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UMass adds future football games vs. BC and UConn

BC, UConn part of future slates

UMass players warmed up before their game against Akron in November.
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press
UMass players warmed up before their game against Akron in November.

The University of Massachusetts announced Thursday changes to its 2016 football schedule, as well as the addition of future games against Boston College and the University of Connecticut.

UMass and BC were scheduled to play on Sept. 17, 2016, but the game has been moved up a week to Sept. 10 at Gillette Stadium. A new home-and-home series with BC will begin in 2021 at Gillette and continue in 2022 at BC’s Alumni Stadium.

A four-year series against UConn was also added to the Minutemen’s schedule, with matchups in 2018 and 2020 at UConn and in 2019 and 2021 at Gillette Stadium. Two previously scheduled games for 2016 and 2017 have been canceled.

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“In essence, we made changes to our 2016 and 2017 schedules to allow UConn and Boston College an opportunity to start a home-and-home series,” said UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford. “We fully understand and support that a BC-UConn matchup will help New England college football gain traction nationally.

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“UMass has always believed that the collective goal of the three New England FBS schools should be to collaborate often and build a strong partnership to further enhance the culture of college football in this region. With this news, I think we are making progress on this goal.”

Games against Florida International were also added, at UMass’s McGuirk Stadium in 2016 and at FIU in 2019.

What a run for Henry

Alabama junior Derrick Henry was the biggest star of college football’s awards night, as he won the Maxwell Award, given to the college player of the year, and the Doak Walker Award given to the nation’s top running back. Henry rushed for 1,986 yards to break Herschel Walker’s Southeastern Conference single-season record and lead Alabama to the College Football Playoff.

Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich (126 tackles, 5 interceptions, 4.5 sacks) corralled the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the nation’s defensive player of the year.

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After piloting Clemson (13-0) to the No. 1 ranking, sophomore Deshaun Watson captured the Davey O'Brien Award as the nation’s top quarterback. He has thrown for more than 3,500 yards with 30 touchdowns and run for 900 more and 11 scores.

Stanford guard Joshua Garnett won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman. On the strength of a 74-catch, 1,363-yard, 20-touchdown campaign, Baylor junior Corey Coleman won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver. Iowa junior corner Desmond King (eight interceptions) snared the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back. UCLA kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn earned the Lou Groza Award after converting 20 of his 23 field-goal attempts, including a 60-yarder. Utah punter Tom Hackett repeated as the Ray Guy Award winner after the Austrialian-born senior averaged a career-best 47.8 yard per boot.

UMass senior receiver Tajae Shape (Division 1-leading 111 catches) was a second-team selection on the Walter Camp All-American team.

Dykes staying at Cal

California and Sonny Dykes (13-23 overall) agreed to a contract extension after the third-year coach guided the Bears to a 7-5 record and a berth in the Armed Forces Bowl against Air Force. Dykes interviewed for the opening at Missouri that was eventually filled by Barry Odom . . . Texas A&M sophomore quarterback Kyle Allen is transferring from the school immediately. In 10 games, he threw for 2,210 yards with 17 touchdowns, but was benched in favor of freshman Kyler Murray after tossing three pick-sixes against Alabama in October . . . Arkansas State players Chris Stone (defensive line) and Tyler Trosin (receiver) were suspended for the New Orleans Bowl Dec. 19 against Louisiana after their arrest on drug charges earlier this week . . . Ohio State senior defensive lineman Adolphus Washington was cited for solicitation and is due in court in Dec. 17. Coach Urban Meyer will discipline Washington when he returns from a recruiting trip.