Saturday, October 01, 2011

Western Michigan makes mince meat of UConn secondary

At least this one was entertaining for a change. Of course, the result was disastrous for UConn, which is looking more and more like it will go from playing in the Fiesta Bowl to being home for the holidays. A few postgame notes.
  • UConn had dominated the MAC since elevating to Division I-A, but have now lost to Temple and Western Michigan in the last two seasons. It's disconcerting that a MAC team is that much more skilled on offense than UConn, with Alex Carder pulling a Tom Brady with 479 yards passing and five TDs on 37-of-51. He absolutely embarrassed the Huskies in the fourth quarter, with the 2-play, 60-yard drive to score the winning touchdown coming in just 28 seconds the equivalent of giving UConn an atomic wedgie in front of its home crowd.

  • To be fair, Western Michigan has to be considered one of the favorites to win the MAC. That's a big team with a lethal offense. Of course, the defense leaves a lot to be desired. And it's still a bad loss for UConn.

  • Pasqualoni said the passing numbers from Carder were due to UConn's inability to get to him and cause disruption. The secondary didn't do itself any favors, failing to stop the receivers over and over. “Our defense has to hold its weight,” UConn safety Byron Jones said. “They have a solid quarterback who made a lot of tough throws fitting the ball in there. At the end of the day, we have to cover those guys.”

  • Western Michigan has produced some big time NFL talent, most notably Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings. Jordan White sure looked like an NFL talent. At 6-foot, 215-pounds, he has to be considered a mid-round pick at the least.

  • D.J. Shoemate is done for the season. He'll require surgery on a shoulder he injured against Iowa State, and will need six to nine months to recover, Pasqualoni said. UConn has filed the paperwork to apply for a medical hardship. The NCAA can approve or deny.

  • Jimmy Bennett is also done for the year after a torn ACL suffered in practice on Thursday. It's not the same knee Bennett injured earlier in his career, and it's a blow for the offensive line. UConn was back to its old lineup with Kevin Friend at left tackle and Steve Green at right guard.

  • It was an excellent day for Johnny McEntee. He shook off a slow start to finish with 300 yards and four touchdowns on 22-of-39 passing. I think the throw that showed just how far he's come from a confidence standpoint was the 26-yard TD to Nick Williams. With the game on the line at 4th-and-5, he rolled out of the pocket. He had Lyle McCombs wide open a few yards ahead for what would have been an easy first down to keep the chains moving. Instead, he had the guts to thread one through a defender to Williams in the corner of the end zone. That was a big-time throw, and it took big-time onions.

  • Nick Williams' coming out party last week was encouraging, but he made just the one catch today. Don't think there's much to be concerned about there. UConn has had three different receivers step up the last three games. McEntee didn't try to force anything, and is riding the hot guy that particular game.

  • Tons of mistakes by UConn. Penalties were brutal, personal fouls inexcusable. Cole Wagner had a tough night punting, but Chad Christen's kickoff OB to set up the winning drive really hurt (though, considering how things were going, probably wasn't going to do much to slow Western Michigan anyway). Pasqualoni said Ryan Griffin was just being a competitor making a play when he fumbled. Griffin certainly didn't protect the ball as he was going down, he left it high and there for the taking. A nice swipe by the safety, and hard to fault Griffin for thinking end zone there. There were more mistakes, of course.

  • Can UConn go 4-3 to get bowl eligible? Can it go 5-2 to assure itself a bowl bid? Everyone counted them out after awful losses to Rutgers, Temple and Louisville last season, too. We'll see what this group is made of starting next weekend.


Anonymous Vinny from East Haven said...

"Onions". I like it.

Wonder what the spread will be for the WVU game? 38? 42?

Losing to a MAC team, that is embarrassing.

October 03, 2011 3:56 PM 

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