4 Coen-to-London TDs help UMass rout Towson

Massachusetts 35 Towson 0

October 15, 2006|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun reporter

This is not the way your featured attraction on homecoming weekend, the football game, is supposed to turn out.

Towson's troubles actually began Friday night when coach Gordy Combs was informed by trainer Terry O'Brien that quarterback Sean Schaefer, the Atlantic 10's most productive passer, might not be able to play yesterday because of an "unspecified illness."

Schaefer did sit out the game against Massachusetts, and the Minutemen capitalized on backup Andrew Goldbeck's lack of practice time and the Tigers' miscues to romp to a 35-0 victory before 6,820 at Johnny Unitas Stadium.

"We made the decision that he [Schaefer] couldn't play," said Combs, who would not elaborate on the nature of the problem because "we'll know more in a day or two."

Without their stellar passer, the Tigers tried to keep the offense simple for Goldbeck (Calvert Hall), who was a starter two years ago as a freshman. But, while relying basically on the inside running of Nick Williams and quick screen passes, they did very little on attack, amassing just 167 total yards.

They moved the ball at times, but their best chance to score came late in the first quarter when a Kenny Scott sack of Liam Coen resulted in a UMass fumble that John Webb recovered at the Minutemen 10.

But an illegal procedure penalty against Dan Bridges hindered the series before it began and eventually Chris DeSautels was wide on a 24-yard field-goal attempt with the wind at his back.

"That was a pretty big turn of events," UMass coach Don Brown said. "On an emotional day like homecoming, they can carry that momentum in a positive way. After that, we kind of settled in. It was just a solid performance."

After a slow start when Towson (4-2, 1-2) concentrated heavily on containing the Minutemen ground game, senior tailback Steve Baylark finished with 102 yards rushing - his 19th career game over 100 yards - and caught one of five touchdown passes thrown by Liam Coen, who leads Division I-AA in pass efficiency. Baylark became the third player in UMass history to eclipse 4,000 career rushing yards.

"I was hearing about that [4,000] all week," Baylark said. "It sounds good, but I was trying not to keep that in my mindset coming into the game. I knew it was going to be tough running today."

Coen did nothing to harm his efficiency statistics, completing 21 of 27 throws for 303 yards against a Tigers defense that was blitzing most of the afternoon. Four of his scoring passes went to 6-foot-4 wide receiver Brandon London, who tied a single-game school record with those touchdown receptions.

"It just so happened that every time I was in a position to make a play I did. I just try to do my part," said London, who carried two defenders 6 yards into the end zone on one of the touchdowns and leaped high to snag the final one when Coen lofted the ball over defensive back Adjete Wilson's head.

Coen's five scoring passes also equaled a school record.

Towson trailed just 14-0 at the half and was driving smoothly for one of the few times all day when Rasheed McClaude fumbled away the ball at the UMass 37 and Brandon Collier recovered to stop the drive. Three plays later, Coen connected with London for a 20-yard touchdown and the game started getting out of hand.

The victory was the fourth in a row for No. 8 UMass (5-1, 3-0), which assumed the Atlantic 10's Northern Division lead when top-ranked New Hampshire lost to James Madison. Towson, which was 22nd in the Division I-AA poll, is likely to fall out of the rankings.

"You can't have mental errors and turnovers against a quality team," Combs said. "And they hit some big plays that just killed us."

kent.baker@baltsun.com

Massachusetts 0 14 7 14 -35

Towson 0 0 0 0-0

Second quarter Mass-London 3 pass from Coen (Koepplin kick), 12:59. Mass-Baylark 22 pass from Coen (Koepplin kick), 7:28.

Third quarter Mass-London 20 pass from Coen (Koepplin kick), 9:25.

Fourth quarter Mass-London 34 pass from Coen (Koepplin kick), 9:39. Mass-London 8 pass from Coen (Koepplin kick), 6:14. A-6,820.

Mass Tow

First downs 20 9

Rushes-yards 37-163 25-66

Passing 303 101

Comp-Att-Int 21-27-1 14-23-1

Return Yards 44 2

Punts-Avg. 1-37.0 7-34.7

Fumbles-Lost 1-1 3-2

Penalties-Yards 7-50 3-25

Time of Possession 33:47 26:13 Rushing-Massachusetts, Baylark 22-102, Lawrence 3-61, Nelson 6-18, Rancher 1-3, Team 2-(minus 2), Coen 3-(minus 19). Towson, N.Williams 16-61, McClaude 4-6, Brown 2-6, Castor 1-1, Goldbeck 2-(minus 8). Passing-Massachusetts, Coen 21-27-1-303. Towson, Goldbeck 14-23-1-101. Receiving-Massachusetts, London 7-100, J.Moore 4-74, Listorti 3-54, Rancher 3-26, Baylark 2-33, Nelson 1-9, Jorgensen 1-7. Towson, M.Lee 4-26, Yancey 4-25, Brown 3-25, N.Williams 2-20, Castor 1-5.

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