Pasqualoni stands by kicker despite rough outing
Published: Sunday, October 14, 2012
Updated: Sunday, October 14, 2012 23:10
It was a case of Jekyll and Hyde Saturday afternoon at Rentschler Field.
For the first quarter, UConn was dominating the game in every way imaginable. The Huskies were not only successful on offense, but they were—for the first time all season—truly balanced.
UConn’s running and passing games were perfectly in synchronization with one another. They were feeding off of one another. Max DeLorenzo—starting in place of the injured Lyle McCombs—was productive with his carries. He was averaging just over four yards per attempt and was getting good blocking downfield.
Huskies’ quarterback Chandler Whitmer completed eight of his ten passes for 159 yards in just the first quarter. He was on the same page with his receivers and tight ends and he looked comfortable taking his chances down field.
In the first quarter alone, UConn had two touchdowns and a field goal opportunity.
Defensively, UConn held Temple to close to nothing. The Huskies had 192 yards of total offense and held the Owls to a mere 11. Temple ran only nine offensive plays all quarter and those plays totaled barely enough yards for a first down.
Temple running back Montel Harris, the conference offensive player of the week, rushed the ball five times for only seven yards. He averaged a lowly 1.4 yards per carry.
The Owls were unable to stay on the field anywhere near long enough to get into a rhythm. The Huskies had the Owls cornered. This game looked like it was going to get very ugly. A blowout seemed imminent.
Yet inexplicably, at the end of overtime, the Owls were on top. UConn had lost 17-14 and the already dwindled Rentschler Field crowd was left dead silent and utterly confused.
The easy scapegoat at the end of the game was kicker Chad Christen. He missed three field goals—from 36, 42 and 28 yards away—and another one was blocked.
“Sometimes in the role and the life of a kicker, it’s a lonely position, a tough position,” Pasqualoni said after the game.
He also said that as soon as he gets the chance, he is going to talk to Christen. Pasqualoni told media that he will simply encourage him and tell him to keep at it. There will be good days and there will be bad days in the career of a kicker.
After the game, Christen faced the media—it should be noted that he was the first player to do so.
Christen said that he did not have a very good day of practice Thursday. He said that he was not feeling the ball come off his foot well. He admitted that Saturday’s performance was a direct reflection of how he had practiced.
When asked what two missed kicks and a blocked field goal can do to a kicker’s psyche, Christen confessed that it can be devastating. But he also admitted that a large part of being a kicker is being able to put away the distractions.
But Pasqualoni later made it a point to express that the loss was more than just Christen’s fault. He went on to say that in games like Saturday’s when things aren’t going as planned, a football team has to keep going and continue to play hard.
There were very few scoring opportunities like those UConn had in the first quarter. When the chance to put six points on the board did present itself, the Huskies did not do anything with them. The points just stopped coming.
Temple stepped up for the final three quarters and it seemed as though UConn was unable to match the Owls’ intensity.
The loss puts UConn at 3-4 with a 0-2 Big East record. UConn’s next game is Friday night in New York against rival Syracuse.