UConn Marks for Week 3.
Week 3 Marks for UConn football.
EAST HARTFORD: Okay, so the Huskies didn’t come away with the ultimate prize on Saturday night when they faced, fought but ultimately lost to highly ranked Michigan by a 24-21 score.
Considering what had transpired weeks one and two, almost everything about week three was better, except the outcome but even that was not what most expected.
Offense: Did not overwhelm anyone but showed improvement on the offensive line, springing both Lyle McCombs and Max DeLorenzo at times for longer than normal games. Head coach Paul Pasqualoni had been asking his offensive line hold blocks better and we saw progress on Saturday.
DeLorenzo had his best game of the year and gave UConn some power running against the Wolverines. 77-yards rushing is nothing spectacular but better than the 34 they posted against Maryland.
Chandler Whitmer was better than his stat line of (16-32-1, 2 TD’s) and threw a great ball to Geremy Davis just missed coming down with for a 39-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Davis almost came down with the catch of the year on a fully extended dive that was originally called a catch but overturned on replay.
Deshon Foxx filled in nicely for the injured Shakim Phillips (5-60) while Spencer Parker caught his first passes of his career with one an 11-yard pass from Whitmer for a score.
Defense: Against a team led by quarterback Devin Gardner and running back Fitzgerald Toussaint, this looked like it might be a tough night for the Huskies “D” but they responded with their best effort of the season against the best opponent they had faced.
The Huskies swarmed the Michigan running game in the first half, creating four negative plays in the first two quarters and four turnovers for the game.
Jhavon Williams came up with the game’s first turnover on a tipped ball that stopped the Wolverines opening drive. Byron Jones made a great play on his second quarter interception when he picked off Gardner while going against a much taller receiver in Devon Funchess.
Yawin Smallwood, Jeff Ashiru and Rueben Frank posted their teams first sacks of the year.
Smallwood led the team with seven solo tackles and 13 overall while Ashiru and Brown added five solo tackles, eight overall.
Brown’s 34-yard fumble return for a score sent The Rent to a new level of frenzy and put the home team up 21-7 at the start of the third quarter.
Toussaint was able to rush for 129 yards and Gardner 106 but the secondary held Gardner to just 97 yards in the air.
Michigan scored the game’s final 17 points.
Special Teams: Brian Lemelle had returns of 10 and 15 yards in the first half but almost gave it all back when he fumbled a punt late in the first half that he should have let go and he was fortunate his team recovered the ball.
Obi Melifonwu recovered a muffed punt that bounced off Wolverine Da’Mario Jones and led to a second quarter touchdown.
Cole Wagner was solid with a 38.1 average on eight punts, two inside the twenty.
Overall: While the Huskies needed a win in the worse way, they came into the game as an 18-point plus underdog yet played like their fan base would have liked to see against both Towson and Maryland.
The Rent was the place to be on Saturday, the energy was through the roof and the after game traffic jam was something not seen yet this season.
Being up 21-7 over a nationally ranked team early in the second half may have led some to think UConn let one get away but simply being in that position was something nobody saw coming.
That said, the Huskies need to guard against a letdown against Buffalo next week and get a “W” in the worse way.