Minutemen lose both starting running backs to injuries

  • UMass tight end Adam Breneman, center, catches a pass in the end zone for a touchdown as Mathias McKinnon of Wagner applies the late tackle in the first quarter Saturday at McGuirk Alumni Stadium. UMass won 34-10. J. ANTHONY ROBERTS

Saturday, October 29, 2016

AMHERST — UMass lost its starting offensive backfield in the first quarter of Saturday’s 34-10 win over Wagner, as tailback Marquis Young and fullback John Robinson-Woodgett both had to be helped off the field.

But the Minutemen appear to have dodged a bullet long term. UMass coach Mark Whipple said neither injury was serious.

Marquis “probably could have come back in the second half, but we stayed with Sekai (Lindsay) and Bilal (Ally) to get those guys some reps. John Robinson came out but he should be fine.”

Lindsay led the Minutemen with 58 yards on 10 carries, while Ally had 51 yards on six rushes. Malik Lee, who replaced Robinson-Woodgett, had two carries. He gained a yard on one and lost a yard on the other.

Tedrick Lowery and Da’Sean Downey both missed the game with undisclosed injuries.

Sophomore quarterback Ross Comis and junior linebacker Shane Huber each had surgery Friday.

RODGERS INTERCEPTION – Whipple has been predicting for weeks that true freshman Isaiah Rodgers would get his first career interception shortly. The cornerback made a prophet out of his coach in the third quarter.

“It felt real good. I have to give a lot of credit to the D-line,” said Rodgers, who led UMass with nine tackles. “They forced the quarterback to throw the ball up.”

SENIOR DAY – The Minutemen broke a seven-year senior day drought win the win.

“Those guys meant a lot to this program,” junior tight end Adam Breneman said. “It was the first time in a long time that UMass had a winning record at McGuirk. To end the season on a win for those seniors, it was good to send those guys out on a high note.”

FIELD GOALS/PUNTING – Logan Laurent  made both his field-goal tries. UMass kickers were one for five this season on field goals entering the game.

Laurent’s 58-yard punt in the third quarter matched his season and career long. He also had a 58-yarder against Tulane Oct. 1.

UMASS BAND ROSE-BOWL BOUND – The UMass Minuteman Marching Band will participate in the 2018 Rose Bowl. The band learned of the trip during a surprise halftime video.

“We’re just thrilled,” band director Timothy Anderson said in a university statement. “This will be the first time the band has played in California.”

“This is a fantastic compliment to the band,” Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy in the same statement. “It’s a great opportunity for all UMass alumni to make a trip to the Rose Bowl and cheer our band on.”

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