NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's football team will conclude their three-game, season-opening road trip when they visit Framingham State Saturday. Kickoff at Maple Street Field is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.
The Corsairs enter the game at 0-2 after losing at Bridgewater State last Saturday, 31-6. The Rams rebounded from a season-opening loss to Endicott and won at Nichols last week, 34-6, and is 1-1.
"Framingham State is a very good football team," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Mark Robichaud. "Melikke Van Alstyne is arguable the best running back in the conference. He had 220 yards and their quarterback (Matthew Mangano) had 170. They do a very good job of running the ball. Defensively, they're very similar to what we saw at Bridgewater, they're big and strong, and very aggressive."
The Corsairs are looking to taste success for the first time this season. "We've worked hard all season, and we need a win," said Robichaud. "We're not going to settle for what happened last week. We're running our new, up-tempo offense, and we're getting better at it every day. We're understanding the concepts better each week, and (Offensive Coordinator) Josh Sylvester has done a great job developing the offense, and continuing to tweak it as we go through the season."
UMass Dartmouth has played well defensively this season, and they will have to do so again if they are to be successful. "We're starting to find our stride defensively," said Robichaud. "Van Alstyne runs very low and very hard, and he is a very good football player. We have to do a good job on him in order to be successful. Being able to stop him will be the key to the game defensively for us."
While Van Alstyne is their top runner, the Corsairs can't afford to overlook Mangano. "Their quarterback does a great job carrying the ball," said Robichaud. "He makes good decisions. They don't throw the ball that often, but when they do, they have the ability to hurt you there as well."
UMD would prefer to jump out on top early. "Getting ahead early gives your team confidence, and we've got to get better at it," said Robichaud. "We haven't gotten ahead enough, and we need to get ahead and stay ahead."
If the Corsairs can control the Rams, they can succeed. "They key is being able to control their running game," said Robichaud. "Our offense did pretty well against Mount Ida, but then we stalled against Bridgewater. We've got to get our offense back on track as well."
The home opener is next Saturday against Plymouth State. It will also be homecoming.
UMASS DARTMOUTH FOOTBALL