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UMass vs. New Mexico State: Minutemen have lost national-worst 24 straight road games

The longest active road losing streak in the FBS is on the line Saturday when UMass, quite possibly the worst program at college football’s top level, visits New Mexico State having lost 24 straight road games and as a 7-point underdog, but the Minutemen will have a new former Power 5 quarterback and four-star recruit in Taisun Phommachanh under center.

UMass is a brutal 3-37 over the past four seasons, easily the worst record in the FBS. That includes three different 1-11 seasons, which the #Flagship were in 2022 under first-year returning coach Don Brown, a former Michigan defensive coordinator. Brown took the UMass the team to a pair of FCS playoff appearances in the mid-2000s, including the 2006 title game.

However, the football team hasn’t won multiple games since 2018 or even five games in a season since its return to FBS in 2012. The program’s last five-win season at the “FBS level” was finishing 5-2-1 in 1904.

Taisun Phommachanh has won the UMass QB job.

Phommachanh, who formerly played at Clemson and Georgia Tech in the ACC, beat out Brady Olson and Western Carolina transfer Carlos Davis for the QB job. Phommachanh spent his first two seasons as the third-string QB at Clemson behind Trevor Lawrence and Chase Brice in 2019, then Lawrence and D.J. Uiagalelei in 2020. Last year, Phommachanh attempted five passes and ran for 56 yards and two touchdowns with the Yellow Jackets.

“It’s not like three guys played bad and he played good. There are small increments between each guy, and we just thought Taisun gave us the best shot. That’s all,” Brown said. “He’s very controlled, he’s got a nice way about him, as they all do.”

UMass, an independent in football, has the lowest over-under win total in the nation this year at 2. During the 24-game road skid, the Minutemen have covered the spread in only eight.

“I think we’re vastly improved, but now we have to prove that,” Brown said. “Guys are healthy … we feel good about where we are offensively. I feel like I’m a cheerleader telling everyone how much we’ve improved but we have to prove it. That’s the challenge in front of our guys.”

New Mexico State started 1-5 last year under first-year coach Jerry Kill but finished with a 6-1 SU and ATS run, including knocking off Bowling Green in the Quick Lane Bowl. Starting QB Diego Pavia was at the center of the team’s turnaround in 2022 and returns. Pavia came off the bench on Oct. 29 at UMass with 260 total yards (194 passing, 56 rushing) to lead a 23-13 comeback win -- to end NMSU's 21-game road skid -- and that really started the 2022 turnaround. NMSU also beat UMass 44-27 in 2021 in Las Cruces.

The #AggieUp have an win total of 5.5 as they try to reach back-to-back bowls for just the second time in school history at the FBS level (won consecutive Sun Bowls in 1959 and 1960).

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