Hey so football is almost here! And guess what, the Gamecocks didn’t lose last week! The South Carolina football team will look to continue this non-losing trend come Saturday afternoon against the Minutemen. But first, we need to do our Q&A. Mike Traini of the UMass 247Sports site was generous enough to help us out. Let’s take a look.
1. UMass has had some good performances against SEC opposition this year, but has also lost to teams like Old Dominion and Tulane. What’s the feeling about this UMass team and their performance thus far in 2016?
UMass has had a bit of a knack for playing to their opponent’s level this season, but on the whole it’s been a grind. Striking out as a first-year independent has difficult, and it’s forced UMass to put together a very tough schedule. As such they’ve scuffled to a 1-6 record so far this season. There are concerns among the fan base, as a 9-46 record since the jump to FBS will create, but the school is committed to top level football. It will be trying to wait out realignment to find a conference home, but UMass has been making (very) slow progress every season.
2. A far as scheduling goes, what is it like for you guys to play 3 SEC teams in one season?
Three SEC teams in one year is not ideal for any team that isn’t already in the SEC, nevermind a program that is only in year 5 at the highest level. You need to bring in cash and fill out a schedule, and UMass did both with their SEC deals this year, but it makes for some real tough matchups.
3. Other than Andy Isabella, who are the Minutemen’s go to playmakers?
On offense, if he plays on Saturday, RB Marquis Young is a special talent. Only a sophomore, he’s dynamic on the ground, though he’s been dealing with an injury this week. WR Jalen Williams is also one to watch, great talent that can make the occasional spectacular catch. TE Adam Breneman, a grad transfer from Penn State, has been huge for UMass, putting up great numbers teamed up with his former high school teammate QB Andrew Ford. On defense, LB Da’Sean Downey is a force off the edge, and DL Sha-Ki Holines can be difficult to contain inside.
4. Finally, how do you expect UMass to perform Saturday and what’s your score prediction?
I’d hope that UMass looks at this game as another chance to showcase the program on national TV and is motivated accordingly. In their previous two SEC games this year they played well but ultimately came up short. South Carolina is struggling and could be starting a true freshman QB in his first game, but I think the Gamecocks depth will win the day, SC 31, UMass 14.
I want to thank Mike once again for all of his help. Make sure you go give their Twitter page a follow, @FightMA247, leading up to the game.