It’d be hard to argue that Penn State is playing a good football team Saturday.
UMass is 1-6, which looks ugly enough.
Of its six losses, only one has been to Power Five school.
The lone Power Five loss came to Auburn, and boy, was it ugly. UMass gave up 59 points that game, and scored only 14. So logic says that Penn State shouldn’t have much of a problem, and the fact that Penn State’s an early 42.5-point favorite (per DraftKings Sportsbook) backs up that setiment.
But looking beyond UMass’ 1-6 record– and yes, that’s hard to look past– there are some positive things about the Minutemen.
In his weekly Tuesday presser leading up to Saturday’s game, Penn State coach James Franklin called UMass “maybe the most explosive team we’ve played all year.”
Now, this could have been partially due to what’s standard procedure in pregame press conferences.
Coaches look for nice things to say about their opponent– what’s Franklin going to do, say “UMass stinks” for all to hear?– but Franklin backed up his “most explosive team” comment with numbers.
“They’re No. 2 in major college football in plays of 50 yards or more,” Franklin said.
He added that UMass is ninth in the country in plays of 10 or more yards.
Franklin also complimented some of UMass’s indivudial players on offense, who he said Penn State feels “would start for a lot of people.”
In particular, he was impressed with.
- Wide receiver Anthony Simpson (33 rec, 566 yards, three TD), who transferred from Arizona.
- RB Kayron Lynch-Adams (130 carries, 661 yards, 5.1 YPC,) who transferred from Rutgers
- QB Taisum Phommachana (67-102, 788 yards, 65.7%), who started at Clemson, then moved onto Georgia Tech and is now at UMass.
“These guys have got our attention,” Franklin said, “and specifically on the offensive side of the ball. We think they’re doing a great job.”