BACK OF THE PACK
UConn falls to N.C. State at home for first loss of the season
Published: Monday, September 10, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 10, 2012 00:09
Small mistakes were what killed the Huskies in a big game.
In a difficult 10-7 loss to the North Carolina State Wolfpack, the little things, things that coaches take for granted yet go crazy when they don’t happen, didn’t show up.
In the first 90 seconds of the post-game press conference, UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni used the word “frustrating” to describe the game four times in about 90 seconds.
That frustration for Pasqualoni kicked in pretty early on and it played out like a scene from a head coach’s worst nightmare.
On the first UConn possession, the Huskies started off on their own 39 yard line. Tailback Lyle McCombs started things off with a five yard run then quarterback Chandler Whitmer found tight end Ryan Griffin for a four-yard gain. On third and one, the Huskies were unable to convert and had to punt the ball away. Three and out.
On the second UConn possession, the Huskies started on their own 48 yard-line. Whitmer stepped up and rushed for five yards as the pocket collapsed and then McCombs picked up one yard, making it third and four from the NC State 46. Then Kevin Friend was called for illegal procedure and on the third and long, Whitmer’s pass was incomplete. Three and out.
On the third UConn possession, the Huskies started on their own 45 yard-line. Whitmer completed a pass to tight end John Delahunt for a gain of six yards to start the drive off. Then McCombs was stopped at the line and then Whitmer’s pass to wide receiver Michael Smith was incomplete. Three and out.
“It seemed like every time we got going, something happened,” Pasqualoni said.
But while the UConn offense was unable to do anything with the football, the North Carolina State defense wasn’t having much luck either. The only difference was the the Wolfpack weren’t beating themselves with mistakes, the Huskies just made sure they had nowhere to go with the ball.
By the end of the first quarter, the Wolfpack had only 12 yards rushing on 10 carries. In total, they only had 62 yards worth of offense, and three first downs. North Carolina State did not advance past the UConn 44 yard-line.
“We’re a good defense,” linebacker Sio Moore said after the game. “We’ve built that into what we do and how we do it.”
In the second quarter, the UConn offense performed a little bit better than it did during the first quarter. The Huskies had 75 yards worth of offense, compared to just 36 in the first quarter.
At one point, Whitmer managed to find an open Nick Williams for a 30-yard gain, one of the rare sparks for the UConn offense on the game.
But despite the boost, UConn still wasn’t getting any points from its scoring drives.
The Wolfpack had added a field goal from kicker Niklas Sade, but that was it. Going into the half the score was a manageable 3-0.