Saturday, November 08, 2014

Whitmer shouldering the blame for UConn loss

Regardless of the outcome and the level of his performance Chandler Whitmer has always been about as much of a stand-up guy as any media member will ever deal with.

He always was able to put on a brave face even after the most demoralizing of losses but not today.

He quietly made his way into the Yankee Stadium interview room with a bag of ice on his right hand, a baseball cap pulled down over his water-logged eyes after throwing two costly interceptions in a 35-21 loss to Army.

Whitmer's first interception would be turned into the second touchdown scored by Army enabling the struggling Black Knights to take command before many of the 27,453 in attendance at UConn's first game at Yankee Stadium could even get comfortable in their seats. His second interception, however, was the back breaker.

Only six yards stood between UConn and a game-tying touchdown in the final minute. Whitmer dropped back, surveyed the field and then fired a pass towards the end zone.
Chris Carnegie, who intercepted Whitmer's pass in the first quarter, snared the ball and raced 99 yards for the game-clinching score.

"I made a stupid decision, one I'd like back," said Whitmer, who became the fifth UConn player with 5,000 career passing yards during the game. "As a redshirt senior you can't do that. It really hurt my team. I will try not to let that happen again. I was trying to make a play, trying to be too heroic and you can't make those mistakes."

There was plenty of blame to go around. There was certainly some disarray coming from the UConn sideline on the final drive. Young players were lining up in the wrong spot and there was anything but a sense of calm. Then on the aforementioned play young receivers Noel Thomas and Thomas Lucas were about a yard apart allowing Carnegie to aggressively jump the route because Lucas and Thomas made it too easy for them to be covered.

While Whitmer's post-game demeanor made it clear that he was taking on a bulk of the blame, the reality is that UConn's inability to slow down Army's triple-option offense and five of its first seven drives accounting for fewer than 30 yards played just as big of roles in a loss that guaranteed that UConn would post its fourth straight losing season for the first time in 29 years.

"We win as a team, we lose as a team," said UConn receiver Deshon Foxx, who led the Huskies with six catches and 54 receiving yards. "It is not just his fault. There were a lot of plays that we left on the field and a lot of plays that we made that we should have been able to stop. You can't pin it on one person. I know Chandler, he is very competitive and I know he is going to place it on himself but it wasn't just his fault, it was everybody's fault. It was a team effort, we gave up too many big plays and we didn't make enough."



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