UMass Minutemen

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Former UMass, Penn State TE Adam Breneman retires from football

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Former All-American tight end Adam Breneman has announced he will be retiring from football for good. Citing prolonged health concerns that stem back to his time at Penn State, Breneman wrote in a blog post the extent of the injury he suffered in 2014 was even more challenging to come back from than many had publicly known.

This is the second time Breneman has made the decision to retire, and this one will likely stick. Breneman retired briefly from the game in 2016, after his injury concerns at Penn State proved to be too risky to continue playing. Breneman had significant damage in his left knee that the All-American says required “complicated surgery and a long recovery process.” Doctors suggested his playing days would be over, but Breneman felt his knees became good enough to give a shot at playing in the NFL one more chance, which led him to revive his playing career at UMass. However, it was during his time at UMass when reality resurfaced for Breneman.

This past season things began to deteriorate quickly. Even though I enjoyed on-field success, I knew my knee was getting rapidly worse with every game I played. The consistent dream of playing in the NFL was my motivation to push through the pain. I knew what was happening, but I was afraid to accept it and be disappointed yet again.

When the season ended, I hoped with some time off and without the physical rigors of the season, my knee would begin to feel better. However, once I started training daily for the NFL draft in January 2018, I realized my situation had not improved. After additional medical evaluations and creative treatments, my doctors and I have come to the realization that there is no solution that will allow me to continue to play football.

Breneman was a key recruit of former Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien and a key face of the first full recruiting class to join Penn State following the hefty sanctions levied against the program in the Jerry Sandusky scandal’s fallout. Along with Christian Hackenberg, Breneman helped keep a key recruiting class mostly together.

Breneman appeared in 11 games for the Minutemen in 2017 with 764 receiving yards and four touchdown catches. The previous season, Breneman had 808 receiving yards and eight touchdowns for UMass after two years off from football. He appeared in 11 games for the Nittany Lions in 2013 and caught three touchdowns with 186 receiving yards in his first and only season on the field in Happy Valley.

Temple adds future home-and-homes vs. Akron, UMass

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Here’s your (latest) sign that we’re plunging deeper into the heart of the 2018 college football offseason.

Temple announced Monday that it has added a pair of future home-and-home series, versus Akron and UMass. Akron will play host to Temple Sept. 11, 2021, with the Zips traveling to Philadelphia to open the 2023 season. UMass will host the first game of its home-and-home Oct. 10, 2020, with Temple closing it out with a home game Sept. 24, 2022.

The Owls and Zips were members of the MAC from 2007-2011 and met each of those five seasons. Temple won all five by a combined score of 178-46.

The Owls and Minutemen played even more recently, squaring off in a two-game series in 2015 and 2016. The two teams split those contests, the first of which was played at Lincoln Financial Field in Philly and the second at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

Th school noted in its release that locations of the future games remain undetermined.

No. 17 South Florida breaks AP Poll-era record of consecutive games with 30-plus points

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South Florida has been viewed by most as a bit of a disappointment this season. Such is the burden of perfection, because a so-called disappointing start still sees Charlie Strong‘s Bulls sitting at No. 16 in the AP poll with a 6-0 start and its streak of scoring 30-plus points still intact.

Correction: South Florida’s AP Poll-era record streak of scoring 30-plus points is still intact.

The Bulls beat Tulane 34-28 on Saturday, pushing the streak to 24 games. And according to ESPN’s Stats and Information department, that is now the FBS record for the AP poll era, which dates back to 1936.

For the year, South Florida is tied for ninth in FBS with a 41.6 scoring average. The Bulls are one of seven FBS teams to average more than 300 rushing yards per game, and one of just three non-triple option teams to accomplish the feat, joining Arizona and No. 13 Notre Dame.

The streak could actually be at 25 games right now if not for Hurricane Irma. The storm forced South Florida to push back at trip to Connecticut from Sept. 9 to Nov. 4 and in the process eliminated a scheduled Oct. 14 game against UMass. UConn and UMass both allow more than 30 points per game.

As it stands, South Florida has a great shot to push the record to at least 27 games. The Bulls’ next opponent, Houston, allows 24 points a game and just surrendered 42 points in one half in a home loss to No. 25 Memphis. USF visits UConn on Nov. 4, and then concludes its home schedule against Tulsa, who ranks No. 117 nationally with a 37.6 scoring defense average.

Then comes the big test: the regular season finale at No. 20 Central Florida. The Knights rank 16th nationally with 17.5 points per game allowed and have not allowed more than 23 points in a game this season (a game in which they scored 51).

TCU, NC State, Ohio State and Wisconsin among those who can clinch bowl eligibility in Week 7

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A handful of teams you expect to be bowl eligible this past weekend officially clinched their eligibility to play in a postseason game. This means Alabama, Clemson, Penn State, Georgia, Washington, and Washington State are now officially in the running for the College Football Playoff after each clinched the required sixth win to become bowl eligible for the 2017 season. San Diego State can also start focusing on their postseason outlook after picking up their sixth win of the season.

This week a few more teams can join the party with a win. Among the more notable names vying for postseason eligibility this week includes TCU (the new Big 12 leader in the clubhouse after this past weekend), Wisconsin (staring at a possible 12-0 record), and N.C. State (the Wolfpack have won six straight since a season-opening loss to South Carolina). At 5-1, the Auburn Tigers are also one win away from clinching their bowl eligibility, and they would become the third team from the SEC to do so. Ohio State can also join the fun with a win at Nebraska, which will also make Nebraska’s chances of reaching the postseason that much more difficult.

At 5-1, the Auburn Tigers are also one win away from clinching their bowl eligibility, and they would become the third team from the SEC to do so. Ohio State (5-1) can also join the fun with a win at Nebraska, which will also make Nebraska’s chances of reaching the postseason that much more difficult. USC is also in the 5-1 club and gets to host Utah this week in a key Pac-12 South Division matchup. Virginia Tech is 5-1 as well, but the Hokies are off this week before getting back on the field next week against North Carolina. Notre Dame will also have to wait a week for their chance with a bye week to prepare for a game against USC in South Bend. Kentucky is also off this week with a chance to wrap up their postseason eligibility the following week at Mississippi State.

A few other teams looking to lock down their eligibility this week include Navy (at Memphis), USF (vs. Cincinnati).

On the flip side, UMass and Charlotte (each at 0-6) can officially be eliminated from postseason contention with a loss this weekend.


Heat ratcheted up on Butch Jones as Tennessee barely slips past winless UMass

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Aside from being on the right side of the won-loss ledger, this is absolutely not what Butch Jones or the Tennessee Volunteers needed.

The come-from-ahead last-second loss to Florida in Week 4 set a sizable chunk of Vols Nation to grumbling about the current state of the football program in general and Jones’head-coaching tenure specifically. With winless UMass coming to Neyland Stadium in Week 4, it was viewed as an opportunity for UT to reset and get back on track for games against No. 11 Georgia and No. 1 Alabama the next three weeks.

The good news? They won their third game of the year against the one loss, claiming a 17-13 victory. The bad? The looked rough, ragged and utterly inept, especially on offense, in doing so.

For the game, the Vols totaled 297 yards of offense 62 plays.  In the second half, they ran 31 plays and put up just 64 yards — and 26 of those came on their last drive of the game that didn’t involve a kneel-down.  Their eight possessions went punt, field goal, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, end of game.

So, how did the fans who showed up at Neyland Stadium express their frustration over the current state of the football program?  By morphing into empty seats, apparently.

Armed with a mediocre 30-21 record — and 14-19 mark in SEC play — Jones entered the 2017 season on the coaching hot seat. These last two weeks have done nothing to quiet such talk; in fact, it’s done nothing but ratchets up the calls for his coaching head on a platter.

Should Tennessee stumble against Georgia and Alabama in the coming weeks, all bets are off as to whether Jones will see a sixth season in Knoxville.