Boston College tramples over UConn at Fenway
BOSTON – The UConn football team and its fan base came out with a purpose against Boston College in the rain at Fenway Park.
With the majority of the 20,133 on hand rooting – loudly – for the 21-point underdogs, UConn dominated the first quarter, outgaining the Eagles by 102 yards and holding the ball for 10:12. One problem, however: the Huskies wasted the opportunities they created for themselves and held just a mere 3-0 lead at the end of the quarter.
Boston College (6-5), as expected, took control from there and cruised to a 39-16 victory.
The game was symbolic of UConn’s season (3-8), which wraps up next week at Cincinnati. There were some positives (Kevin Mensah had a 70-yard touchdown run and 115 total yards), lots of open holes in its defense (BC’s AJ Dillon rushed for 200 yards and two touchdowns), lack of awareness (Junior Joseph was ejected for targeting), and points left on the board after long drives. That’s the life of a rebuilding team.
The hunger of the UConn’s fan base was on full display with the amount of Huskies gear worn on Fenway’s surrounding streets far outnumbering the hometown Eagles. And that was to be expected. UConn craves what Boston College, its former Big East rival, currently has. The Eagles, who clinched a bowl berth with this win, play in the ACC against football and basketball powerhouses on a regular basis, while the Huskies see the likes of East Carolina far too much for anyone’s liking. UConn’s faithful treated this event like a bowl game, organizing bus trips, tailgate parties, and filling up most of the first base and right field side of the grandstand despite the nasty conditions.
For one quarter, the Huskies had the look of a team poised for a major upset. Reality, though, then hit. Hard. Boston College, carried by Dillon, scored the game’s next 39 points, quickly silencing UConn’s impressive contingent.
“It was awesome that we had people show up for it and we were excited,” UConn defensive lineman Luke Carrezola said. “We weren’t consistent enough and we didn’t get the job done.”
UConn quarterback David Pindell struggled mightily in the second and third quarters, and in one four-possession stretch, he led the Huskies to only 10 yards. He did compile a lot of yards in the fourth when the game was out of hand and finished with 241 yards, one touchdown (a 43-yarder to Hergy Mayala), and three killer interceptions, including one being returned for a 65-yard touchdown by Taj-Amir Torres. Pindell's audition to be next season’s starter has been shaky to say the least.
Boston College's 290-pound Noa Merritt pushed around the Huskies' offensive line, forcing a fumble, registering two sacks, and also broke up a pass. UConn, simply, does not have that type of talent on its defense.
A frustrated Randy Edsall spoke for less than two minutes in his postgame press conference. This same script has played itself out since September and there’s little else to say. UConn has allowed over 30 points in eight games this season.
"There were big plays that hurt us defensively all game long,” Edsall said. “We missed a gap, we had a guy run under a block on a long run. We didn't get deep enough, we had them on third down and couldn't get off.
“In the second quarter, we are not built to go three-and-out and use less than a minute of the clock,” he continued. “For our defense to go right back out there, that makes it hard. We didn't get that done and we didn't tackle as well as the game went on. I thought we started off OK, but didn't finish well."
Year one in Edsall’s return has shown some hope for the future. The Huskies’ offense has displayed signs of life after last season’s nightmare. The defense, as written over and over again, has been a major liability. Defense has been Edsall’s strength, so you have to figure that it will improve once he’s able to recruit players who fit his style.
Saturday night at Fenway was the perfect image of UConn's current state. There’s visible promise, a desperate fan base, and a considerable amount of work ahead for Edsall and his program.