Marken Michel added 60 yards and a touchdown through the air on only four receptions, while Marquis Young debuted with 62 yards over seven carries (8.9 per attempt). Khary Bailey-Smith led the UMass defense with 12 tackles, all unassisted.
Quarterback Blake Frohnapfel, returning from a leg injury that kept him out of the final two games of the 2014 season, gave a 20-for-34 performance, with 225 yards passing, one touchdown and one interception. He was spelled at the end of the contest by redshirt-freshman Ross Comis, who completed four passes for 25 yards and added an eight-yard rushing attempt in his first collegiate action.
(CLICK READ MORE TO CONTINUE . . . )
Shadrach Abrokwah added 56 yards rushing on nine attempts (6.2 per carry) and Jamal Wilson tallied 21 yards via five carries, one of which went for a touchdown. As a team, the Maroon and White averaged 5.1 yards per carry over 29 rushing attempts split between nine Minutemen.
Colorado thrived with its own ground game, recording 390 rushing yards over 59 attempts, an average of 6.6 per carry. Five of Colorado's six total touchdowns were rushing scores, including two from Christian Powell (8 carries, 105 yards) and one each by Michael Adkins (19 carries, 119 yards), Phillip Lindsay (10 carries, 73 yards) and Sefo Liufao (eight carries, 36 yards). Liufao was also 15-of-24 for 168 yards passing and one touchdown.
"We knew going into the game that Colorado wants to run the ball," redshirt-sophomore linebacker Shane Huber said. "Tomorrow we will need to take a look at what they did and what we did. Teams are going to try to run the ball, so we have to be able to stop that."
The offensive fireworks were on display from both sides during the opening half and Colorado entered the break ahead, 31-14, after the Buffaloes offset Sharpe's eight-reception, 123-yard opening half with their balanced run game.
Colorado put points on the board during its game-opening drive when the Buffs went ahead by a touchdown on a Christian Powell 15-yard misdirection rumble up the middle that capped a nine-play, 60-yard drive.
However, Wilson answered for UMass with a two-yard run at the 7:40 mark of the first quarter. Wilson's conversion closed out a quick four-play drive that featured three consecutive completions from Frohnapfel, spanning 48 of the 56 yards covered during the series.
The sides traded touchdowns into the second quarter before Colorado created its halftime advantage with the final 17 points before the break.
"It was disappointing to have a couple plays go our way in row, then we would get a penalty, or in the red zone I threw an interception," Frohnapfel said. "We can't do that. That really killed momentum and we have to learn from it and go into next week (with) new energy."
Liufau ran it in from seven yards out for the 14-7 Buffaloes lead, which was offset on the next Maroon and White drive. After starting at their own 21 yard line, the Minutemen marched 79 yards down the field and evened the score at 14-14. Frohnapfel closed the scoring series with an 18-yard pass to Michel, free in the endzone between two Colorado defenders, and UMass drew equal with Colorado with 12:22 left in the second quarter.
The Buffaloes, however, notched the remaining 17 points in the quarter as Michael Adkins and Phillip Lindsay scored one rushing touchdown apiece, separated by a Diego Gonzalez 31-yard field goal.
The Buffaloes' offense continued to click in the third quarter as Colorado pushed its advantage to 48-14 with 17 points in the frame.
Gonzalez connected on a 30-yard field goal attempt one drive before a Liufao-to-Nelson Spruce touchdown turned the 31-14 lead into a 41-14 margin. Powell closed scoring with a 35-yard run on the final Colorado possession of the quarter.
The Minuteman defense held the Buffaloes scoreless in the fourth quarter, but the offense was unable to chip away at the deficit during the stanza. Bailey-Smith punctuated the defensive effort with his one dozen stops while the senior from Weymouth, Massachusetts, also provided a pair of pass breakups.
UMass plays at Gillette Stadium in its next contest, a Saturday, Sept. 19 game against Temple in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
(Courtesy of UMass Athletics)