UMass holds off BYU to earn milestone victory

  • Marquis Young breaks through the line in the UMass football team’s 16-10 win over BYU, Nov. 18, 2017. JOE CAPRARO

  • Defensive lineman Leon Flanagan, who also had an interception, registers one of UMass’ seven sacks in its 16-10 win over BYU, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2018 in Provo, Utah. JOE CAPRARO

  • UMass cornerback Isaiah Rodgers battles to break up a pass in the Minutemen’s Nov. 18, 2017 win over BYU in Provo, Utah. JOE CAPRARO

Published: 11/18/2017 8:35:38 PM

UMass continued to put its 0-6 start in the rearview mirror and reached new heights in the process. The Minutemen jumped out to a big lead and held on to beat BYU, 16-10, Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah.

UMass has won four of its last five games. The four victories are the most the Minutemen have had in a season since becoming an FBS team in 2012. A year ago, BYU beat UMass, 51-9. The progress between the games wasn’t lost on coach Mark Whipple.

“To come here and go across the country, our guys battled,” said Whipple, who improved to 61-61 in two stints leading UMass. “It’s a big difference from 51-9. We were a little off on offense, but our defense kept making plays. We did what we had to do. I was really happy with our guys.”

Junior quarterback Andrew Ford fired a 40-yard touchdown pass to Andy Isabella and Logan Laurent kicked three field goals to stake UMass to its 16-0 lead. Rhett Almond got BYU on the board with a 40-yard field goal with 1:35 left in the third quarter and Joe Critchlow hit Matt Bushman with a 6-yard TD pass in the final minute.

There were quite a few players whose individual plays made the win possible right down to Malik Lee, who recovered BYU’s desperation onside kick that sealed the win.

“Everyone was biting their nails on the onside kick, but thankfully Malik Lee came up big with the recovery,” said linebacker Bryton Barr, who had two of UMass’ seven sacks and one of four interceptions. Leon Flanagan also had one of each.

Ford completed 21 of 35 throws for 230 yards. He had one touchdown and no interceptions. Isabella had seven catches for 84 yards.

“This is not an easy place to play with the elevation. It came down to the fourth quarter and we had to fight to the very end. I’m just really proud of these guys,” Ford said. “We played our best complementary football of the year. We played a solid 60-minute football game. I’m really happy for our guys.”

UMass (4-7) has a week off before facing FIU, Dec. 2 in Miami. The loss gives BYU nine losses for the third time in school history. The Cougars, who travel to Hawaii next week, have never lost 10 times in a season.

Material from the Associated Press and freelancer Joe Capraro was used in this story.

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

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