signed Sunday to the practice squads by the teams that cut them.

NEXT UP — UMass will face an angry Colorado squad, Saturday at 3 p.m. at Gillette. After leading 10-7 at halftime, the Buffaloes were outscored 24-7 in the second half and fell to Colorado State, Friday night.

MISCELLANEOUS — UMass has yet to name permanent captains but Stanley Andre, Randall Jette, Sharpe and Frohnapfel represented the Minutemen at opening coin toss.... When the UMass starters came out in the fourth quarter, it was Austin Whipple not A.J. Doyle who took over at quarterback. ... UMass radio play-by-play voice Josh Maurer, who is also the Pawtucket Red Sox radio announcer, left the game immediately after the postgame show to call the end of the PawSox game.

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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FOXBOROUGH — After a lot of first-half bending, the UMass football team finally broke in the second half. Boston College owned the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and systematically ground down the Minutemen, who lost the first game of the second Mark Whipple era, 30-7, Saturday at Gillette Stadium. The UMass offense couldn’t stay on the …

Legacy Comments1

Wrong on the facts, Matt. There were about 3000 MORE people at the UMass-UNH game at Gillette several years back, when UMass was still in the FCS. Millions spent to get us to Division I and we can't break the old record, even with full-page ads in the Globe and a local, bigger-name opponent.

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