UMass running back Jamal Wilson likely done for the year

Last modified: Monday, October 06, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — On top of the frustrating 34-31 loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday, the UMass football team appears to have lost leading rusher Jamal Wilson for the season.

Wilson suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter and had to be taken off the field on a cart for X-rays. After the game, Minuteman coach Mark Whipple said Wilson’s ankle was broken. “I think he’s done for the year,” Whipple said.

A further complication was that true freshman J.T. Blyden was not healthy enough to play with an undisclosed injury. Whipple expressed frustration because Blyden missed a rehab appointment. “There’s a guy that doesn’t show up for treatments. He’s hurt and doesn’t show up so he’s not going to get any better,” Whipple said.

Sophomore Lorenzo Woodley took over as the top back for UMass and had a second-quarter fumble that bounced into the end zone which the Commodores recovered for a touchdown. But Whipple stuck with him.

“There was a guy who was in my doghouse earlier in the year. (Running backs coach) Marcel (Shipp) did a good job with him,” Whipple said. “I gave him a little hug. He probably expected me to (berate) him. He responded.”

Woodley carried for 43 yards on 22 carries, with two touchdowns and two catches for 41 yards.

Jordan Broadnax, who missed all of last season, had his first carries since 2012 and rushed three times for 14 yards.

KICKING COMPETITION REOPENED — True freshman Matthew Wylie took over kickoff chores for the Minutemen from Blake Lucas on Saturday. But after Lucas badly missed a field goal that would have sent the game to overtime, Whipple admitted he had lost faith in his starter.

“I can’t say I have much confidence now. I’d be lying and I’m not a liar,” Whipple said. Wylie “practiced pretty well this week. We had to use him on some kickoffs. We’ll look at it in practice.”

ENDING TOUCHDOWN DROUGHTS – Vanderbilt’s second-quarter touchdown was its first offensive TD since Jan. 4 in the Compass Bowl.

UMass punter Brian McDonald’s last touchdown pass was Oct. 15, 2011, when he was the quarterback for Fitchburg State against Mass Maritime. He completed a 53-yard pass off a fake punt to Rodney Mills in the first quarter Saturday.

TACKLE LEADERS —Jovan Santos-Knox and Joey Colton, who both entered the game among the nation’s top 20 tacklers, made 15 and 12, respectively, for the Minutemen. Colton added a sack.

SMITH EJECTED – UMass defensive back Khary Bailey-Smith was ejected for targeting (leading a tackle with a helmet) on the Commodores’ last drive of the second half.

VANDY QBs — After not naming a starting quarterback until an hour before kickoff, Vanderbilt chose to burn true freshman Wade Freebeck’s redshirt by starting him. But Freebeck looked shaky, completing one of two passes with the other intercepted. Coach Derek Mason benched him quickly in favor of Patton Robinette.

MISCELLANEOUS – Besides Wylie, offensive lineman Ryan Johnson, a junior college transfer, and true freshmen Zeke Edmonds, a safety, and Lukas Kolter, an offensive lineman, made their Minuteman debuts. ... Woodley and Mills both had their first career two-touchdown games. ... Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy was among the 33,386 in attendance.

Matt Vautour can be reached at Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at


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