Friday, November 07, 2014

Seniors Foxx, Whitmer saving their best for last at UConn

There's been plenty made of the large number of freshmen and sophomores making an impact at UConn this season but seniors Deshon Foxx and Chandler Whitmer aren't allowing their younger teammates to have all the fun.

Foxx has moved around quite a bit during his four seasons as he tries to carve out his niche. He certainly has done that this year as he has become UConn's big-play producer.

Foxx is the only player at the Football Bowl Subdivision level to have his team's longest, run, reception and special-teams return thanks to his 68-yard scoring run against Central Florida, 88-yard TD catch against East Carolina and 72-yard punt return for a score against Stony Brook. He is also the only FBS player with a run, catch and return of at least 60 yards.

Foxx followed up his 120-yard receiving game against East Carolina by running for 102 yards against UCF. Going back to 1970 D.J. Hernandez is the only other Husky with a 100-yard rushing and receiving game. However, Hernandez accomplished the feat in a span of three seasons running for 130 yards in a Nov. 11, 2006 game against Pittsburgh and going for 103 receiving yards in an Oct. 4, 2008 game against North Carolina.

My curiosity got the better of me so I looked up how many players have both a 100-yard rushing and receiving game this season and Foxx is one of nine. Wyoming's Brian Hill actually did it in the same game with 281 rushing yards and 106 receiving yards in Saturday's game against Fresno State. USC's Javorius Allen, Louisiana Tech's Kenneth Dixon, Paul James of Rutgers, California's Daniel Lasco, Elijah McGuire of Louisiana Lafayette, Josh Robinson of Mississippi State and Temple's Jahad Thomas also accomplished the feat.

While Foxx has shown the ability to break loose for huge plays, Whitmer's improvement needs to be measured over the long haul.

Whitmer needs 139 yards against Army tomorrow to become the fifth UConn quarterback with 5,000 career passing yards. However, there are UConn fans who will remember Whitmer more for his propensity for throwing interceptions. Whitmer came into the season having thrown multiple interceptions six times in 16 career games.

It hasn't gotten too much attention but after having nine TD passes and 16 interceptions as a sophomore and having one more pick that TD a season ago, Whitmer has nine touchdown strikes against just four interceptions this season.

He is currently on a streak of 48 passes without an interception, his fourth longest streak while at UConn. In fact he has thrown one interception in his last 95 passing attempts. The numbers show that he is playing at a higher level than even during his previous best interception-free streak even though he did not have his favorite target Geremy Davis on the field for much of that span. Based on what Bob Diaco said on his radio show last night, it doesn't sound like Davis has made much progress in terms of getting his injured ankle ready for game action as he will once again be a game-time decision.

During the 2012 season he threw 79 passes in games against Temple and Syracuse and had another run of 70 passes without an interception during the 2012 season. He opened the 2014 season by throwing 68 passes without an interception (a streak that extends to 72 in a row if you go back to the Buffalo game in 2013). Yet, his passing rating on his current streak is higher than the previous ones thanks in large part to four TD passes on 48 attempts and an average of 14 yards per completion.

79 STRAIGHT (OCT, 13, 2012-OCT. 19, 2012)
Temple   22-39 293 2-0
Syracuse 23-40 296 1-0
               45-79 589 3-0 307.50

72 STRAIGHT (SEPT. 28. 2013-SEPT. 13, 2014)
Buffalo            1-4 -4 0-0
BYU               8-17 113 0-0
Stony Brook 12-27 142 1-0
Boise State   14-24 198 2-0
                     35-72 449 3-0 341.76

70 STRAIGHT (SEPT, 22, 2012-OCT. 6, 2012) W. Michigan   26-41 283 3-0
Buffalo           15-22 227 1-0
Rutgers            4-7    39 0-0
                     45-70 549 4-0 287.37

E. Carolina       13-23 224 2-0
Central Florida 13-25 142 2-0
                         26-48 366 4-0 353.63

47 STRAIGHT (SEPT. 27, 2014-OCT. 23, 2014)
Temple             8-17 141 1-0
Tulane             17-24 141 0-0
E. Carolina       5-6   79 0-0
                      30-47 361 1-0 268.75

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