Saturday, October 12, 2013

Clock mismanagement dooms UConn

Despite all of the missed steps, the blocked field goal and a sack that turned into South Florida's only touchdown, UConn has in position to possibly send the first game during the T.J. Weist/Tim Boyle era into overtime.

Boyle had just hooked up with fellow true freshman Dhameer Bradley for a 16-yard completion with 16 seconds to play. With the clock stopping while the officials set the chains, the Huskies needed to either quickly snap the ball and spike it or call a timeout. They did neither. Nearly 10 seconds ran off the clock before Weist finally used UConn's final timeout.

No longer able to try to pick up the 15-20 yards to give Chad Christen a chance to attempt the game-tying field goal, the Huskies were left with little choice but to have Boyle loft a pass into the end zone and hope Geremy Davis could make the catch. However, a pair of South Florida defenders were in better position and the Bulls' Mark Joyce made a play to knock the pass down to give the Bulls a 13-10 victory.

Weist, who doubles as UConn’s offensive coordinator, took the blame for the disarray at the end of the game which dropped UConn to 0-5 for the first time since 1977. A loss to Cincinnati next week and the Huskies will open the season with six straight losses for just the third time since 1935.

“This loss is on me, it is my responsibility to win this game and we didn’t,” said Weist, who was named interim coach on Sept. 30 after UConn director of athletics Warde Manuel fired head coach Paul Pasqualoni. “We had the opportunity, the defense played a great game and didn’t allow a touchdown and they gave us every opportunity on offense with field position, they gave us every chance to make play
“I am calling plays and I thought the clock was stopped at 16 (seconds) and it wasn’t. I didn’t make the play call, I was deciding what play to call and whether to call timeout and I didn’t and the clock started again. I made a mistake in clock management. I have to learn from it.”

The lessons will come with the Huskies trying to avoid starting a season with six straight losses for just the third time since 1935. They will take on Cincinnati with Boyle once again the starting quarterback.
Boyle, a member of three state championship teams at Xavier, was 15 of 43 for 149 yards in his first collegiate action. He showed the ability to make plays with his feet, running for three first downs but he was also hurt by at least a half dozen dropped passes including three within the shadow of the goal line.
Still, through it all Boyle had a chance to walk out to Rentschler Field with a victory, something he did in each of his final three high school seasons.

“I felt pretty comfortable, I didn’t get rattled,” Boyle said. “We didn’t execute like we planned.
“We are all football players, we all want to win coming that close and losing by three points obviously sucks but we have to turn the page.”

Connecticut back since McCombs’ 63-yard run against Syracuse in 2011. He finished with a career-high 164 rushing yards. However, 135 of those came in the first half.

The Huskies got back some key offensive players as Friend and receiver Shakim Phillips returned after missing the last two games due to a high-ankle sprain and hamstring injury respectively. However, Phillips only lasted a series before being sidelined again. Starting cornerback Taylor Mack (shoulder) and linebacker Ryan Donohue (concussion) miss the game.

UConn lost freshman receiver/punt returner Brian Lemelle was knocked out of game in first half and did not return.

UConn’s Cole Wagner became the program’s all-time leader in punting yards on a day when he had two punts downed inside the 5. He also tied Adam Coles’ program record for most career punts.

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