Huskies succeed in aerial attack
Published: Sunday, September 30, 2012
Updated: Sunday, September 30, 2012 23:09
UConn was able to put on quite the aerial display Saturday at Rentschler Field with a 24-17 win against Buffalo. Chandler Whitmer completed 15 of his 22 passes for 227 yards and 1 touchdown against the Bulls. It was a balanced attack as Whitmer completely passes to 8 different receivers. This new passing attack has added a new element to an offense that heavily relied on the running talents of Lyle McCoombs for most of their production last season.
“I thought Chandler played well today,” said Coach Paul Pasqualoni. “I thought he hung in there and didn’t turn the ball over”.
The highlight of UConn’s day on offense came at the end of the first quarter when the Huskies took the ball 92 yard on a 10 play drive that gave them the lead. The drive was capped off by a 36 yard touchdown pass from Whitmer to tight end Ryan Griffin. Some are calling it the Huskies best drive of the young season.
“It was a good drive,” said Whitmer. “92 yards is a long way to go and we did a good job keeping the defense off balance and finishing the drive”.
Coach Paul Pasqualoni was also pleased with his team’s performance on this particular drive. “I thought Chandler did a really great job on that drive,” said Pasqualoni. “I thought we executed well and got it down the field”.
UConn’s line had a terrific game as well, allowing their quarterback the time necessary to make the plays that he did. Pasqualoni was especially proud of his line, citing a screen pass to McCoombs at the end of the first quarter, “That dump off to the back takes a lot of time. That’s the third piece of the progression and if we don’t have protection than the ball never gets to that guy”.
UConn also displayed a tough bend, but don’t break defense. Buffalo’s junior quarterback, Alex Zordich proved to be a nuisance for the Huskies as he passed for 220 yards and 1 touchdown while rushing for 76 yards. The aggressive Buffalo offense was taking chances early and often. The Bulls went for it on fourth down three times and successfully completed an onside kick with 6:10 left in the first quarter. They kept the Huskies on their heels with a up-tempo offense throughout the game.
“We expected a hard fought game, we prepared for a hard fought game and we got a hard fought game,” said Pasqaloni.
With 33 seconds left in the third quarter Buffalo showed just how tricky their offense could be down by 3 scores. The Bulls ran a screen and lateral that would lead to a 50 yard touchdown for Brandon Murie. The play caught the Huskies completely off guard and would allow the Bulls back in the game going into the fourth quarter.
“The play got them back in the game,” said senior outside linebacker, Jory Johnson. “The hook in latter is kind of a gimmick play that they executed well. It got their momentum going”.
The stout UConn defense was able to fend off the Bulls’ late attempt at victory with a strong defensive performance from Johnson who led the Huskies with 14 tackles, 2 of which were for a loss. The defense also got a needed contribution from linebacker, Yawin Smallwood with 11 tackles. Defensive end Trevordo Williams and defensive back Byron Jones each added 7 tackles. It was a complete effort on defense for the Huskies.
This tough win is exactly what UConn needs heading into New Brunswick next weekend to play the nationally ranked, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, in an emotional grudge match against a bitter rival.