FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Indiana already has won more games than it did all last season. Now it must try to keep winning without its top quarterback.
Tre Roberson scored on runs of 50 and 39 yards before suffering a season-ending broken left leg in a 45-6 win that spoiled Massachusetts’ first home game as a Football Bowl Subdivision member on Saturday.
Roberson’s injury spoiled the Hoosiers’ mood after a near-record offensive performance.
It kind of puts a damper on it a little bit, said Cameron Coffman, who replaced Roberson, but, at the same time, we’re happy to get the win, and we’re going to continue to move on, and we expect to keep winning even though Tre’s out.
Roberson, a sophomore, will be redshirted and isn’t expected back until camp next spring, coach Kevin Wilson said.
There was a little bit of a lull, when Roberson was loaded into an ambulance in the end zone and driven off the field, Wilson said. You’ve got to press on, move forward, and the neat thing (was) when he was pulling off in the ambulance, he asked the guys, Did he get the first down?’
Roberson didn’t after being tackled at the 2-yard line, and Mitch Ewald kicked a 19-yard field goal to make it 24-6 just over two minutes into the second quarter.
Wilson, 1-11 in his first season as coach last year, said Roberson was hurt when a player fell on the back of his legs.
He’s got good speed, and that’s the one thing we’re really going to miss, Wilson said.
Playing at Gillette Stadium, home of the three-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, the Minutemen (0-2) were no match for one of the Big Ten’s weaker teams. The Hoosiers (2-0) led 21-6 midway through the first quarter and already had totaled 223 yards.
At least the Minutemen did better than in their opener, a 37-0 loss at Connecticut, when they gained 59 yards with just three first downs. This time they gained 264 yards with 14 first downs.
Massachusetts moved to the Mid-American Conference after posting a 5-6 record last year, its fifth in the Colonial Athletic Association.
In the first meeting ever between the teams, both used a no-huddle offense throughout the game, with only 16,304 in attendance.
Indiana finished with 606 yards.
After each team punted on its first series, Roberson started Indiana’s next possession with a 50-yard burst up the middle for a touchdown on which he cut to the left at the 15-yard line to evade the final defender.
After Massachusetts scored on its second series, Indiana needed just four plays on its next possession to score as Roberson ran untouched – up the middle again – for a 39-yard touchdown.
The lanes or the holes were so big that maybe even a less skilled or a less gifted runner at the quarterback position would have had some chunks of yardage, UMass coach Charlie Molnar said.
Roberson then threw a 5-yard scoring pass to Shane Wynn as the Hoosiers opened their 21-6 lead.