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In what was a wild torrent of offense, the UMass Minutemen came out on top of the Villanova Wildcats beating them 32-24 in overtime. But these teams were not ready to let just one overtime decide this outcome. It took FOUR overtime periods for the dust to settle on this one. It looked to be a low scoring game with UMass leading 7-6 in the third quarter, little we did know.
The real game didn’t begin until the 4th quarter with QB Chris Whitney of Villanova hitting TE Matthew Sherry for a 17 yard touchdown and connecting with Sherry again for the two-point conversion to take the lead 14-7 Wildcats. Undaunted, Liam Coen led the UMass offense down the field with a 17 yard touchdown pass to sophomore WR Joe Sanford to knot it up at 14-14 with little over two minutes left in regulation.
UMass elected to defend to start the first overtime. The Wildcats were within striking distance on a third and five on the five yard line only to have Whitney’s pass deflected in the air and a diving Jason Hatchell intercepted the ball in the end zone to end the drive. Yet the opportunity was squandered with Matt Lawrence fumbling the ball away to send the game to a second overtime.
In the second overtime, UMass started with possession of the ball. Lawrence rushed for a touchdown giving the Minutemen a 21-14 lead after the ensuing extra point. The Wildcats were not ready to go home yet though. On their next possession, Whitney nearly fumbled only to land on the ball for the recovery. On the next play, he scrambled to the pylon for the touchdown. Following the point after the play, the game was sent to a third overtime.
The Minutemen thought they had a small victory in the third OT holding Villanova to a three-and-out, only to have Joe Marcoux blast a career-long 41 yard field goal bringing the score to 24-21. It only took two plays for the Minutemen to answer with Lawrence rushing for another touchdown up the middle making the score 30-24. Coen then connected with J.J. Moore in the back of the end zone for the two-point conversion to bring it to 32-24.
The Wildcats drove all the way down to the UMass red zone but couldn’t seal the deal with Whitney firing the ball through the hands of Anton Ridley in the back of the end zone on fourth down.
The Minutemen improved to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Game Notes (From umassathletics.cstv.com):