The Amherst Bulletin, the newspaper in the city where the main campus of the University of Massachusetts is located, isn’t exactly full to the brim with bulletin board material the BYU football team can use to get pumped up about this weekend’s game.
The Cougars will have to rely on back-to-back disappointing defeats to Northern Illinois and Boise State along with the bitter memories of a loss to the Minutemen last year in Provo for intrinsic motivation.
Though there’s still plenty of time before Saturday morning’s kickoff at Gillette Stadium for the Bulletin to print some juicy stuff, the paper is currently promoting stories about a loving teacher, a peaceful World Series celebration by UMass students, the possibility of the iconic Merry Maple tree getting the ax, and the untimely demise of three cows.
The campus paper, the Daily Collegian, is the only New England publication that has touched on the BYU-UMass showdown so far this week.
“They’re strong and physical and a lot of guys played a lot of football for them,” UMass coach Mark Whipple told the college paper about BYU. “They play hard and got a really, really good team. They’re a really, really talented group and mature so we got a huge test ahead of us.”
UMass is coming off of a thrilling win over Liberty in which senior wide receiver Andy Isabella hauled in a school-record 303 receiving yards. Isabella had a 40-yard TD catch in his team’s 16-10 win over BYU last season. Also against Liberty, senior quarterback Ross Comis passed for 540 yards and four touchdowns.
“We’re (in) pretty high spirits, a lot of momentum coming off two wins in a row,” Comis said. “We’re pretty excited but it’s kind of just a thing where we have to go onto the next one. (We have) short-term memory with wins and losses because we got a big one this week.”
Comis was complimentary of BYU’s “good defense” and said he looks forward to facing freshman quarterback Zach Wilson.
“We’re excited for the task,” the coach said.
Mitch Harper of Athlon Sports predicted BYU to easily handle UMass on the road, 38-23. The former Deseret News scoreboard editor pointed out that both independent schools have important Novembers because of their quest to qualify for bowl games.19 comments on this story
“BYU’s defense has been playing really well the past two weeks. The Cougars will give up points to a UMass offense that has had little trouble scoring (35.1 ppg, 29th nationally), but don't expect another 60- or even 50-point outburst from the Minutemen,” Harper wrote.
“BYU will create enough havoc defensively that will set up short fields for the Cougars' offense led by true freshman quarterback Zach Wilson to have success. BYU gets one win closer to bowl eligibility and covers in the process.”
Now if we can all honor those poor cattle with a moment of silence.