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UMass football reaches attendance mark, avoids NCAA probation

Massachusetts football fan Bill Driscoll places his hat over his heart and closes his eyes during the band's playing of the national anthem before an NCAA college football game against Akron in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

Massachusetts football fan Bill Driscoll places his hat over his heart and closes his eyes during the band's playing of the national anthem before an NCAA college football game against Akron in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

By MATT VAUTOUR @GazetteUMass
Saturday, November 16, 2013
(Published in print: Monday, November 18, 2013)

A crowd of 10,599 watched the Minutemen fall to Akron, 14-13 Saturday at Gillette Stadium.

It gave UMass 94,981 fans over six home games for an average of 15,830, the largest average attendance in program history. The Minutemen needed to average 15,000 to avoid probation.

Next year, UMass will play three home games on campus at McGuirk Stadium and three more at Gillette Stadium.

ATOP HIS POSITION — Senior Rob Blanchflower’s five catches for 26 yards gave him 1,164 yards receiving in his career, the most ever by a UMass tight end. He passed UMass legend Milt Morin, who had 1,151.

“It’s an honor to receive the record. Hopefully I’ll have a couple more yards this season, but it’s kind of a hollow feeling (in a loss),” Blanchflower said. “Milt Morin was a legend. He and I come from the same city (Leominster). It’s a memorable event, but I wish it could have happened differently I guess.”

SENIOR DAY — Blanchflower was one of 18 seniors honored before the game. He was joined by David Osei, Ricardo Miller, Justin Anderson, Vincent Westcarr, Jeff Strait, Brandon Potvin, Brendon Levengood, Anthony Dima, Galen Clemons, Kevin Byrne, Tom Brandt, Vance Barton, Antoine Tharpe, Colter Johnson, Devin Brown, Matthew Quinn and Greg Orekoya.

Quinn is a redshirt junior, but is choosing to graduate rather than use a fifth year of eligibility.

Molnar praised the group.

“They played really hard throughout the season and the past two years. Today was no different,” he said. “I fully expect our seniors will continue to lead this football team as we go into the final two games. My heart breaks for them that we didn’t win our last home game here.”

MISCELLANEOUS — Since becoming the starting place kicker, Levengood has made all six field goal attempts. ... Former UMass tight end Jerome Lewis had one catch for minus-1 yard for the Zips. ... UMass recovered three opponent fumbles for the first time since 2008.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage

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