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Punter Colter Johnson gets first weekly MAC award for UMass football

Johnson was the first Minuteman to earn a Mid-American Conference weekly honor, taking home MAC East Special Teams Player of the Week.

“That’s a great thing to happen for me,” Johnson said. “I’ve had great honors before but nothing that high.”

Johnson earned the honor for his six-punt day in UMass’ first win of the season, 22-14 over Akron Saturday. He averaged 44.8 yards per kick and four of the six landed inside the Akron 10-yard line. Two kicks were downed at the Akron 1-yard line in the second half.

“A lot of teammates came up to me and said I was most of the reason we won because of great field position,” said the junior punter, who deflected the attention. “The defense had a great game and Blake Lucas scored 10 points out of our 22.”

The game’s location in eastern Ohio added to the experience.

“It was a three-hour trip from my home in Warren, Pennsylvania. So a lot of family members and close friends got to make it out,” Johnson said. “The game I had Saturday was my best so far this year. I’ve got two more. I can only improve now.”

Johnson is second in the MAC averaging 43.5 yards per punt, just 0.1 behind Eastern Michigan’s Jay Karutz.

A POPULAR GUY — UMass coach Charley Molnar said winning increased the number of messages in his inboxes.

“I got a lot of messages, phone calls, emails, text messages. I forgot I had so many people out there rooting for me,” he said. “During the dark period I didn’t get many text messages after games. It was really nice. I got them from all sorts of people. Guys I haven’t heard from in a long, long time. How they got my phone number, I have no idea, but it was nice.”

He said the team had put celebrating behind them.

“Once we get to practice and lifting weights, it’ll be behind them,” Molnar said Monday. “We worked fairly hard today. Certainly we’ll pick up the intensity and the tempo (Tuesday) and it’ll all be gone. They can think about it in the winter if they choose too, but right now our focus is on Buffalo.”

HEALTH — Winning is apparently also good for UMass’ health.

“I think we’re as a good as we’ve ever been coming out of a football game,” Molnar said. “By game time, everybody that played Saturday should be good to go.”

Jamie Casselberry (concussion), who didn’t make the trip to Akron, practiced at full speed, as did Iric Harris (leg).

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

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