FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Boston College beat in-state foe UMass 30-7 at Gillette Stadium on Saturday to kick off the 2014 season for both teams.
It was a beautiful afternoon for football, 75 degrees and sunny, and more than 30,000 showed up for what was being touted as the “Battle for the Bay State.”
And while it was closer than perhaps expected early (the score just 6-0 in favor of BC at the half), the Eagles used a massive advantage in time of possession to wear down the Minutemen defense and capitalized with two long TD drives in the third quarter to essentially end the battle.
How it happened: At the end of the third quarter, BC held a 314-3 edge in rushing yards. That’s not a typo. Because of lost yardage due to Blake Frohnapfel sacks, the Minutemen had a total of 12 rushes to their credit for just 3 yards.
And even when Frohnapfel hit Tajae Sharpe running open over the middle for a 77-yard TD, Sharpe outrunning BC defensive back Justin Simmons (who tried to club the ball free) and stretching the ball over the goal line, the Eagles had an answer. On the next possession, Tyler Murphy found Josh Bordner running free up the right side and hit him for an easy 43-yard TD.
That made the score 27-7, and kept the Minutemen from building any late momentum.
What it means: The Eagles start the season 1-0, getting solid performances on offense from transfer QB Murphy, sophomore RBs Myles Willis and Tyler Rouse, and on defense from linebacker Josh Keyes and defensive lineman Brian Mihalik (a sack each, to go with multiple pressures).
The Minutemen start Mark Whipple’s second stint 0-1, and despite hanging in during the first half, they couldn't get enough offense going to mount a serious challenge to their ACC opponent.
Up next: BC will host Pittsburgh on Friday night, Sept. 5, at Alumni Stadium (7 p.m. on ESPN). The Panthers hammered Delaware on Saturday, finishing the first half up 42-0 with sophomore running back James Conner tallying 13 carries for 145 yards and four TDs before the break.
UMass will host Colorado on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 6, at Gillette Stadium (3 p.m. on ESPN3). The Buffaloes will be looking to bounce back after they dropped a 31-17 decision to in-state rival Colorado State in their opener this past Friday. Colorado had a 17-7 lead in the third quarter but allowed the Rams to score the last 24 points of the game.
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.