Aug. 31, 2011
NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-For the fourth year in a row, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's football team will begin their season at home. The Corsairs will begin 2011 action against Mount Ida this Friday evening. Kickoff at Cressy Field is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and admission is free.
UMD, which began their streak of opening at home with a memorable five-overtime loss to Worcester Polytechnic Institute three years ago and is 1-3 in openers under Head Coach Mark Robichaud, was 3-7 last year, which included a 37-15 win against Fitchburg State in the first game, will be playing the Mustangs for the first time.
"In the opening game, you're always going in a little bit blind," said Robichaud. "You have some idea of what they run offensively and defensively, but you need to be able to make lots of adjustments to what you're seeing. Our coaching staff has spent a lot of time on how we will adjust to what we see. We have a pretty good idea of what they will run, but we need to adjust to anything new that they do."
Mount Ida, which finished 6-5 last season and was picked third in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference, began the season 4-2, including a 41-16 win against Plymouth State, and returns a pair of pre-season All-Americans in 2010 selection Johrone Bunch, who missed part of last season due to injury, and 2011 selection Nick Lynch.
"They have some very good offensive weapons," said Robichaud. "Nick Lynch is a pre-season All-American as a wide receiver, and Johrone Bunch, who returns at running back, had great success last year. Their defensive end, A.J. Knibbs, is an outstanding player, and they have an accomplished quarterback returning in Scott Drosendahl. It should be a very good game."
It's always nice to play at home. "We're always happy to play at home and to play at night." said Robichaud. "We're not going to have any trouble getting up for the game. It will not be difficult to motivate our team for this game."
The Corsairs are looking to get the season off to a good start. "One of the things we've worked on is changing our mind set," said Robichaud. "With the lack of success that we've had in the past couple of years, we're trying to get our team to realize that if something bad happens, we're good enough to adapt to it, overcome it, and come back. One of the keys to being successful is how well our team handles any kind of adversity that we see."
Offensively, UMD is looking for a performance reminiscent of last year's opening game. "We need to score more points," said Robichaud. "We haven't put the ball in the end zone often enough. In the last years, we've been averaging less than two touchdowns a game, and that is something that has to change if we are to be successful."
The Corsairs will be home again next week, hosting Bridgewater State next Saturday evening.
UMASS DARTMOUTH FOOTBALL