It’s impossible to score nine points on one play in football. Some people are going to troll me and say that you can’t score seven or eight points on one play alone. The reality is that a touchdown directly leads to an extra point or two point conversion attempt, and there is no way for the offense to score three points on the post-touchdown conversion.
In baseball, people sometimes refer to hitters as “trying to hit a five-run homer” when they take huge swings that usually end up making little-to-no contact with the ball. Similarly, this segment is going to look at the nine players on the opposing team that will either try their hardest to, or be in the best position to score nine points on a single play and upend our beloved Badgers on the upcoming Saturday.
(1) Mike Wegzyn: Quarterback, Redshirt Sophomore. Height: 6-5 Weight: 225
Wegzyn, #11, is a big boy. Last season, the Minutemen (lolz) freshman started 11 games at the most important position on the field in UMass’s first season of Division I-A football because of an injury to the presumed starter. He threw six touchdowns and ten interceptions last year, and averaged 165.9 yards passing and 12.8 yards rushing per game. As the decision-maker and signal-caller on an up-tempo, spread offense, he is in the best position of anyone on the opposition’s roster to be responsible for a nine-point play during the game. Also, that last sentence had three hyphenated words.
(2) Ricardo Miller: Tight End, Fifth-year Senior. Height: 6-4 Weight: 226
Miller, #80, is a fifth-year senior transfer that spent his first four years as a back-up at Michigan despite being a four-star recruit out of high school. This dude is actually smaller than the starting quarterback. Miller has never caught a pass in a game, but clearly has physical tools. Since he came from Michigan, he probably has the ego to believe that he could, in fact, score nine points on a single play.
(3) Tajae Sharpe: Wide Receiver, Sophomore. Height: 6-2 Weight: 185
Sharpe, #1, recorded 206 receiving yards on 20 catches last year and is the only receiver with significant playing experience for UMass. His stats are basically the same stats that Montee Ball had against Nebraska in the B1G Championship Game (202 yards on 21 carries). As you can see, we’re only on the third player (out of nine!) and I feel like I’m standing on my toes, trying to reach a glass on the top shelf, and failing to come down with anything but disappointment. For the love of football, this guy didn’t even score a touchdown last year, and he’s the team’s top receiver. There’s no way this dude scores nine catches in the game, let alone nine points on a single play.
(4) Blake Lucas: Kicker, Sophomore. Height: 5-8 Weight 166
Blake Lucas, #98, didn’t even break 40 yards for his longest field goal last year. His longest make was from 39 yards out against Buffalo, but I shouldn’t poke fun at him because it would probably take me two kicks to travel 39 yards total. Apparently I was big enough to play Division I football, after all. I’m even an inch taller than this guy, whose team picture looks like he’s trying to model for Abercrombie & Fitch. Last season, he made 7-of-8 field goals and converted 8-of-9 PAT’s for a total of 29 points. Made field goals are worth three points, for those of you that didn’t know. As a result, “Golden Toe” actually has the BEST chance of anyone on his team to score nine points, but if UMass is even in position to attempt three field goals throughout the course of the game I will be shocked and appalled.
(5) Stacey Bedell: Running Back, Redshirt Freshman. Height: 5-10 Weight: 180
Bedell, #23, isn’t the best running back for this amalgamation of young men that originally committed to play Division 1-AA football, but he is the one being fed to Wisconsin as an early lunch on Saturday. The top sacrificial lamb was supposed to be Jordan Broadnax, who was the team's third-leading rusher last season with 124 yards and a touchdown in 2012 and had been the leader in the clubhouse for the position through much of training camp. The Minutemen are countering James White and Melvin Gordon with a backup running back that has three carries for ZERO yards and one catch for ten yards in his career. If you add up his career carries and receptions, you are almost halfway to nine, so there’s that.
(6) Randall Jette: Cornerback, Redshirt Sophomore. Height: 5-11 Weight: 180
Jette, #4, started all 12 games as a redshirt freshman last year. He finished fourth on the squad with 53 total tackles (30 solo) while recording two interceptions, four pass breakups and one more tackle-for-loss than you or I had. This will be a
battle, skirmish, match-up, fun day where Wisconsin’s #4 lines up against Massachusetts’s #4. They both have pretty sweet names. Jette may see nine plays that go for touchdowns against his team while he’s on the field, so he’s a nine-point player.
(7) Stanley Andre: Middle Linebacker, Redshirt Junior. Height: 6-2 Weight: 240
Andre, #35, is the second player on my list that is legally old enough to drink. UMass’s roster is YOUNG. The middle linebacker for the Minutemen started all 12 games last season…on the defensive line. There, he recorded 41total tackles (16 solo), 4 tackles for loss, one sack and forced a fumble. He came out of the gates on fire last year against UConn, a game in which he set his career high for tackles in a game with six stops. Andre was a quarterback in high school, so if he plays six more positions in the next two seasons, he will be a nine-point player.
(8) Justin Anderson: Fifth-year Senior, Defensive End. Height: 6-5 Weight: 280
Anderson, #50, is a transfer like Ricardo Miller. He played four seasons for Maryland, but had four different defensive coordinators and battled through injuries. He was, however, a highly regarded defensive lineman ranked No. 60 nationally among strong-side defensive ends by Rivals.com when he was a high school senior. According to the Boston Globe, Anderson wound up at UMass because he wants to prove to himself that he still has ‘it’; that he can still can go out there and compete in the top Division 1 level. If you combine the number of years he’s played college football (5) with the number of head coaches he’s had (3), you get eight points. I’m hurting here.
(9) Charley Molnar: Head Coach, Second Year. 2012 Record: 1-11 (1-7).
Molnar, 52, is “…a New Jersey native fueled by morning runs and an occasional Diet Coke who, despite the odds, maintains optimism.” (see the link above for the article). He was the offensive coordinator for two seasons at Notre Dame before he took over the Massachusetts Minutemen amid their leap from Division 1-AA to Division 1-A. Molnar has also coached at Cincinnati and Central Michigan. Last season was his first one as a head coach, and the team finished 1-11 (1-7 in the Mid-American Conference). The Akron Zips were gracious enough to spare UMass from a winless season.
THIS IS THE BEST PART: Molnar has EIGHT children, ONE of whom is a coach on his staff. You know where I’m headed with this…8+1 = 9 because Math. Coach Molnar, I applaud you for staying positive while your team treks through the unenviable task of playing a D-1 schedule with D-1AA talent. If you team scores nine points or more this Saturday, you ought to be very happy.