UConn's season ends on a disappointing note
For the seniors on the UConn football team, their season ended with a whimper instead of a bang, as the Huskies lost to the Cincinnati Bearcats 34-17 in the final game of the season.
UConn ended the season with an overall record of 5-7, falling one win short of earning a post season bowl bid. The Huskies posted a disappointing record of 2-5 in conference play and finished tied with the Temple Owls for sixth place. For 20 seniors on this UConn team, it was the last game they will ever play at the collegiate level.
One of those seniors is quarter back Johnny McEntee, who served as the backup to sophomore quarterback Chandler Whitmer. After Whitmer suffered a head injury in the last weekend's game against Louisville, McEntee came into the game in the fourth quarter and led the Huskies to a victory in the third overtime. This weekend it was McEntee once again who went under center when Whitmer was forced to leave the game again with a head injury.
The results were much different this weekend than last weekend. McEntee finished the day with just 73 yards passing and he threw two interceptions in his final appearance in a UConn uniform.
Senior Ryan Griffin finished his career as a Husky on a high note. Griffin had 85 yards receiving on the afternoon, including a 74 yard touchdown run, where Griffin outran the entire Cincinnati defense to put up seven points on the board for UConn. Senior linebacker Sio Moore made three tackles including one sack in his last game, anchoring a line backing core that has stayed consistent all season. Head coach Paul Pasqualoni was proud of his senior class for everything they have done while wearing a Husky uniform.
"We proud of our guys, I think this senior group is a very good senior group," said Pasqualoni. "They have been tremendously loyal to the University of Connecticut and the football program. I think their leadership allowed us to be here tonight to try to get to a bowl game and I wish that we could have worked out for us but it didn't."
Whitmer plays despite head injury
Whitmer was closely evaluated throughout the week and the medical staff determined that he was healthy enough to play against Cincinnati. According to Pasqualoni, Whitmer looked good on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, he practiced every snap with the team and Thursday Whitmer seemed ready to go.
Before he was forced to the sidelines with another head injury, Whitmer completed 16 of the 31 passes he attempted and threw one interception. After the game Whitmer said that playing against the Bearcats was the right decision and that the medical staff did a good job in monitoring
"I passed all my tests, there were a lot of expensive tests I had to do all week and I took some days off and the headaches and I was able to subside the headache," said Whitmer. "After that I was good and they did everything they needed to do. I was good to play, I'm competitive and I wanted to get back out there but they were going to do what was best and smart."
Recruiting in the offseason
Since the Huskies did not win six games, they will not play in the postseason, which means recruiting is the next step for UConn. Pasqualoni said that the Huskies have a big recruiting weekend next weekend as his team prepares for the future. According to Pasqualoni, the key to the Huskies posting an eight of nine win season will be recruiting more skill players, as well as more offensive linemen.
The quotable Paul Pasqualoni
"My confidence level, my outlook has not changed one iota. I just feel we need to get another recruiting class in here and have a great offseason," said Coach Pasqualoni on his outlook for the future of this program.
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