KICKED IN THE TEMPLE
Huskies fall to Temple Owls in second straight Big East loss
UConn quarterback Chandler Whitmer drops back to attempt a pass against the Temple Owls at Rentschler Field. Whitmer threw for 293 yards and two touchdown passes in the loss at home. JON KULAKOFSKY/The Daily Campus
It was a game of missed opportunities for the UConn football team, as the Huskies fell 17-14 to the Temple Owls in overtime at Rentschler Field.
UConn kicker Chad Christen missed four field goals including one in overtime in the loss for Huskies. With the loss to Temple, the Huskies are now 3-4 on the season and winless in Big East play. Head coach Paul Pasqualoni acknowledged the tough day that Christen had. "Obviously Chad had a tough day," Pasqualoni said. "Sometimes in the world and life of a kicker it's a lonely position and a tough position. I'm sure he's tough and will move on from it."
UConn quarterback Chandler Whitmer threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns, both coming in the first quarter.
On UConn's second drive of the game, Whitmer and the Huskies capped off a seven play 66 yard drive with a 15 yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver, Michael Smith. It was Smith's 3rd career touchdown reception and first of the 2012 season. Temple's following possession was stopped at mid-field after UConn linebacker Sio Moore sacked Temple quarterback Chris Coyer on third and six, forcing the Owls to punt.
The Huskies started their next drive at the Temple 37 and drove the ball down the field 63 yards, highlighted by a 42 yard touchdown reception from Whitmer to tight end Ryan Griffin. UConn took a 14 point lead into the second quarter as the Temple offense only managed one first down and just 11 total offensive yards in the first quarter of play.
The Owl's offense came alive halfway through the second quarter when Temple running back Montel Harris broke a 24 yard touchdown run that gave the Owls their first points of the afternoon. UConn took a 14-7 lead into the locker room at halftime and prepared to go on defense to start the second half. The third quarter was an offensive stalemate as Temple and UConn traded field position back and forth, as neither team could find the end zone.
In the fourth quarter with less than three minutes left in the game, Christen had a chance to extend the Huskies lead to 10 points, but he failed to convert on 45 yard field goal attempt when his kick was blocked by the Owls. Pasqualoni said after the game that he would have done the same thing again in that situation.
"I have so much confidence in Chad, my mindset was there's no way he's missing this one," Pasqualoni said. "We gave him a shot at it and we felt good about it, to tell you the truth, I would probably do the same thing again."
Temple would get one last chance to tie the game with time winding down; Coyer led the Owl's down the field in a 12 play 75 yard drive that ended when Temple wide receiver Jalen Fitzpatrick reeled in a 14 yard touchdown pass to send the game into overtime.
In the overtime period, the Owls won the toss and chose to go on defense. UConn set up Christen for a 28 yard field goal in the extra frame but his kick would sail wide right, giving Temple a chance to win the game. Owl's kicker Brandon McManus nailed a 29 yard field goal to propel Temple to victory.
After the game, Christen said he's looking forward to rebounding from his performance against the Owls. "It's just a matter of me not doing my job and every time I got the opportunity, I have to be able to make those, that's where the trust comes in with Pasqualoni," said Christen. "I look forward to rebounding from this and staying strong. I know all my teammates are supporting me to the fullest and I'm going to go out there and do my best next week.
UConn will take the field in search of their first conference win when the Huskies head to Syracuse on Friday, October 19th.
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