BC overpowers UMass in season opener at Gillette Stadium
|08.30.14 at 5:58 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Tyler Murphy and Boston College were just too much for UMass.
The Battle for the Bay State turned into a ground war and the Minutemen were no match for the Eagles as BC outgained UMass, 338-55 on the ground, and 511-202 overall, as Boston College eased its way to a 30-7 win Saturday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
“Thought our team played a strong, hard, pretty clean game with a couple early penalties cost us in the red zone,” coach Steve Addazio said. “All and all, pleased with opening day, now put that with what it is- it’s opening day, we got a lot of work to do.
“I thought UMass, I thought [new head coach] Mark Whipple and his staff did a great job. You can see the improvement of their football team and that was evident to me. I think they have good things to come.”
In its first game without All-American running back and 2013 Heisman finalist Andre Williams, the Eagles and coach Steve Addazio seemed intent on proving they could still run the ball at will, led by their athletic option quarterback Tyler Murphy, a graduate student transfer from the University of Florida.
Murphy finished with 118 yards rushing on 13 carries, including a 1-yard bootleg keeper for a touchdown in the third quarter. Murphy finished 17-of-24 passing for 173 yards in his first game with the Eagles. He had a touchdown and an interception.
Sophomore tailback Tyler Rouse chipped in with 87 yards on 19 carries as the Eagles won 25th meeting between the two schools but the first since UMass moved up to Football Bowl Subdivision. BC has now won 20 of the 25 encounters between the two in-state rivals.
“We are trying to get better,” Addazio said. “Each week improve. The biggest growth in the football team is in the first few weeks. We took a positive step but we have to continue to grow.
“We are a real strong, physical, kind of move the ball down the field team, but I would like to see if we can create big-yardage explosives.”
Early on, it was a defensive struggle, with Boston College settling for a 44-yard field goal from Alex Howell just 39 seconds into the second quarter. Joey Launceford added a 28-yard field goal with 5:29 left before the half to put Boston College up, 6-0.
UMass had a golden opportunity to take the lead late in the second quarter when Murphy, making his first start as a graduate student transfer from the University of Florida, was intercepted by Randall Jette. The UMass defensive back returned the ball 20 yards to the Boston College 19.
But UMass self-destructed and went backwards from there. Quarterback Blake Frohnapfel took an intentional grounding on first down and threw an incomplete pass on second down. After a four-yard gain on third down, UMass was forced to settle for a 47-yard field goal from Blake Lucas that was wide right.
Murphy marched BC down the field just before half time and gave the Eagles a chance at more points but a 44-yard field goal attempt by Alex Howell was wide right and BC settled for a 6-0 halftime lead despite outgaining UMass, 276-84, including 211-22 on the ground. BC ran 45 plays in the first half to just 24 for UMass.
BC opened up a commanding 20-0 lead on a pair of touchdown drives early in the third quarter as the Eagles continue to dominate on the ground. Sophomore tailback Myles Willis punched in a 1-yard run for the first touchdown of the day with 8:49 left in the third. Murphy followed with his scamper around left end on a bootleg to make it 20-0 five minutes later.
UMass had their singular highlight on the very next series as Frohnapfel found Tajae Sharpe on a deep post route for a 77-yard touchdown. The score was the longest pass play for UMass in six seasons.
But Boston College answered on the next drive, as Murphy threw his first touchdown pass in an Eagles uniform, a 43-yard connection to a wide open Josh Bordner down the right sideline eight seconds into the fourth quarter. The score put BC up, 27-7. BC added a 21-yard field goal from Joey Launceford to account for the final scoring.