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UMass Minutemen vs Vanderbilt Commodores Game Recap: Vanderbilt Wins 34-31

Holding on to a fourth quarter lead isn't a position that UMass is usually in and it showed as they gave up an 11 point advantage.

Frederick Breedon

With six seconds remaining UMass kicker Blake Lucas lined up for a 22-yard field goal from the left hash. Four seconds later the Vanderbilt Commodores were lining up in victory formation after watching Lucas' attempt fall way left of the uprights. UMass had led the entire game up until the 1:08 mark of the fourth quarter, and now the Minutemen were going home with a 34-31 loss.

The Massachusetts Minutemen looked strong for the first three quarters of the game as they scored the first two touchdowns of the game which included a 53-yard pass on a fake punt thrown by punter Brian McDonald to Rodney Mills. Mills was also responsible for the other touchdown and finished the day with three catches for 76 yards, which led the team.

The rushing game was a struggle after Jamal Wilson went down with an ankle injury in the first quarter. With J.T. Blyden not making the trip, Lorenzo Woodley was the feature back. Although Woodley found pay dirt twice, he averaged less than two yards per carry with 22 rushes for 43 yards. He also had a costly fumble in the endzone which the Commodores recovered for a touchdown.

Vanderbilt's running game on the other hand was impressive with Ralph Wilson carrying the ball 26 times for 116 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Patton Robinette, who came into the game in the second quarter for Wade Freebeck, ran for 35 yards and a score along with 15-21 passes for 147 yards and another score.

Blake Frohnapfel had a great first half completing 12-16 passes with a touchdown. Unfortunately he would only complete five passes in the second half, finishing 17-34 for 205 yards and the first half touchdown.

UMass led at the half 24-20 after Vanderbilt scored a touchdown with just seven seconds remaining. The third quarter was quiet with Lorenzo Woodley's two-yard punch-in being the only scoring play.

Special teams was a focal point of this game for both teams, and no play changed the momentum more than when the Commodores blocked a punt with nine minutes left in the fourth, for a touchdown, to make the score 31-26. Seven minutes later they found the endzone again with Webb running it in from four yards out. Including a successful two-point conversion Vandy took a 34-31 lead that they wouldn't relinquish.

Frohnapfel led a drive down to the three yard line that led to Lucas' failed game-tying field goal attempt.

The UMass offense actually outgained Vanderbilt 346 to 310 yards. Tajae Sharpe had his usual reliable game hauling in 8 balls for 73 yards. Jean Sifrin was targeted by the Commodores and was held to only 1 catch for 10 yards.

Randall Jette had a chance on the game winning touchdown drive to win seal the win for UMass as he had the interception until Vanderbilt receiver C.J. Duncan ripped it (and the hearts of all UMass fans) out of his hands. Jette otherwise had another stellar game leading a passing defense that only gave up 150 yards. Trey Dudley-Giles made the only interception of the game and also had a 74 yard kick-off return. Jovan Santos-Knox led the defense in total tackles with 15 while Joe Colton had the only sack of the game.

UMass falls to 0-3 while Vanderbilt moves on to 1-2. UMass finishes non-conference play next Saturday at 4 against Penn State in Happy Valley.