Turnovers hurt UMass in a 45-17 loss to BC

Massachusetts’ poor start in the game helped Boston College end

its terrible start this season.

UMass quarterback Kellen Pagel threw an interception on the

first offensive play of the game, leading to a Boston College

touchdown, and the Minutemen fumbled twice later that led to TD

runs by Eagles’ linebackers in a 45-17 loss on Saturday.

”You can tell that BC played a lot better than they had the

last couple of weeks,” UMass coach Kevin Morris said. ”Not happy

about the final score, giving away those touchdowns. You can’t do

that and expect to win a ballgame to begin with. I think we had

four turnovers to their one – two of them being for touchdowns.

That was certainly the difference in the game.”

Chase Rettig threw for three touchdowns to lead the Eagles to

their first win of the season.

The Eagles (1-3) were off to their worst start since opening

1991 with four losses under then-coach Tom Coughlin.

UMass fell behind 38-10 after BC linebacker Nick Clancy’s

16-yard fumble return for a score.

Kevin Pierre-Louis returned the other fumble for a score, going

96 yards about four minutes after Clancy’s score.

UMass moved the ball a bit better in the second half, after

falling behind 24-7 at halftime.

Pagel said the spark was a 100-yard kickoff return by Jesse

Julmiste.

”It was a little reassurance,” Pagel said. ”At the time, we

were struggling offensively just to execute. When he was able to

run that one in it gave us a little confidence.”

UMass, which had just 106 total yards at halftime, finished with

313 to BC’s 389.

Jonathan Hernandez carried 22 times for 80 yards and a TD for

the Minutemen (2-1).

UMass, a Football Championship Subdivision school, is making the

first of a two-year jump into the Football Bowl Subdivision. The

Minutemen will be part of the Mid-American conference in 2013.

It was the 24th meeting between the schools, dating back to the

first in 1899. BC leads 19-5, winning its seventh straight.

Rettig completed 14 of 22 passes for 196 yards with the three

TDs and no interceptions. Andre Williams carried 20 times for 95

yards and last season’s Atlantic Coast Conference leading rusher

Montel Harris returned from preseason left knee surgery and ran

nine times for 27 yards.

Colin Larmond Jr. had two TD catches – 36 and 37 yards – and

backup running back Tahj Kimball had a 3-yard run for a score.

The Eagles’ Hampton Hughes picked off Pagel on the first

offensive play, giving BC the ball at UMass’ 47. Eleven plays

later, Rettig hit tight end Lars Anderson with a 1-yard score to

give BC a 7-0 lead.

After a short drive by the Minutemen, the Eagles took over on

their own 45 and marched to the UMass’ 8 before the stalling. Nate

Freese booted a 26-yard field goal, making it 10-0.

Things weren’t going very well early offensively for the

Minutemen. Rettig had as many completions (6) as UMass had

offensive plays late in the opening quarter.

BC took over in UMass territory early in the second quarter

after a short punt gave them the ball at UMass’ 44. Kimball ran in

from the 3 five plays later, making it 17-0. Rettig hit Johnathan

Coleman for a 24-yard strike on the prior play.

Julmiste took the ensuing kickoff a couple of steps in his own

end zone, broke free up the left sideline for his score, making it

17-7. NCAA statistics only list returns of 100 yards despite

Julmiste taking the ball back about 102.

But BC struck back on its next offensive series. Rettig hit a

wide-open Larmond Jr. along the left sideline for a 36-yard score,

capping a 54-yard drive that took seven plays and increased the

lead to 24-7.

The Eagles, coming off a heartbreaking 20-19 loss at home to

Duke last week when Freese hit the left upright with a potential

game-winning field goal in the closing minute, dominated on the

scoreboard, statistics and time of possession in the opening half.

The Eagles doubled UMass in total yardage and held the ball nearly

21 minutes to just over nine for the Minutemen.

Brendon Levengood kicked a 38-yard field goal, cutting BC’s lead

to 24-10 late in the third quarter.

Larmond Jr.’s second TD of the game – a leaping 37-yarder in the

left side of the end zone – made it 31-10. Clancy picked up

Hernandez’s fumble and ran in untouched for a score on the next

series.

Pagel was hit near the goal line, Pierre-Louis caught the ball

in the air and ran down the middle of the field.