Boston Herald

UMass coach Bell eyes homecoming at Florida State

- By Rich Thompson

UMass coach Walt Bell is in for a double homecoming on Saturday when the Minutemen visit Florida State.

FSU oddly scheduled its homecoming game in Tallahasse­e, Fla., against UMass, an independen­t program, as opposed to hosting available ACC rivals like Miami or North Carolina State.

Bell was the Seminoles’ offensive coordinato­r and quarterbac­ks coach for Willie Taggert in 2018 before taking the head position at UMass. Although his tenure at FSU was just over eight months, Bell developed a rich respect for the area, the institutio­n and the football program.

“It was great place to play, a great football town and football community with a wonderful fan base and stadium,” said Bell. “It’s homecoming, so it will be a great environmen­t to play.

“My wife (Maria) loved it there, it was a great town and we loved it there. It was a tough eight months in terms of wins and losses and expectatio­ns. But it was a great opportunit­y for me and my family to be at a place with a great football tradition like Florida State.”

UMass comes into the game having broken a 16game losing streak on Oct. 9 with a 27-13 victory over regional rival UConn at McGuirk Stadium. The Minutemen got a bye week to savor the victory before getting down to the business of Florida State, their third ACC opponent this season.

UMass unleashed a relentless ground game on the Huskies led by tailback Ellis Mayweather, who pounded out 171 yards on 39 carries with two touchdowns. Freshman quarterbac­k Brady Olson completed 10-of-22 passes for 162 yards. Florida State has surrendere­d 161.1 rushing yards per game.

“We are riding a wave and we have to make sure we continue that,” said Mayweather. “I feel ready, I feel prepared and I took this time over the bye to take care of my body and that was my focus.

“I think they will be a great opponent and I think it will be a great test for us. We are going to be prepared to execute and looking at their defense, they are very aggressive and very good up front.”

After starting the season 0-4, the Seminoles rebounded with wins over Syracuse and North Carolina. A victory against UMass gets the Seminoles halfway to bowl eligibilit­y.

FSU coach Mike Norvell has stocked his starting 11 on both sides with portal transfers, most notably quarterbac­k Jordan Travis (Louisville) and running back Jashaun Corbin (Texas A&M).

 ?? Ap FiLE ?? FLYING SOUTH: UMass coach Walt Bell will have a homecoming of sorts this weekend when the Minutemen travel to Florida State, where Bell was the Seminoles’ offensive coordinato­r and quarterbac­ks coach in 2018.
Ap FiLE FLYING SOUTH: UMass coach Walt Bell will have a homecoming of sorts this weekend when the Minutemen travel to Florida State, where Bell was the Seminoles’ offensive coordinato­r and quarterbac­ks coach in 2018.

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