Nov. 23, 2012
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (UMassAthletics.com) – Zirlon Tipton rushed for 185 yards and four touchdowns as Central Michigan came from behind to beat Massachusetts, 42-21, on the Minutemen’s Senior Day at Gillette Stadium Friday.
Tipton’s 25 carries helped CMU (6-6, 4-4 Mid-American Conference) become the seventh bowl eligible team from the MAC as the Chippewas erased a 21-14 third quarter deficit with 28-unanswered points. Ryan Radcliff was 10-of-19 and threw for 82 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
UMass (1-11, 1-7 MAC) was narrowly outgained 340-318 in total offense but two second-half interceptions turned the momentum after the Minutemen had taken their first lead of the game early in the third.
Freshman A.J. Doyle made his first career start and threw for 253 yards on 30-of-45 passing and a pair of touchdowns, including the two interceptions.
His favorite target during the contest was tight end Rob Blanchflower, who caught 10 passes for 100 yards and a TD. Alan Williams and Deion Walker each hauled in seven balls. Michael Cox rushed for 66 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
CMU took the first lead of the game when Zurlon Tipton finished a 48-yard drive with a one-yard rush on its second possession of the contest.
A Radcliff 5-yard pass to tight end Connor Odykirk in the opening minutes of the second quarter doubled the Chippewa lead to 14-0.
Darren Thellen intercepted Radcliff and returned it 24 yards to the nine to set-up the Minutemen’s first score of the contest – a 1-yard Michael Cox rush just inside the pylon on the left side of the endzone.
Doyle hit Rob Blanchflower on a slant with four seconds left in the half to knot the score up at 14-14.
UMass came out of the half with a strong 65-yard drive that saw Doyle complete all five pass attempts for 39 yards, including a nine-yarder to Deion Walker for a touchdown that put the Minutemen ahead 21-14.
CMU tied it on the next possession, marching 70 yards on 11 plays with Tipton doing most of the damage on the ground. His three-yard carry with 2:21 on the clock was his seventh of the drive.
Doyle was intercepted on UMass’ ensuing possession, with the Chippewas taking over at the UMass nine by virtue of Jahleel Addae’s 30-yard return. Tipton added his third score of the day CMU’s first play after the miscue.
CMU added another score on a Saylor Lavallii run from six yards out following an interception by Avery Cunningham at the UMass 42. Tipton capped off his big day with a 61-yard rush down the left sideline that put CMU up 42-21.