GAME #43
Saturday, August 25, 2018

Duquesne Dukes: 0-0
@ Massachusetts Minutemen: 0-0

McGuirk Alumni Stadium

Amherst, Massachusetts

Trip Dates 8/25/2018 – 8/26/2018
School University of Massachusetss – Amherst
Visiting Team Duquesne Dukes
Pre-game Record: 0-0
Home Team Massachusetts Minutemen
Pre-game Record: 0-0
Game Time (ET) 5:30 PM Eastern
Weather 78 & Sunny
Attendees Jarrett, Al, Jake, Nate, Mac, & Trey
Jarrett’s Pick Massachusetts Minutemen
(28 and 14 record)
Al’s Pick Massachusetts Minutemen
(20 and 22 record)
Attendance 8,684
Capacity 17,000
TV Eleven Sports Network
Length of Game 2:58
Seat Location Variable – We moved to the shady side in the stands and stood down by fence line. We moved around.
Miles Traveled 430
Photo Album Click here for the UMass Photo Album

The 2018 Quest season gets underway with a Week 0 contest at UMass. Yes, that is correct, Week 0. Four games will be played on this weekend, and we are headed to the first that will kick off. UMass presented us with an opportunity that could not be passed up by the powers that be at Quest Headquarters, a game before school starts for our kids. So, Al had his three boys in tow and I had Jake along for the ride. Haley was unable to go due to the SAT’s. Yup, she is a senior and will be heading off to college in a year or so. Will she attend a school not yet done on the Quest?

As Al had the three row car, he arrived promptly on Saturday at 7am for our departure. As Haley would say, “I thought he was coming at 7:15”. It had to be explained that with three boys, everything is a range, as you just never know. But things were clearly off to a good start,until we arrived at the bagel store, which was closed for vacation. “Got that? The whole store got the flu”…Name that movie. Dunkin’ it was, despite Trey insisting that 7-Eleven was better. I don’t think so.

To answer your questions….

  • Al was the first to say “Are we there yet?”, and no we had not gotten to the highway yet
  • He was not the only one to say this for the 2.5 hour drive
  • Conversation did flow from, “I want to be there” (don’t we all), into how to make portals so this is possible and we don’t need to do the drive
  • Al finally got E-Z Pass, now that it does not matter since it is all cashless tolling

Basketball Hall of Fame
We arrived at the basketball hall of fame right before it opened, which was our target. Thank you to UMass for kickoff being at 5:30, which allowed us to make this stop. I just hoped we had enough time before we had to leave for Amherst.

I did not have to worry. We started on the third floor and worked our way down. There were a few highlights including; pop-a-shot, rebounding tests, doing a radio call, and a blue screen animation video. But overall, it was not too engaging. The kids quickly made it down to the center court, where we spent most of our time. There were dunking baskets at various heights to test your jumping ability, a variety of rims and hoops to show the evolution starting from the peach basket, and a full basketball court.

Jake was riding a high, having taken me for $5 in pop-a-shot. Probably my first loss in pop-a-shot to anyone at any time. He was anxious to press his luck. After losing to Al shooting free throws, he thought his luck would be different with me. At $1 per shot, he quickly went from +$5 to -$5. He should have quit when he was ahead. Speaking of, when did Springfield get a casino. Turns out it the grand opening of MGM Springfield was yesterday. But I digress. Jake pressed his luck and we moved onto horse. He was now down $10. I ended it there as it could have turned much uglier.

Shooting hoops, we ran into a Duquesne player’s dad at center court. We got to talking and he said to pick UMass. Not a good sign for Duquesne. And did I just get inside information?

We finished up at the hall by 11:25. I guess we paid a premium to shoot some baskets. It was a nice pit stop but I would not schedule a whole day visit.

Lunch was at the attached burger bar. The children’s menu had some games on it. Conversation got to tic-tac-toe and a challenge was issued. I would play 10 games of tic-tac-toe with Jake and I had to win 1 game and not lose any. So if Jake won even once, I lost. Jake clearly does not know the trick. I won 3 to his 0. Jake was now down $15. No more betting for him. Afterwards, I taught him the trick.

A short drive later, we arrived in Amherst at UMass. Coming into town, we noticed a heavy police presence at intersections. It was 4.5 hours before kickoff at a stadium that holds 17,000. Seriously? And clearly this was overtime, because they used their own trucks and not police vehicles. Again, seriously?

We parked and did our usual shopping at the bookstore. Jake and Nate managed to buy the same shirt. Trey and Mac were full participants in the shopping as well, with Mac getting his football gloves he so desperately wanted. However, I did not have success. I could not find a shirt to my liking and in a first time ever, could not find a shot glass worth purchasing. I figured we would try another store, but we could not find any, except WalMart which was a bust . Al would like to interject here and make reference to a Jarrett comment from years ago that went something like ”who goes to a mall to go shopping on a football trip?”. Well, clearly Al isn’t the only one!! The internet would have to do, but the selection online was even worse. I did find one to buy, even though I did not like it. The store emailed me back they were out of stock. We will see if it ever arrives. Not good.

We then proceeded to walk down to where some of the sports facilities were located. Everything was locked up, except for the practice ice arena. That was the thing open in August. Anyway, it was good because it gave us a respite from the heat. Open skating would not be open until later, but we were able to go down and put a foot on the ice before the lady banged on the glass at us. We were all thirsty and cranky so it was a good thing Al had singles for the soda and snack machines. What Al was doing with all those singles is a topic for another day. Also, why is the women’s tennis locker room in the ice arena?

We then walked around a bit more. Then it occurred to us that there are no people on this campus. As we came to realize, the one thing about an August Quest game, school may not have started yet. Turns out UMass doesn’t start classes until after Labor Day. This made for a very quiet campus. A campus that I should say reminded me a lot of Buffalo. See the trip report on Buffalo for those thoughts, but note that it is not good. Think 1970’s institutional architecture. As we were commenting on this, we passed the cornerstone for the library which said 1972. As we were saying….

Al would further comment….”Beefy, so they are warm in winter”. If you have been following us, you know what this means, if not, where have you been, and you can figure it out.

Tailgating for us with four kids, consisted of tossing around a mini football, which Al shrewdly brought from home. Mac was very proud to wear his football gloves that he had just gotten. A good time was had by all and no one got hurt, at least seriously. And I should note, Trey’s arm should be recruited AND he should stay off the grass.

The Game
Time came for us to head in for the game. We loaded up with snacks (please see the pic of a snack stand selling soup in August when it’s 90 in the shade) and headed up to the seats. We opted for seats in the shade since it did not appear we were in an oversold situation.

Al and I both picked UMass. I guess I did not have a scoop on Al. Normally, this is where I would describe the game. The final score was 63-15 and no further details are needed. Al is creeping up to .500 in our Quest long picking contest in which we do not use the spread, we only pick the winner. But he still trails me by 8 games.

I do have one comment on the game because there was a play I had not seen before. A player took a kickoff and began to run with it, but an official on the opposite side of the field blew the play dead. The explanation was that another player on the receiving team had called a fair catch. I was not aware this was possible, but I started to think, which is never a good thing. How is that fair to the kicking team? A linemen could call a fair catch, the coverage team would not see it, hit the receiver, and be flagged for a late hit. This could be a sneaky strategy play. Since the game was 63-15, I did some research. My conclusion is this, and if there are any officials reading this (yea right, our audience is family and friends, and that is even pushing it){Beth would like to agree with this statement in addition to finding it very funny} please feel free to comment…Other players can call a fair catch, but only the player calling a fair catch is protected from being hit. Additionally, there would only be a delay of game penalty on the receiver, for running after a fair catch, if it is egregious since he may not even be aware a fair catch was called. I think that’s the rule. Seems strange that this is permitted, but ok.

Post Game
First off, I should note that we stayed until the end despite the 63-15 score. That is something we just do, despite all 4 of the kids looking at us like why are we still here. We have only left one game early and that was at Oregon when we were sitting in a monsoon at a game that was 595-3.

But we did have an hour drive to Al’s Uncle’s house where we would be staying the night and it had been a long day. The kids were zonked, which was good because they all slept on the drive except Mac. He entertained us the entire way.

We arrived at Uncle Joe & Aunt Nina’s house and headed off to bed.


Uncle Joe & Aunt Nina’s house is located in a very secluded area of Massachusetts on a lake. And when I say secluded, I mean, they do not have internet service and not even the post office will deliver there. It is a gorgeous setting (see the pics).

Nate & Jake, although I think it was mostly Nate (Beth adds “for sure”), made pancakes and the day was off to a good start. The day was spent on the lake with Nate & Jake kayaking, Mac catching a football, Al & Trey going paddle boating, Al, Nate and Trey swimming, and all other kinds of other lake activities.

Al’s cousins Nancy and Tom were there with their kids. He hadn’t seen many of them in years.

Uncle Joe and Aunt Nina were very gracious hosts and served an excellent lunch with ribs, burgers, salads, etc. The lake house was a very relaxing, fun, entertaining place to be on a summer day, and hopefully we will be back to enjoy some more time there.

The day concluded with a 4 on 4 football game on a field that spanned about 10 yards by 8 yards. It is a true miracle no one got hurt and/or crashed into a tree. The adults will all ache tomorrow.

Travel Home
At some point we had to leave to head home. All was good until hitting I-95 in Connecticut. As usual, lots of traffic. It was a 4 hour ride home that should have taken 2.5. We did hit a DQ for ice cream on the way home. We also made a bathroom pit stop at the Westport Metro North RR station with a generous clerk who opened the door to let us in. It was a long ride home, but we finally made it. As Nate would say, this trip was a lot longer coming home. How true!

Beth’s Musings (maybe a new feature)

  • And now you and Al will truly appreciate kid free quest games.
  • No mention of boots, I am a little disappointed.
  • Here’s to another quest year! (I think this one was said with a touch of sarcasm)


UMass would go on to a 4-8 season that would lead to a “mutually agreed upon separation” (I think we all know what that means) with Coach Mark Whipple. Shortly thereafter, UMass would hire FSU offensive coordinator Walt Bell as its new head coach. Good luck to him, and as he’s from FSU, we all know that I truly mean that.

On the other hand, Duquesne would go on to a 8-3 regular season and a berth in the FCS playoff. In the first round, the Dukes beat Towson 31-10, for its first ever playoff win. The second round would not be so kind, as the Dukes fell 51-6 to South Dakota State.

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Photo Gallery
For our UMass photo album, Please click here. You can view as a collage or run as a slideshow. There are comments to explain what is in the photo but most are self explanatory. Thanks to Google, I can no longer embed the slide show with comments.

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