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Cookin’ Up the Competition: UMass Edition

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This is a very important game.

Mississippi State v Massachusetts Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

Well, it’s November and the college football season is still chugging along. The Dawgs are #16 in the first College Football Playoff rankings, bowl bound for the eighth-straight season with 4 games left and Dan Mullen is being rumored for the Florida head coaching job (which he isn’t taking.) Just how we this thought this season would go, right?

This week on our Q&A, we have Jack Godar from Underdog Dynasty, the SB Nation home for non-Power 5 college football. Here’s our conversation:

1) After a less than ideal start to the 2017 season, the Minutemen found themselves at 0-6 with none of their losses being decided by more than 10 points. Now with two consecutive wins strung together now, has UMass finally found their stride to finish out the season? What is the general attitude around the fanbase about the current state of Minutemen football?

Jack: The win over Georgia Southern was encouraging mostly in how emphatic is was. However, the Appalachian State win really gives the team a lot of momentum that they might be able to build off against Mississippi State. However, they just as easily could revert to playing teams close and then losing due to ill-timed gaffes. As for the fanbase, it's exciting to see UMass finally winning games, instead of falling just short time and time again.

2) As fans of a team in the deeply rooted Southeastern Conference, many of our readers are unfamiliar with the idea of being an Independent football program. What does that mean specifically for UMass as a whole athletics program as well as fans of the Minutemen?

UMass is only independent in football. For other sports they're in the A-10 conference. However, being an independent school means that it's hard for rivalries to form(already tough given how few FBS schools are in the Northeast) and they travel all over the country. I mean, they had a home and home series with the University of Hawaii. I think that's probably the most representative.

3) What are some names that Bulldog fans should make themselves familiar with before the game this weekend, both on offense and defense?

Most of UMass' stars are on the offensive side of the ball. Ross Comis will be the starting quarterback after Andrew Ford sustained a scary neck injury on a cheap shot against App State that led to him being taken off the field on a stretcher. Marquise Young and Bilal Ally form a dangerous tandem in the backfield. However, the big star is tight end Adam Brenaman. He's one of the best tight ends in the NCAA, and at 6'5, 260 with good speed, he's almost unguardable.

4) UMass rolls into town Saturday touting the 37th best offense in the nation, while the Bulldogs are sitting at the #7 spot in total defense. How do you expect the Minutemen to attack Todd Grantham's defense?

I think they're going to try to establish themselves on the ground. Comis is more of a mobile quarterback than Ford, and I expect the UMass offensive game plan to take advantage of that.

5) Could you be so kind to explain what exactly a "Minuteman" is?

It's one of those Revolutionary War soliders who were famed for being ready at a minute's notice.

6) PREDICTION TIME: Right now, the Dawgs are currently 28 point favorites over the Minutemen of UMass. Who are you putting your hypothetical money on how do you see this game playing out on Saturday?

I think Miss. State will win but they won't cover the spread.