Football Looks for Victory Against Nichols Saturday

Football Looks for Victory Against Nichols Saturday

Oct. 21, 2009

NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's football team will look for their first win of the season when they host Nichols Saturday afternoon. Game time at Cressy Field is 12 noon.

The Corsairs are coming off a 49-14 loss to Salve Regina, and are 0-7 this season and 0-4 in the Boyd division. The Bison are coming off a 48-30 loss to Plymouth State, but had won three of their previous four games, and are 3-4 overall and 2-1 in division play.

"Nichols is a good football team, they beat Salve by a pretty good margin two weeks ago," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Mark Robichaud. "Their quarterback threw for over 300 yards last week, and they also have a very good running back in Robert Morris. He's one of the bigger, stronger running backs in the conference who has breakaway speed, and is a very effective back."

Despite the fact that the Corsairs are still looking for their initial victory of the season, they have been improving. "We're getting better," said Robichaud. "We lack some consistency, and we're still giving up the big play. Prior to last week, we had been one of the best teams in the conference on third down, but Salve converted 14 of 17 third downs, and you can't win when you are minus two or three in the turnover battle and the opposition makes 14 of 17 third downs, some of them being long yardage. We have to improve in that area."

Turnovers have been a problem, and UMD is striving to swing the pendulum in their favor. "We're working on that on both sides of the ball," said Robichaud. "(Freshman quarterback) Brendan (McNeish, Springfield, MA/Bridgton Academy) is a true freshman, and he is making better decisions, and our running backs are doing a better job of holding onto the ball. We're also not forcing fumbles or getting interceptions on defense."

The Bison are not an easy team to prepare for. "Offensively, they show about hundred different formations, and use a lot of shifting," said Robichaud. "They make you prepare all week for all the things they do, which is a very good philosophy. Their quarterback has a good and is very accurate, and Anthony Pillari is one of the top receivers in the league. Defensively, I think they have the best defensive line in the conference. They are talented and they are a very well-coached team."

Robichaud knows that early success could be a key to a successful week. "We'd like to get in the end zone more than twice, and we'd like to score first, not always be playing from behind, and give ourselves a better chance," Robichaud said. "In every game except the one against Fitchburg, we've had to play from behind, and against Fitchburg, we got the lead and we couldn't maintain it. If we can be successful in the red zone, limit our turnovers and not get behind early, it would help a lot."

The Corsairs will be home again next week, hosting Endicott in their final home game of the 2009 season. It will be Senior Day.