Friday, August 30, 2013

Humbling opener for UConn

When I look back at what happened on Thursday night at Rentschler Field, I won't recall the Huskies' mistakes (although they were plenty of those) as much I will focus on the way UConn was manhandled at the line of scrimmage by the lower division team from Towson.

Lyle McCombs ran with more assertiveness than I recall him doing a season ago but as the game wore on the Towson defensive line managed to bottle things up at the line of scrimmage while bringing more pressure on UConn quarterback Chandler Whitmer.

Perhaps even more surprising to me was how little pressure the Huskies' front seven was able to generate. Not only did UConn not sack Towson quarterback Pete Athens but it rarely got close to him.

With upcoming games against Maryland and Michigan, this was not how the Huskies needed to start the season especially with head coach Paul Pasqualoni already feeling heat coming off a pair of 5-7 seasons.

"I don’t think we executed like we should have and that is basically what happened," senior offensive tackle Jimmy Bennett said. "It is nothing that we haven’t seen before and what we game planned (for). It is just disappointing to lose like that especially with new jerseys, new scoreboard. We wanted to go out there and set a tone and that is not the way you want to do it."

As for the miscues, Chandler Whitmer's attempted screen pass was tipped and intercepted by Jon Desir leading to a Towson score, there was a costly illegal substitution penalty with UConn on the goal line late in the first half, a series of poor plays in the secondary and a muffed punt by Brian Lemelle which led to Towson's final touchdown in the 33-18 loss.

In other notes, Pasqualoni said starting right tackle Kevin Friend was dealing with a concussion and that was why he did not play but Pasqualoni believes Friend should be ready for the next game against Maryland.

This was the first time UConn lost to a FCS team since a 35-21 loss to Eastern Washington in 2001.

Receiver Kamal Abrams appeared to hurt his knee in pregame warmups and did not play. 

Along with Lemelle, the other true freshmen to appear in the game for UConn were Matt Walsh and Dhameer Bradley.


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