Originally written on MaizeAndGoBlue  |  Last updated 11/14/14

Read our preseason UMass preview here.

It wasn’t easy, but Michigan picked up its first win of the season on Saturday against a feisty Air Force team. This week, the Wolverines host a team that can probably be described as the exact opposite of feisty – the UMass Minutemen. You may remember two years ago, in Rich Rodriguez’s last season, Michigan hosted UMass and had to hold off a late rally to beat the Minutemen. This year, Michigan enters as a 45.5-point favorite, the largest spread in Michigan history. Are we in store for another tense situation? I don’t think so. Let’s take a look at how UMass has fared in the first two weeks of the season.

UMass 2012 Statistics & Michigan Comparison UMass | Michigan Rank Opponent Rank Points Per Game 3.0 | 22.5 121 | 88 41.0 | 33.0 109 | 93 Rushing Yards 81 | 283 480 | 522 Rush Avg. Per Game 40.5 | 141.5 119 | 74 240 | 261 108 | 113 Avg. Per Rush 1.4 | 4.7 4.9 | 4.6 Passing Yards 242 | 408 488 | 326 Pass Avg. Per Game 121 | 204 116 | 84 244 | 163 76 | 22 Total Offense 323 | 691 968 | 848 Total Off Avg. Per Game 161.5 | 345.5 121 | 85 484 | 424 107 | 81 Kick Return Average 23.1 | 22.2 40 | 47 26.5 | 32.0 108 | 114 Punt Return Average 1.7 | 2.0 97 | 96 19.7 | 11.0 109 | 96 Avg. Time of Possession 24:44 | 26:36 110 | 102 35:17 | 33:24 3rd Down Conversion Pct 21% | 35% 120 | 96 38% | 48% 62 | 99 Sacks By-Yards 1-3 | 2-21 109 | 89 4-33 | 1-10 65 | 14 Touchdowns Scored 1 | 6 10 | 8 Field Goals-Attempts 0-1 | 1-1 4-4 | 3-5 Red Zone Scores (1-2) 50% | (3-3) 100% 112 | 1 (9-10) 90% | (8-10) 80% 90 | 56 Red Zone Touchdowns (1-2) 50% | (2-3) 67% (6-10) 60% | (6-10) 60%

UMass has scored a grand total of six points in its first two games, getting shut out 37-0 by UConn in Week 1 and throttled 45-6 by Indiana last week. In those two games, UMass was held to just 81 yards rushing on 60 carries. That’s just 1.4 yards per carry. The passing game fared slightly better, but an average of just 121 yards per game has the Minutemen ranked 116th nationally.

Defensively, UMass is allowing 484 yards of offense per game, 240 on the ground and 244 through the air. UConn and Indiana averaged 4.9 yards per carry.

UConn was the team that really shut down the Minutemen, holding them to just 59 yards of total offense and three first downs. In fact, UMass never even took a snap on UConn’s side of the 50. Redshirt freshman quarterback Mike Wegzyn completed just 9 of 22 passes for 56 yards and an interception in the game.

Head coach Charley Molnar is familiar with Michigan (photo from Matthew Cavanaugh, Boston Globe)

Saturday’s game against Indiana should show what we can expect to see from Michigan and Denard Robinson this weekend. IU quarterback Tre Roberson completed 6-of-13 passes for 76 yards, a touchdown and an interception before getting injured. But it was his legs that did the damage, rushing for 114 yards and two touchdowns on five carries. Like Denard against Air Force, Roberson used a pair of long touchdown runs (50 yards and 39) to get the job done.

The running back is former Michigan back Michael Cox (pictured above). He had five carries for negative four yards against UConn but led the Minutemen with 15 carries for 36 yards against Indiana. Senior Chris Burns got 11 carries for 17 yards in Week 1 but lost the starting job to Cox and got a somewhat scathing review from head coach Charley Molnar after that performance.

“Burns’ performance last week was not what he had hoped for,” Molnar said. “For a guy who basically had the job, every rep with the starters throughout summer camp, [he] just didn’t handle some of his responsibilities like a guy who’s been around and should have.”

Speaking of Molnar, you may remember his name. He’s the first-year head coach of UMass, coming to Amherst from some place called South Bend. He was Notre Dame’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach the last two seasons and after following Brian Kelly from Central Michigan to Cincinnati to Notre Dame, got his first head coaching gig at UMass. His aim is to transform the Minutemen into a no-huddle spread attack, but it will take some time to put in place and get the right recruits at a first-year FBS program.

When UMass visits Ann Arbor on Saturday, we still won’t learn anything from Michigan, but it will be one last chance for the offense to find its rhythm, the defense to work on its technique, and Denard to pad his stats before the real schedule begins – Notre Dame and the Big Ten.


Wrigley Field bleacher renovation may be delayed

Yankees wanted Rollins but Phillies' price was too high

Pop misses game for medical reasons; Messina takes over

John Beilein upset with ESPN for late start time to game

Tyson Chandler felt like Knicks' scapegoat at times

Fred Jackson has 'no respect' for Donte Whitner


Devon Still responds to unpaid child support allegations

Diamondbacks sign Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas

Josh Gordon felt alienated by some in Browns organization

Jerry Jones: I'm a big admirer of Robert Griffin III

Raiola fined for uneccesarily striking Pats' Zach Moore

Report: Michigan keeping Jim Hackett on as athletic director

Steelers turned down chance to be called 'America's Team'

Report: Small chance Raiders-Rams could be moved to Indy

Todd Gurley begins rehab after surgery on knee for torn ACL

Brodeur to practice with Blues

OSU player posts Michigan player's girlfriend as his 'WCW'

Jim Harbaugh's family may not eat turkey thanks to NBC

Ole Miss' The Grove threatened by Mississippi State fan

Is it time for the Redskins to move on from Robert Griffin III?

Top 10 fantasy football turkeys for 2014

WATCH: Coyotes lose in ugly fashion, score own goal in OT

Warriors are having tons of fun on team plane

Jenn Sterger hints she'll be back in her FSU cowgirl gear for game

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Wrigley renovation may be delayed

Steelers could have been America's Team

John Beilein upset with ESPN

Should Washington move on from RG3?

Dominic Raiola fined for cheap shots

Game of the week: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

Rose leaves with injury again

WATCH: Pierce signs for fan during game

Report: McCoy to start over RG3

Braxton Miller headed to Oregon?

10 most one-sided college football rivalries

Pierce: C's Big Three like 'Holy Trinity'

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.