UMass vs. Wagner prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Saturday night’s matchup between the Minutemen and Seahawks.
When: Saturday, Oct. 29 – 12:00 p.m. ET
Where: Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium, Amherst, MA
Mark Whipple’s first two seasons as UMass’ head coach both ended with 3-9 records. His Minutemen are sitting at 1-7 right now, so it seems as though history is bound to repeat itself once again. UMass opened up with back-to-back losses against Florida and Boston College. After taking down FIU, 21-13, at home, the Minutemen have dropped five straight games to Mississippi State, Tulane, Old Dominion, Louisiana Tech and South Carolina.
Walt Hameline’s Seahawks are at least sitting above .500 this season. They’re 4-3 but have lost their only matchup with an FBS program this season. That was a 42-10 defeat to Boston College. Wagner’s wins have come against Saint Anselm College, Concordia, Sacred Heart and Central Connecticut. Their last time out, the Seahawks fell on the road to Bryant, 27-17.
This will be the first time the two teams have met since 1931 when UMass beat Wagner, 77-0.
What To Know About UMass
The loss to the Gamecocks really came down to the first and third quarters for UMass, as it was outscored, 21-0, in those quarters combined. Quarterback Andrew Ford completed 20-of-42 passes for 247 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. And it was Adam Breneman whom he connected with the most. Breneman caught two of those touchdown passes and finished with nine grabs for 94 yards. The third scoring strike went to Jalen Williams. That was his only reception, and it went for 74 yards.
On the ground, the Minutemen got a solid effort from Marquis Young, who rushed for 123 yards on 28 carries. No other UMass player rushed for more than 10 yards. Although, Ford did find his way into the end zone for the team’s only rushing touchdown.
What to Know About Wagner
The Seahawks let Alex Thompson drop back and throw 37 times in the loss to Bryant, and he completed 17 of those passes. Thompson ended up with 230 yards and a touchdown. He found Andre Yevchinecz for that touchdown. The senior wide receiver ended up with four catches for 73 yards. But the leading receiver for Wagner was John Williams, who caught six passes for 112 yards.
Running back Matthias McKinnon led the team with 43 rushing yards on 13 rushes, and he scored the Seahawks’ only rushing touchdown in the game. Denzel Knight added 34 rushing yards on six carries.
Offense: UMass – Young has rushed for 667 yards and three touchdowns. He gives the Minutemen the edge.
Defense: UMass – The Minutemen have allowed almost 800 fewer yards this season than the Seahawks have.
Special Teams: Wagner – Yevchinecz has returned 13 punts for 129 yards and a touchdown, and James Cooper has connected on 10-of-13 field goals.
Coaching: UMass – Whipple has been around the block and has six years of NFL experience plus two seasons as the Miami Hurricanes’ offensive coordinator under his belt.
Matchup To Watch
Alex Thompson vs. UMass defense
The Minutemen are going to ask Young to get their offense going, and they’ll try and work the clock to keep the Seahawks off the field. When Wagner does get the ball, though, Thompson needs to be on his game. He can’t afford to turn the ball over or be indecisive with the football. If he hits his spots and caps off a couple of long drives with touchdowns, the Seahawks will have a shot to win this football game.
Spread: No Line
Over/Under: No Line
UMass vs. Wagner Prediction
Thompson is going to drop back and throw at least 35 times in this one, and he’ll connect at least half of them for 150-plus yards, but he won’t be clutch enough to keep Wagner in it with some big-time touchdown passes. UMass is going to run the ball. Then it’s going to run the ball. And after that, it will run the ball some more. Young will tote the rock for a couple of touchdowns, and the Minutemen are going to pick up their second win of the seas0n.
Umass vs. Wagner Score Prediction: UMass 35, Wagner 20