AMHERST — Rob Blanchflower’s college football career is over.
The University of Massachusetts senior tight end and captain has been declared inactive for Friday’s game at Ohio with an undisclosed injury that has had him in and out of the lineup all season.
“There isn’t a more competitive guy on our team than Rob. If he could be out there with the Minutemen and his fellow seniors, there’s no doubt in my mind that he would be leading the charge,” UMass coach Charley Molnar said in a statement released by UMass. “Due to a series of unfortunate setbacks, we feel it is Rob’s best interest to allow him to rest and recover. I am confident that once his injury heals, he’ll shift his focus to the next phase of his football career, which will be preparing himself for the NFL draft.”
Blanchflower leaves UMass as the school’s career leader in receiving yards for a tight end with 1,164 yards on 109 catches.
Senior offensive lineman Anthony Dima is questionable for Friday. Running backs Lorenzo Woodley and Jamal Wilson missed practice and are doubtful.
MORE ABROKWAH — Woodley and Wilson’s continued health woes likely mean another heavy load for true freshman walk-on Shadrach Abrokwah, who rushed for 93 yards on 20 carries against Central Michigan.
Molnar, who has lauded the Worcester native’s potential, defended burning Abrokwah’s redshirt this late in the season.
“My obligation is to the team not just to one individual We knew this is our lot. We’re going to have to use him next game also,” Molnar said. “We knew our best chance for success was to get the run game going. We didn’t have anyone else who could run the ball besides Shad.”
Abrokwah was proud of his effort.
“It felt great. I was kind of nervous at first, but my teammates were encouraging me all the way through,” he said. “I ran hard and did my job. It all played out well.”
Abrokwah didn’t question Molnar’s decision to use him.
“Losing my redshirt was for a good cause,” Abrokwah said. “It was to help the team out. If that’s the sacrifice I have to make, so be it.”
He felt the effort was the first step toward proving he can play at this level despite starting his career as a walk-on.
“I may have been overlooked a little bit. My parents always told me to work hard and prove yourself on the field,” he said. “It’s shown so far.”
Enough to eventually earn a scholarship?
“Hopefully,” he said.
DOYLE STILL STARTING, BATTLING — After one of his worst games of the season in Saturday’s loss to Central Michigan, sophomore quarterback A.J. Doyle was hoping to bounce back.
“It’s extremely important, both personally for me and for the team as well. We have to get some momentum going into the offseason. Obviously we know we have the talent. We just have to get something going,” he said. “I’ve been so inconsistent throughout the season, there’s a lot of things I need to prove to myself. If I’m able to do those things I can really help my teammates out trying to get a win.”