AMHERST — Trey Dudley-Giles stood near the goal line waiting to do what he does best, what he does better than most. The University of Massachusetts sophomore is an anomaly for the low-octane Minutemen: a threat to produce positive yardage quickly and painlessly. His 24-yard kick-return average places him among the leaders in the Mid-American Conference, and he was poised to get UMass off to a good start.
Western Michigan took the field for that opening kickoff last Saturday as a winless team, but not necessarily an unprepared team. Smartly, the Broncos angled the kick away from Dudley-Giles. The ball landed at the 10-yard line in the arms of another sophomore defensive back, Khary Bailey-Smith, who had never before returned a kick for the Minutemen. It seemed like a safe play.