UConn Grades in USF 13-10 loss.
EAST HARTFORD: The outcome was nothing they were looking for but the UConn Huskies have to take a couple of positives out of their 13-10 loss to USF on Saturday at The Rent.
Quarterback: The Tim Boyle Era has begun. His presence behind center was significant. He simply looked like a confident quarterback on the team’s first drive. His opening drive should have resulted in a score but a pair of penalties and the first of two Deshon Foxx miscues led to a punt. Spencer Parker and Foxx add touchdown drops later in half. His decision making on plays in the first half in which he threw the ball away instead of forcing them was an early sign of maturity. The longer the lack of success went on though, the tougher it got for Boyle who missed high on second half throws.
Running Game: Well there it is! What a difference a player makes. The return of Kevin Friend solidified and offensive line that had been the most inconsistent unit on the team before Saturday. Friend simply pancaked his man on several plays in a simplified offensive line scheme installed by newly appointed o-line coach Mike Foley. Lyle McCombs 52-yard run was vintage McCombs who weaved and slashed and ran forever before flipping into the end zone. Boyle had a nice 19-yard gain in the first quarter. 256 total yards on the ground nearly matched their season total coming in. When you have this kind of game on the ground, a “W’ should be in the mix. Second half production dropped off dramatically, the down side but the Huskies should have been up by 14, not tied at the time.
Receivers: This loss gets hung on this group. Foxx was a target early and his moves were terrific, leaving his defenders in the dust but he could not make the catch on two balls from Boyle, one was long the second and easier one. Parker had played very well against Michigan but dropped a sure touchdown on a 15-yard pass. Geremy Davis had six catches for 80-yards and in time should more in-sync with Boyle. Sean McQuillan had six grabs for 44-yards. Shakim Phillips saw limited action early but hamstring not 100 percent.
Defense: Best showing of the year, save their first half performance against Michigan. Did not allow an offensive touchdown but struggled to get off the field at times. After pinning the Bulls at their own two with 3:14 left in the half, could not force a punt until right before half. 13-play drive that took 7:27 off the clock led to game winning field goal. Allowed just 122 yards on the ground and 106 in the air. Give up 10-points, your team should win. Tough to ask an offense to pitch a shutout every time out.
Special Teams: Cole Wagner is back. Punted the ball almost back to Hartford with 308 total yards on seven tries. Six inside 20-yard line key, two inside the five. Kept field position battle going all afternoon. Chad Christen missed a 49-yarder that had the distance but was wide right. Second try blocked from 47-yar line on low attempt. At this point, any points missed are bad points missed.