By Zander Manning
Going into the end of what is Week 3 for UMass and Week 2 for just about the rest of the college football world, coach Mark Whipple had a decision to make regarding who would start vs. Georgia Southern on Saturday: or so we thought.
On Wednesday, Whipple made it absolutely clear to the world who would be starting in Statesboro on Saturday.
“Andrew’s the starter, he has been the whole way,” Whipple said. “Ross (Comis) will play, we have some things for him, but both those guys practiced well.”
In the 2017 edition of UMass vs. Georgia Southern, both quarterbacks played and excelled in a matchup that saw the Minutemen take down the Eagles 55-20 at McGuirk Alumni Stadium in Amherst to conclude an undefeated October.
In 2017, then-redshirt junior Ross Comis completed 12-of-16 passes for 193 yards and three touchdowns, while classmate Andrew Ford completed 9-of-12 passes for 157 yards and one touchdown. Comis also rushed the ball five times for 46 yards, giving him 239 all-purpose yards on the day.
Despite both playing well, Whipple said his squad’s plan of attack doesn’t change much with who’s at quarterback. Junior running back Bilal Ally echoed this statement.
“No, honestly I’m doing my job no matter which quarterback’s in protecting them and that’s how we do it,” Ally said. “They have a few different plays, but when it comes down to it, they both make plays for the team and pass effectively.”
As for Ford and Comis, they don’t really see there being a clear-cut starter on the team despite what Whipple says.
“We know our positions on the team, we each bring a different game plan out there,” Comis said. “When teams see Andrew out there, they have to prepare differently. We both realize that, we both help the team with our respective skill-sets.”
According to Whipple, Ford is a leader on the team and when he speaks, whether it’s on or off the field, game day or practice day, people listen and he is heard.
“(The team knows) he’s the leader,” Whipple said. “He did well at the end of the year and it carried over and was sort of the player of the year, he’s carried that leadership and production into this season.”
On Saturday, look for both quarterback to play and, if all goes well for the Minutemen, to play well. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.