BOSTON (CBS) – For the first time in their brief FBS career, the UMass football team walked off the field victorious following Saturday’s 22-14 win over the Akron Zips.
“For Umass football, it means we’ve taken that small step forward we desperately needed to take,” head coach Charley Molnar told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Marc Bertrand in their weekly chat for CBSBostonsports.com. “I think it’s taken a load off the backs of the players. As the season progressed, I think there was maybe a little bit of doubt on the outside if we would ever win a game. I don’t think we ever wondered internally, but we expected it to come quicker than it did.”
“I think it’s going to add some real positive momentum as we push forward through the next two games and into the off-season ” Molnar said of the win.
The Minutemen did it on all three phases of the game, with quarterback Mike Wegzyn throwing for 266 yards and a touchdown, the UMass defense coming up with four interceptions, and their special teams blocking a punt and pinning the Zips deep in their own zone three straight times in the fourth quarter.
It was an all-around effort that Molnar had been hoping to see all season.
“We were much closer than we’ve ever been,” he said. “Definitely, Special teams and defense were lights out. I thought our defense was outstanding, not only with the interceptions and forcing fumbles, but really with aggressive play – physical, clean and hard. Special teams, our guys were all over it and our punter was outstanding.”
The Minutemen now return home for their final two games of the season, hosting Buffalo this Saturday and Central Michigan the Friday after Thanksgiving. After playing three straight weeks on the road, Molnar and his team are happy to return home.
“We’ve never been so glad to be at home right now. It seems like forever since we played our last home game,” he said. “Our guys really love playing at Gillette. I think there is a real sense of excitement to get back home and show our fans how far we’ve come since the last time they’ve seen us play.”
What does Molnar think of UMass’ upcoming matchup with the Bulls? Listen to his full chat with Marc Betrand!