UMass' Blanchflower on Mackey watch list

October, 15, 2013
10/15/13
7:24
PM ET
He had what might be the play of the season for Massachusetts on Saturday, and he was included on the midseason watch list for a prestigious award on Tuesday.

Not a bad few days to be UMass captain Rob Blanchflower.

First, the highlight-reel catch.

With the Minutemen trailing Miami (Ohio) 10-7 in the third quarter of their Mid-American Conference East division matchup at Gillette Stadium, Blanchflower ran a post route out of the right slot on second-and-11 at the RedHawks’ 47-yard line.

Quarterback A.J. Doyle faked the handoff, set his feet and looked deep for the 6-foot-4, 260-pound tight end. The pass was underthrown, and two RedHawks defenders converged on what looked like a possible interception. But the ball glanced off one of the defenders and popped up and into Blanchflower’s arms just ahead of another on-rushing defender.

The Leominster, Mass., native pulled the ball in and sprinted untouched into the end zone for what would prove to be the game-winning score.

The 47-yard TD also put Blanchflower over 1,000 yards receiving for his career, as he finished with five catches for 98 yards and the TD on Saturday to push his career totals to 97 catches for 1,007 yards in 35 games.

On Tuesday, the big tight end found his name among 29 included on the John Mackey Award midseason watch list. The award, given annually to the nation’s top tight end, will be announced Dec. 12, with semifinalists announced Nov. 18 and finalists announced Nov. 26.

Limited by injuries this season, the redshirt senior has 15 catches for 156 yards through three appearances for the Minutemen (1-5, 1-1 MAC). His next shot at stocking the highlight reels comes Saturday afternoon at Buffalo (4-2, 2-0).

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.

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