×

UMass seniors prepare for final football game as Minutemen take on Buffalo Friday



Last modified: Tuesday, December 02, 2014
AMHERST — Stanley Andre is not a crier by nature, but he admitted a tear or two could sneak out when he’s honored as part of senior day before his final career home game vs. Buffalo, Friday at 1 p.m. (McGuirk Stadium.

Andre has been around. He played as a true freshman for Kevin Morris in 2011, for Charley Molar in 2012 and 2013 and Whipple this year. He’s played for five different defensive coordinators over the same stretch.

“It’s weird. It’s all coming to an end now. It’s really emotional. You never know if you’d play football again,” said Andre, who’ll attempt to make the NFL. “Our season was really up and down but I really enjoyed this team and being with my teammates.”

Andre felt like he was part of the foundation for future Minuteman success.

“UMass is on the rise with the addition of Whipple and the great offense play and the aggressive defense,” said Andre, who is fourth in the Mid-American Conference with 111 tackles. “I think they’re going to be good in the future.

Andre will be one of three players graduating who spent his entire career at UMass along with defensive lineman Daniel Maynes and defensive back Quayshun Smith. Maynes, a former walk-on has started the last 10 games of the season and will be at nose tackle Friday. Smith started a game at defensive back as a freshman when UMass was still an Championship Subdivision program. But he became more of a special teams players as his career progressed and UMass moved to the Bowl Subdivision.

Graduate transfers Alex Kenney and Brian McDonald will leave after one year with the Minutemen. Kenney, a wide receiver, started five games and caught eight passes for 174 yards and one touchdown. McDonald, who was previously at three other schools has been UMass’ starting punter all season and threw a touchdown pass on a trick play at Vanderbilt.

Time & location: 1 p.m., McGuirk Stadium

Records: UMass is 3-8 (3-4 MAC). Buffalo (4-6, 2-4 MAC)

Last week: UMass fell to Akron 30-6; Buffalo’s game with Kent State was cancelled.

All-time series: Buffalo leads 6-4.

Last meeting: Buffalo 32-3 last year.

TV/Internet: ESPN3 Links can be found at umassathletics.com

Radio: WWEI-FM (105.5)

When Buffalo has the ball: If not for Frohnapfel’s injury, this would have been a battle between two of the league’s top quarterbacks. Bull QB Joe Licatta leads the MAC with 25 touchdown passes. He averaged 239.2 passing yards per game.

Junior Anthone Taylor is one of the MAC’s top running backs. He’s averaging 116.5 yards per game so far this season and is one of five MAC backs to have already cleared 1,000 yards.

The Bulls are fourth in the MAC in scoring at 31.4 ppg.

When UMass has the ball: Redshirt freshman Austin Whipple played better at quarterback in the second half of last week’s loss to Akron, but by then UMass was deep enough in the whole that it made it hard to notice. Buffalo’s defense isn’t as good as Akron, but Austin Whipple will need to play better to help the Minutemen to be successful.

“We need a team effort. We’re not going to throw for 450 yards,” Mark Whipple said.

Running backs Shadrach Abrokwah and Lorenzo Woodley, who were both bottled up last week. If they can gain some ground it should take some of the pressure off of Austin Whipple and the passing game.

Buffalo senior linebacker Lee Skinner leads the Bulls in tackling with 8.7 per game.

Junior receiver Tajae Sharpe enters the game needing a single catch to control second place on UMass’ single-season reception list by himself. He currently has 81 and needs 11 to catch No. 1 Jimmy Moore. Senior defensive back Adam Spencer leads UB with five staff

Only Eastern Michigan allows more points than the Bulls, who have given up 32.6 points per game.

It’ll be interesting to see if Mark Whipple tries to run any additional plays for Kenney, who is playing in his last collegiate game.

NOTES — This game creates a battle of struggling kickers as the team’s have combined to go 12-for-24 on field goals. Junior Blake Lucas, who lost his job earlier this year, regained the spot for Friday’s game.

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