The Northwestern Wildcats will host the Massachusetts Minutemen in a late-season inter-conference battle Saturday afternoon from Ryan Field. The Minutemen were crushed 63-7 by Army last week, and the Wildcats are coming off a 24-22 home loss to Purdue in their latest action. There are no previous matchups between these two teams.
Minutemen Defense Stumbles Again in 5th Straight Loss
The Massachusetts Minutemen continue to get shelled by their opposition. The Minutemen have the worst defense in the FBS and their struggles resumed in an ugly 63-7 road loss to Army last week in a game that had UMass labeled as 34.5 point dogs. The Minutemen usually give both Andrew Brito and Randall West playing time. Brito has seen the most action. The junior QB has tallied 763 passing yards with a 7:6 TD to INT ratio, while West has 558 passing yards with four touchdowns against four picks.
UMass has experienced some success on the ground. Bilal Ally is having a strong season, accumulating 660 rushing yards on an average of 5.3 yards per attempt. The junior back has rushed for at least 90 yards three times. The Minutemen do not have a receiver with over 300 receiving yards. Jermaine Johnson Jr. leads the way with 284 yards. UMass has scored 21 or fewer points in three out of their last four games.
The Minutemen defense is having an abysmal season. They haven’t been able to stop any opponent and have surrendered over 50 points five times this season. Umass’ lone win occurred against Akron. They are currently averaging 20.7 points, ranking them 113th in the FBS. The Minutemen have an awful defense that is squandering an average of 53.1 points, placing the last at 130th overall, and they own a 0-5 road record.
Northwestern Stuck at One Victory
The Northwestern Wildcats' disastrous season continues. Northwestern has dropped seven consecutive games which included a 24-22 home loss to Purdue in a tilt that had the Wildcats as a one-point favorite. They also remain winless in Big Ten play. Northwestern has rotated between Hunter Johnson and Aidan Smith this season. Smith got the start last week and tallied 181 passing yards. Both QB’s are struggling in a big way. Smith has 684 passing yards 3:7 TD to INT ratio, and Johnson has 432 passing yards with a 1:4 TD to INT ratio.
The Wildcats usually run the ball more than pass. They are led by Drake Anderson. The freshman back has rushed for less than 60 yards in four straight games, and he has a total of 498 rushing yards. Riley Lees has made 13 receptions in his last two games, and he has collected 254 receiving yards on the season. The Wildcats offense has struggled both on the air and on the ground.
The Northwestern defense has been the lone bright spot this season. They have contained some of their Big Ten opponents this season with a pass defense that stands 34th in the FBS, while their rush defense is at 56th. The Wildcats are only averaging 11.1 points, pegging them down at 129th in the country. They are allowing an average of 25.4 points, positioning them 50th in the FBS. Northwestern stands at 1-4 on their home field.
The Massachusetts Minutemen are:
- 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games against a team with a losing record.
- 0-5 ATS in their last 5 road games.
- 5-16 ATS in their last 21 games overall.
The top supporting trends for this game found on covers.com are as follows: The Northwestern Wildcats are:
- 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 November games.
- 25-5-1 ATS in their last 31 games after allowing less than 100 rushing yards in their previous game.
- 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 home games against a team with a losing record.