Massachusetts: A Numerical Perspective

The Vanderbilt football team arrives at a moment in its season when it should expect to win. There’s no point in trying to deny that the 2014 season is going to be a difficult one, so the Commodores have to pounce on opportunities when they come along. Playing Massachusetts, an FCS team that wanted to test itself in the FBS, certainly rates as an opportunity for the Dores to build confidence.


The Massachusetts Minutemen almost pulled off an upset last weekend that would have embarrassed the Pac-12 Conference. As it was, UMass had to settle for a good performance and a moral victory. Colorado’s offense was able to overcome its shoddy defense, as the Buffaloes prevailed in a shootout. Vanderbilt’s offense has its big chance to light up a scoreboard and create some habits that might be able to persist as the SEC season moves along. That’s the biggest point of interest in this game; Derek Mason knows he has to see improvement against a defense that can be pushed around.

Here’s how the Minutemen stack up from a numerical standpoint, with some added comments at the end about their week-two game against Colorado:


Record when having more first downs than an opponent: 1-0.

Fewer: 0-10.

Record when having more yards than an opponent: 1-0.

Fewer: 0-10.

Record when having more rushing yards than an opponent: 1-2.

Fewer: 0-8.

Record when having more passing yards than an opponent: 1-1.

Fewer: 0-9.

Record when having more penalties than an opponent: 1-5.

Fewer: 0-4.

Statistical tie in this category (zero differential): 0-1.

Record when having more turnovers than an opponent: 0-6.

Fewer: 1-2.

Statistical tie: 0-2.

Record when having more time of possession than an opponent: 1-4.

Less time of possession: 0-6.


Fumbles in 2013: 20.

Fumbles lost: 8.

Interceptions thrown: 18.


Defensive fumbles recovered: 11 recoveries of 15 fumbles by opponents.

Interceptions made: 8.


-- The Minutemen scored 38 points, their highest point total since they moved from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision in the 2012 season. The Minutemen have scored 34 and 30 points in Mid-American Conference games since their transition to the FBS, but their 38-point outburst against Colorado, a power-conference team, topped those two performances.

-- Massachusetts scored three touchdowns within a span of six minutes late in the first half. Including two scores at the start of the third quarter, the Minutemen posted 31 of their 38 points against Colorado in a stretch of just under nine minutes (8:43).

-- UMass pulled off an amazing turnaround relative to its first game of the season against BC. Last week’s offensive explosion against Colorado stood in marked contrast to the blowout loss against Boston College. The Minutemen managed just 202 yards, only 55 on the ground, and a mere nine first downs in that defeat, scoring only seven points. Part of what killed UMass against Boston College: time of possession. The Minutemen held the ball under 18 minutes in that contest. Against Colorado: a far more reasonable 24:45.

-- After UMass gained a 31-20 lead against Colorado, the defense allowed touchdowns on the Buffaloes’ next three possessions. Colorado took a 41-31 lead and held on for a 41-38 victory. UMass allowed 474 yards, 318 of them in the air. Top Stories