Saturday, October 25, 2014

No lack of reps for UConn defense this week

Fifteen hours had elapsed from the time that Thursday night's 31-21 loss  at the hands of East Carolina had come to an end and Bob Diaco was still in a state of disbelief.

Before his day-after teleconference with the media he had seen every single play run against his defense. Officially the number was 100 but there were eight other ECU offensive plays that did not count due to either holding calls on the Pirates or pass interference penalties against UConn. Diaco said that 110 plays were on tape so he must have included the two pre-snap procedure penalties against East Carolina.

"It's close to two games, you are talking about 55 plays a game and you might be saying 'that is a low total' but you wouldn't be making as big of a deal of it on that end."

UConn has run fewer than 55 plays in two games this season including a staggering 36 against South Florida when you consider that East Carolina ran 31 offensive plays IN THE FIRST QUARTER.

No plays caught my eye more than the ones on third down. In the first quarter East Carolina was 5 of 7 on third down conversions with the seven plays run on third down going for 77 yards. The two times that the Huskies held weren't exactly victories considering that East Carolina went for it and converted on fourth down.

The good news is that after that nightmarish first quarter that UConn's defense rebounded in a major way. In the second and third quarters and the first three drives of the fourth quarter East Carolina ran 11 third-down plays and gained a total of 24 yards although the Pirates did convert on third down on three occasions.

"It was well done for the lion's share of the game," Diaco said. "They were having a hard time blocking the front and the quarterback was under duress and on the move. He was spectacular, by the way, what an awesome player."

Had the game ended with 5 1/2 minutes to play Diaco would have a different opinion about the performance of his defense. However. Diaco was rather irate at what transpired on the Pirates' final drive of the game.

No play on ECU's 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive was more frustrating for Diaco than Shane Carden's 14 run on 3rd and 10 when he shook off Reuben Frank's tackle attempt to keep the drive alive.

"The last drive, just ridiculous, obviously," Diaco said. "We got several instances of players at the point of attack that if they had finished the play, the drive would have ended. There are two minutes to play and it is third down,, the quarterback is on the move and we have him wrapped up and we figure they are going to line up to kick a long field goal, they would have had to. If you make a tackle there it is third down and four or five and he is tackled on the 31 and he is lined up to kick a long field goal - best case scenario, we have the ball back and I have all of my timeouts. There were several instances like that in the game where we have to finish those plays on defense. It is just too many points, too many unnecessary big plays."

There was another play earlier in the game that also infuriated Diaco.

Carden was stuffed for no gain on 3rd-and-goal at the 1 and East Carolina went for it on fourth down. Breon Allen walked into the end zone and saying he was untouched doesn't seem to do the play justice as it looked more like there wasn't a UConn defender in the same area code as Allen..

"We've got an opportunity for a four-down goal-line stand, you have an ME (mental error) on that play," Diaco said. "Had it not been an ME on that play, we stick that kid in the backfield. He has to make the tackle and we are unblocked in the backfield, it can't happen. That is a game changer, goal-line stand on the 1, are you kidding me?"

For those wondering, this was the 16th game between FBS teams where one team ran at least 100 plays and the 31 points surrendered by the Huskies is tied for the second lowest in the 16 games as the team running at least 100 plays averaged 46 points per game (see chart below). Amazingly Bowling Green has been involved in three of those games while California is the only team to allow 100 plays to be run against them.

Plays Game                            (Date) Final Score
113 Bowling Green vs. Indiana (Sept. 13)  45-42
110 Colorado at California (Sept. 27)   56-59
110 Ohio vs. Bowling Green (Oct. 11)   13-31
109 Baylor vs. TCU (Oct. 11)    61-58
108 Bowling Green at UMass (Sept. 27)   47-42
108 West Virginia at Maryland (Sept. 13)  40-37
106 Arizona vs. California (Sept. 20)   49-45
105 Arizona State vs. UCLA (Sept. 25)   27-62
105 Idaho at Texas State (Oct. 4)   30-35
105 USC vs. Fresno State (Aug. 30)   52-13
102 Virginia at BYU (Sept. 20)    33-41
102 BYU vs. Nevada (Oct. 18)   35-42
102 W. Kentucky at Middle Tenn. St. (Sept. 13) 47-50
101 Arizona vs. USC (Oct. 11)    26-28
101 Ohio State vs. Cincinnati (Sept. 27) 50-28
100 East Carolina vs. UConn (Oct. 23)  31-21

UConn commit Michael Tarbutt booted a 42-yard field goal as Canisius defeated Bishop-Timon St. Jude 37-8 to improve to 8-0.

It was the third first goal of more than 40 yards this season for Tarbutt including a 52-yard kick against Aquinas Institute last month.

Also, Nazir Williams had four catches for 78 yards (all in the first half) and a pair of sacks as Bridgeton defeated Millville 36-9.


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