FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (UMassAthletics.com) – Mike Wegzyn threw four touchdowns and completed 27 passes for 373 yards as UMass nearly upset league-leader Ohio, falling 37-34 at Gillette Stadium Saturday.
UMass (0-5, 0-2 Mid-American Conference) outgained its opponent for the second-consecutive week, amassing 511 yards of total offense on 84 plays. Wegzyn completed passes to six different receivers, including three touchdown strikes to Alan Williams and one to Deion Walker.
Walker hauled in a game-high 11 catches for 162 yards, while Williams finished with seven for 127 yards. Michael Cox rushed for 80 yards on 22 carries.
Ohio (5-0, 1-0) got 269 yards and two touchdowns on the ground from Beau Blankenship, including the eventual game-winner on a 40-yard rush with just over six minutes to play that put the Bobcats ahead 37-27. Tyler Tettleton, who started for Ohio after missing the last game with an injury, went 15-for-27 with two touchdowns and 229 yards.
UMass was able to hold Ohio twice in the final few minutes and score to cut the deficit to three before stalling near midfield in the final minute.
After holding Ohio on three plays to open the game, UMass got on the board as Wegzyn capped a 12-play drive with a 27-yard touchdown pass over the top to Williams. It was the Minutemen’s first passing TD of the season and the first time they had led through five games.
The Bobcats responded with a 27-yard field goal by Matt Weller to cut the Minuteman lead to 7-3 with 4:26 left in the first.
UMass pushed its lead back to seven on the ensuing possession with a Blake Lucas 30-yard field goal, giving the true freshman his first make in two tries.
Ohio continued the assault on the scoreboard with a Weller 24-yard field goal for the first score of the second quarter.
Tettleton gave Ohio its first lead of the game, 13-10, with 5:40 to play in the second when he connected with Troy Hill for a one-yard pass.
Wegzyn connected with Williams again for a score, this time a 50-yard crossing route with 3:13 to play that gave UMass a 17-13 lead. It was the longest scoring play for the Minutemen this season.
Chase Cochran hauled in a 41-yard pass from Tettleton with 1:16 remaining to send the Bobcats into the half holding a 20-17 edge.
UMass retook the lead at the start of the second half, marching 81 yards on 12 plays for a Walker 26-yard TD catch. The drive included a key fourth down conversion at the Ohio 34.
The Minutemen defense stepped up in a big way following a Cox fumble, stopping the Bobcats on three plays before Antoine Tharpe blocked Weller’s 34-yard field goal attempt, the first block by UMass since 2007.
Lucas gave UMass a 27-20 advantage with a 21-yard field goal late in the third.
Blankenship tied things up in the fourth with a five-yard scamper up the middle with 13:48 left.
A 27-yard completion to Foster put the Bobcats inside the red zone where Weller added his third field goal of the day, a 26-yard boot that gave Ohio a 30-27 lead.
Blankenship broke off a 40-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth that gave the Bobcats some breathing room at 37-27.
The Minutemen converted a fourth down pass to Rob Blanchflower for 27 yards with a personal foul at the end of the run to put the ball at the 11-yard line. On the next play, Williams took a screen pass and faked-out two Bobcat defenders before diving into the end zone. The Brendan Levengood extra point made it a one-possession game, 37-34 Ohio.
UMass got possession following an Ohio punt and moved the ball to midfield before stalling and turning the ball over on downs.
UMass will return to road play next week, traveling to Western Michigan. Kickoff at Waldo Stadium in Kalamazoo is set for 2:00 p.m.