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Close doesn't count for Molnar's Minutemen

10/1/2012

Close doesn't count.

That would seem to be the message Charley Molnar wants his UMass team to take away from its 37-34 loss to MAC-leading Ohio at Gillette Stadium on Saturday.

"It was a very disappointing afternoon," the Minutemen coach said on his weekly conference call Monday morning. "Our guys really had a number of chances to win the football game and we didn't take advantage of those opportunities, so of course we're disappointed.

"I guess the bright spot is that we were in a position to win the game deep into the fourth quarter. Had every opportunity to do so, we just didn't finish the job."

Redshirt freshman quarterback Mike Wegzyn threw 51 times in the loss, completing 27 passes for 373 yards and four touchdowns. But the Minutemen couldn't do enough on defense to stop Bobcats back Beau Blankenship, who had 43 totes for 269 yards and three scores.

UMass led 27-20 entering the fourth quarter, it just couldn't hold off Ohio. The Bobcats improved to 5-0 with the win, while the Minutemen dropped to 0-5 (0-2 MAC) in their first season at the FBS level.

Though it is encouraging that they were as competitive as they were, Molnar isn't looking for moral victories. The Minutemen have to get actual wins on the board.

"No doubt about it," he said. "Our guys really, really played to win. They were very, very quiet on the bus on the way home. Very, very disappointed that they didn't win. I certainly don't think anyone thought of that as a moral victory at all.

"That's the first time I've even thought of it ... as a matter of fact."

Molnar said he wants his team to work on being relentless, to play as hard as possible for as long as possible and only look up at the scoreboard to see what that work has produced at the end of the fourth quarter.

If they can do that, the Minutemen won't just be close. They'll be counting W's instead of L's.

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