Madonna grad Comis reflects on his big day

LOCAL STANDOUT — Madonna graduate Ross Comis throws a pass against Liberty University on Saturday. The former Blue Don led the Minutemen to a triple overtime win, throwing for over 500 yards and four touchdowns, running for two more. (Jon Crispin/UMass Athletics)

AMHERST, Mass. — It took Ross Comis the better part of a few days to wrap his head around what happened Saturday.

He didn’t believe what he was hearing after the Massachusetts’ triple overtime victory against Liberty, and even after seeing the stat sheet still struggled to believe it was real.

But, when a quarterback throws for 540 yards and four touchdowns, while running for two more scores, it’s easy to see where the state of confusion could come from.

Those are exactly the statistics the former Madonna standout and current Minuteman quarterback, who is in his fifth season in Amherst, put forth last week.

“When you’re out on the field, you have no idea how many yards or anything you have,” Comis said during a phone interview this week. “I just knew that I was in a rhythm all day and I felt comfortable with the ball in my hands, regardless if it was a run or a pass call.”

After the Minutemen hit a field goal in the third OT to earn the win over the Flames, Comis was celebrating with his teammates when a staffer told him, “you had 500 yards passing.”

“It’s really hard to sense a game like that is ever coming, but we’ve prepared hard each week, the receivers made some plays, line did its job and it just kind of happened,” Comis said.

Comis, who led Madonna to a West Virginia Class A state championship during his senior season in 2013, had to quickly move on from the Liberty game. UMass has a home date with BYU this week before a road trip to Athens, Ga., to take on the Bulldogs on Nov. 17.

“Last week was a sweet feeling, but my mindset had to change on Monday to get ready for the next one,” Comis said. “We can’t get caught up in the good or bad of a season. You really need to have a short-term memory because you don’t win a season in one game. If we can win both of these games, we’d be bowl eligible, so we have to have our minds right.”

Being mentally prepared is a job of every quarterback, but Comis has had to stay sharp the last several years getting more mental reps than practice reps at times. Comis won the job as a red-shirt freshmen, but suffered a torn ACL the following season and — in essence — lost his job.

Since then, he’s hung in there and continued to practice and prepare, while seeing playing time here and there. However, it seems as if he’s regained his starting position.

“I’ve been through a lot here,” Comis said. “I started three games last year and played a decent amount. And it’s been the same this year, too. The last couple of games, I feel like I’ve worked so hard and overcome so much that it’s paying off for me.”

Prior to the win over Liberty, Comis led the Minutemen to a victory over Connecticut in a game that was broadcast nationally on ESPNU. He completed 8-of-15 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns.

Though he’s had his trepidations and some highs and lows, Comis really never seriously considered looking elsewhere to finish his collegiate eligibility.

“I just tried to stay upbeat and as positive as possible,” Comis said. “I did think about leaving as a graduate transfer because I knew there were places that didn’t think I could play for them before (out of high school) that I could play for. But, I felt like God had a plan for me since the beginning (of the recruiting process) and I just kept that faith and my prayers high. He’s blessed me with this opportunity and I decided to see it through.”

Comis said he received countless text messages, calls and tweets from people all over the Ohio Valley after his performance last week.

“Probably the best part of the last few weeks from beating UConn, and last week, was hearing from so many people back home,” Comis said. “It’s just awesome that they’re still following me. I responded to each person who reached out with, ‘I appreciate it.’ And I really do. I definitely have not forgotten where I came from.”

Comis, who made his first collegiate start in ‘The Swamp’ against the University of Florida, owns a degree from the school of management already and will finish his second bachelor’s degree in economics in the coming months.

UMass hosts BYU an noon on Saturday, before traveling to No. 5 Georgia on Nov. 17.

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