UMass coach Walt Bell is preparing for a double back home Saturday when the Minutemen visit Florida.
FSU oddly scheduled a homecoming game in Tallahassee, Florida, against UMass, an independent program, rather than hosting available ACC competitors such as Miami or North Carolina.
Bale was the offensive coordinator and quarterback for Willie Taggert’s Seminoles in 2018 before taking the lead position at UMass. Although his tenure at FSU was just over eight months, Bell developed a great respect for the region, the institution, and the football program.
“It was a great place to play, a great football city and a football community with a great fan base and a great stadium,” Bale said. “It’s homecoming, so it would be a great environment to play.
“My wife (Maria) loved the place there, it was a great city and we loved it there. It’s been a tough eight months in terms of wins, losses and expectations. But it was a great opportunity for me and my family to be in a place with great football traditions like Florida.”
UMass enters the game after breaking their 16-game losing streak on October 9 with a 27-13 victory over regional rival Yukon at McGurk Stadium. The Minutemen had a farewell week to enjoy the victory before engaging in the action of Florida State, their third ACC contender this season.
UMass unleashed a relentless ground match on the Huskies led by tailgating Ellis Mayweather, who pounded 171 yards on 39 chariots with two touchdowns. New quarterback Brady Olson completed 10 of 22 passes for 162 yards. Florida State surrendered 161.1 rushing yards per game.
“We are riding a wave and we have to make sure we keep it up,” Mayweather said. “I feel ready, I feel ready, and I took this time to say goodbye to taking care of my body and that was my focus.
“I think they will be a big opponent and I think it will be a great test for us. We will be ready to execute and look at their defence, 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. Victory over UMass gets the Seminoles halfway to eligibility.
FSU coach Mike Norville has stored his start 11 on both sides with gate transfers, most notably quarterback Jordan Travis (Louisville) and returnee Jashawn Corbin (Texas A&M).