RUN OVER AT RUTGERS
Huskies fall to Rutgers 19-3 in Big East opener
Published: Sunday, October 7, 2012
Updated: Sunday, October 7, 2012 22:10
PISCATAWAY—At the start of the second half, defensive back-ups Andrew Adams and Marquise Vann combined for the play of the day, silencing a crowd of 5,000 strong. Forcing a fumble from returner Jeremy Deering, the pair gave possession to the UConn offense at midfield at a critical stage of a 6-3 Rutgers game.
Then, with a quick a three-and-out, the Huskies handed the ball right back—never to see as quality an opportunity again.
No. 22 Rutgers (5-0, 1-0) rolled over the UConn Huskies (3-3, 0-1) 19-3 thanks to a 13-0 second half last Saturday at High Point Solutions Stadium. The Big East foes kicked off their respective conference seasons with a defensive slugfest where neither team eclipsed 300 yards of total offense. Scarlet Knights running back Jawan Jamison was the lone bright spot, recording his fifth consecutive 100-yard game on the ground with 110 yards on 28 carries.
“We missed a lot of opportunities.” UConn quarterback Chandler Whitmer said. “Rutgers has a good defense and is a good team. I give a lot of credit to them, but we just didn’t execute. It’s just everybody not clicking. It’s all eleven of us. We just didn’t do our jobs today.”
Whitmer completed just 14 of 32 passes for 191 yards and four interceptions, totaling 10 for the season. The second of the signal caller’s turnovers was returned for a touchdown by safety Wayne Warren with 3:44 left in the game, effectively sealing the Huskies’ fate. The two subsequent drives also ended in Whitmer picks and accounted for 62 of the Huskies total 191 yards of offense.
After being benched for the first quarter due to an earlier arrest for second-degree breach of peace, running back Lyle McConbs gained just 32 yards rushing. Geremy Davis was the Huskies’ leading receiver with four catches for 78 yards, furthering his season lead over other UConn pass catchers in those categories. However, an apparent miscommunication between Davis and Whitmer on the team’s second possession led to an easy Logan Ryan interception.
“We have to be able to run the ball more efficiently than we ran it today.” Said UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni. “We have to protect the passer. We have to be able to do those things. Give credit to them, they played a very good game today.”
Following the Ryan forced turnover, the Scarlet Knights could only move the ball seventeen yards over six plays. Freshman kicker Kyle Frederico knocked in his fifth field goal of the year from 45 yards out after four short Jamison rushes and two passes from quarterback Gary Nova. Nova finished the day 18-27 for 157 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions.
A Nick Williams fumble on the ensuing kickoff set the table again for the Rutgers offense on a short field. Starting at the UConn 29 yardline, the unit was forced to kick another field goal after a Jamison touchdown run was called back due to offensive holding. Husky defensive captain Jory Johnson made two stops on the drive and finished with team-high 10 tackles.
With the score 6-0, the teams traded scoreless drives after UConn defensive tackle Shamar Stephen blocked a 50-yard field goal attempt early in the second quarter. Taking the ball at the Rutgers 47, the UConn offense moved forty-five yards behind the running of McCombs and ‘wildcat’ quarterback Scott McCummings. Then on third-and-goal from the two, McCummings misfired on a rollout pass to Martin Hyppolite to set up a chipshot Chad field goal with 2:39 left in the opening half
Though, thanks to another stop by the defense, Whitmer and co. faced another opportunity to put points on the board. Starting from midfield, the Huskies had thirty-three seconds and three timeouts to move into Rutgers terriorty. However, after a long completion to Davis at the Scarlet Knights’ 34, the team ran up to the line for a spike instead of stopping the clock.
Now with only eight seconds, head coach Paul Pasqualoni sent on the kicking unit who missed a 51-yard attempt. The drive encapsulated UConn’s performance on the day, filled largely with missed opportunities and mental gaffes.