Huskies fall to Bearcats, 41-0. Drop to 2-8.
EAST HARTFORD: It's getting really hard to explain, this University of Connecticut football team.
Four games back, they play a terrific game against a then ranked team from East Carolina before falling late by a 31-21 score.
Three games ago, they post a 35-21 win over a heavily favored team from UCF right here at Rentschler Field on a day when their offense looked as good as it had in the better part of two seasons against a quality program.
Then came a tough outing at Yankee Stadium where Army came away with a 35-21 win but the offense still looked better at times after a slow start.
After a bye week, the Huskies returned home to take on a Cincinnati Bearcats team that had been averaging over 40 points per game and the visitors put it to the home team by a 41-0 margin.
The loss marked the worse defeat the Huskies had at home since a 30-0 loss to Navy all the way back on September 23, 1978.
"We are in the infant stages of this program," UConn head coach Bob Diaco said. "We will turn this into a positive and a teaching moment. It will make for an unbreakable bond that will undoubtedly lead to a championships in the future. There is no doubt."
Those times seem like a far off galaxy at this point as the Huskies deal with attrition issues that have seen 25 players leave the program for one reason or another since the team got together earlier this year.
On Saturday night, the Huskies suited up just 61 players out of a possible 85 with just three seniors on the field as starters.
This is a very, very young team and it showed against a Bearcats offense that took advantage of multiple miscues that left a team that doesn't need help driving the field, so giving them a short field is never a good idea.
Three turnovers lead to 17 points and with their offense stuck in low, UConn struggled to get anything going.
"With three turnovers that all produced points, I think a very telling deal is the drive chart," Diaco said. "Cincinnati averages 40 points a game anyway and now they are playing on half a field with extra possessions. You got no chance."
How tough was the sledding for the UConn offense in this one?
After one quarter, they had 15 total yards of offense. At the half it got worse and went down to nine. Nine yards in thirty minutes of football.
You could bring in the '85 Bears defense and you're still not going to win with that type of production.
Sophomore Tim Boyle got his first start of the season, most had thought it was going to be fifth year senior Chandler Whitmer but Boyle got the majority of the action while Deshon Foxx saw one play behind center.
Boyle finished the night 13 of 21, good for just 70 yards and was sacked twice.
"It was tough offensively this week," Boyle said. "We had a good game plan but this was just the execution aspect of it that we failed to do. I think it's a good learning experience for us to go through this."
With so many young players leaning on the upperclassmen on this team, it's imperative that they recieve some positive encouragement what is going to end up being a very rough campaign by the time this season comes to a close in two weeks.
"I think it's a testament to the seniors we already have," junior Marquise Vann said. "To keep trying to lead and motivate one another. Hopefully that inspires the younger players to want to lead and at the end of the day we have to keep pushing each other."
The Huskies travel next week to take on Memphis before returning home for the season finale against SMU.
It's been a long road so far and for the 24,000 hardy fans that braved the cold on Saturday night, they can only hope for warmer and better days ahead.