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Edsall, Maryland get the better of UConn, 32-21.

POSTED September 15, 2013
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney


East Hartford: The fans came. They were loud, the atmosphere was electric, anticipation high.

An announced crowd of over 38,000 was in the mood to boo a former head coach while willing their current one to their first win in 2013.

In the end though, all that was not enough to help the UConn Huskies, who lost their second in a row to start the season, this time to Randy Edsall and Maryland, 32-21.

The old coach came back to face the embattles one, Paul Pasqualoni who faces the daunting challenge of trying not to go 0-3 with Michigan in town next Saturday.

Edsall and the Terrapins racked up 501 total yards on offense while holding the Huskies to just 34 yards rushing, more than enough to overcome a 349 yard passing effort from quarterback Chandler Whitmer.  

The former Huskie coaches much anticipated return was one that saw him greeted with a loud chorus of boos as the Terrapins made their way out of the tunnel.

Two weeks after a disappointing 33-18 loss to Division 1AA Towson, the Huskies had spoken all week about correcting mistakes, doing the little things right while playing with a higher degree of energy and determination.

Early on, the approach was working. The Huskies scored first on a five-yard touchdown run by Lyle McCombs that featured a team push over the goal line.

McCombs seemed to be stopped at the three but with no whistle, the pile continued to move and the home team was on the board with a 7-0 lead.

The defense for UConn was up to the task as well in the first quarter, holding Terps quarterback C.J. Brown in check while keeping all-world wide out Stefon Diggs from completely getting out of control.

UConn’s defense would stop the visitors twice on down in the first quarter while picking off a Brown pass but the offense could only turn it into the McCombs touchdown.

In the second quarter though, those little things UConn hoped to fix came back to bite them on special teams.

After having a drive stall on the Maryland 39-yard line, Cole Wagner lifted a punt that was mishandled by a coverage player at the one-yard line and went for a touchback.

Instead of a 99-yard field to navigate, Brown and Diggs went to work in short order, going the 80-yards in four plays that took just 1:20 TO DO.

Diggs had two catches for 36-yards while Brown got free on a 41-yard scamper that tied things at seven.

Maryland added two field goals, UConn one to send the teams to the break with the visitors up

13-10.

As the third quarter started, the UConn defense forced a turnover on the Terrapins first possession, giving the offense the ball on their own 29-yard line but the drive stalled.

On the ensuing Wagner punt, it appeared the home team would have another chance to pin the visitors deep in their own end but for a second time, the ball got into the end zone for a touchback.

Maryland would go another 80-yards in a blistering 1:27 with Brown connecting with Diggs on a 12-yard scoring pass to make the margin ten at 20-10.

 The Terps would for all intense and purpose put this one away when Dexter McDougle picked off a Whitmer pass and weaved his way to a 49-yard interception return.

UConn would strike in the final quarter when Whitmer connected with Shakim Phillips with a 75-yard scoring play but bad news may have been attached to the score.

After being tackled as he crossed the goal line, Phillips appeared to hurt his right knee and had to be helped off the field.

Phillips would finish the night with 10 catches for 178 yards and the score.

Whitmer would set a career high with his 29-46-349 effort but with the Huskies running game non-existent with 34 yards on 33 carries, the one dimensional offense could not keep up with the high powered Terps.

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