This game began just like the last one ended for the Massachusetts Minutemen with a missed field goal. Matthew Wiley took over place-kicking responsibilities for Blake Lucas and he followed in his predecessor foot steps with a missed 39 yarder to start the game.
After that drive Penn State showed why they are 3-0 and scored on their next eight drives. Christian Hackenberg didn't put on a spectacular show going 12-for-24 for 175 yards with neither a touchdown or an interception. While he wasn't personally responsible for a touchdown, he did lead 7 scoring drives and he orchestrated his offense perfectly. Hackenberg was pulled for freshman D.J. Cooper in the third quarter.
The UMass defense had no answer on the ground for the Penn State rushing attack which ran for a combined 228 yards on 45 attempts. Akeel Lynch and Bill Belton both averaged over 10 yards per touch with eight carries for 81 for Lynch and seven attempts for 76 yards for Belton. Stanley Andre and Randall Jette led UMass with eight total tackles each. Having your cornerback as your leading tackler is usually a sign that the defense had a long day.
The UMass rushing game on the other hand was abysmal at best. As a team they totaled just two yards on 29 attempts. Part of this is due to Frohnapfel accounting for -31 yards. J.T. Blyden was the feature back after sitting out last game due to injury and he ran for just 20 yards on 10 carries. Jordan Broadnax actually ran for negative yards, seven to be exact on 5 carries. Lorenzo Woodley only saw two carries for the day and only gained two yards.
Blake Frohnapfel didn't make the big plays he needed to but he played a competent game completing 17 of his 33 passes for 257 yards and one touchdown. That touchdown was a 77 yard bomb to Tajae Sharpe that would be the last score of the game.
Frohnapfel's favorite target was Marken Michel who caught 6 balls for 104 yards. Sharpe contributed four catches for 92, most of them coming off his 77 yard touchdown grab. Jean Sifrin only caught one ball for nine yards but was targeted a few times. No other Minuteman would have more than one catch.
Third down was a troublesome down for UMass as they were just 2-for-13 and 2-for-5 on fourth down attempts. This coupled with a non-existent rushing game is the recipe for punts. Turnovers weren't a problem though as they committed just one, a fumble, although they didn't force Penn State to commit one.
This wasn't the game Mark Whipple wanted UMass to have coming off two very close losses to P5 teams. The Minutemen will have to regroup as they come back to McGuirk Alumni Stadium for the first time since the 2011 season. They will take on the Bowling Green Falcons next Saturday for homecoming, which has never been more appropriate.