Minutemen To Watch

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Minutemen To Watch

Andy Isabella - Photo: UMass Athletics
Andy Isabella
Photo: UMass Athletics

The leading FBS division pass receiver in the nation is coming between the hedges this Saturday. UMass’ senior wideout Isabella, at 5-10, 190-pound, entered this past weekend’s game with Brigham Young with 77 catches for a whopping 1,394 yards and 11 touchdowns. In the Minutemen’s 62-59 triple-overtime win over Liberty on Nov. 3, Isabella set a new program record with 303 receiving yards. It goes without saying the Georgia secondary has its work cut out Saturday in attempting to defend Isabella, who’s on both the Biletnikoff and Paul Hornung Watch Lists this season.
And getting the ball to Andy Isabella will be UMass quarterback Comis, a 6-0, 195-pound redshirt senior who assumed the QB reins after three-year starter Andrew Ford suffered a torn ACL against Coastal Carolina on Oct. 20. Although Ford had passed for nearly 7,000 yards and 57 touchdowns in his past three seasons at the UMass controls, Comis hasn’t missed a beat. He threw for a near-record 540 yards and four touchdowns in the shootout win over Liberty and will be teaming with Isabella to provide a huge test for the Bulldogs’ defense on Saturday.

Bryton Barr - Photo: UMass Athletics
Bryton Barr
Photo: UMass Athletics

By far the Minutemen’s leading tackler this season with 125-plus stops, this 6-0, 225-pound graduate student was also UMass’ top tackler in 2017 when he was named a Phil Steele All-Independent First Team selection. Also the team’s leader in sacks and tackles-for-loss, Barr is on the Butkus Award Watch list this season and will be primed to disrupt Georgia’s attack when the Bulldogs go on offense between the hedges Saturday.
When Comis and Isabella aren’t doing their thing in the Massachusetts’ passing game, the Minutemen are giving the ball to Young, a 6-1, 210-pound senior who boasts both power and speed. Young has been the team’s leading rusher the past two seasons; thus, the Bulldogs can’t put all their attention on the UMass passing game — they must also put the clamps on No. 8 before he gets up a head of steam.

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Murray Poole is a 1965 graduate of the University of Georgia Journalism School. He served as sports editor of The Brunswick News for 40 years and has written for Bulldawg Illustrated the past 16 years. He has covered the Georgia Bulldogs for 53 years.