Interception turns tide, ends UConn’s upset bid
Published: Monday, September 23, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 23, 2013 00:09
After an 0-2 start to the 2013 season, it seemed that going into a game against No. 15 Michigan, a line of 18.5 points was generous to the UConn football team.
But in front of a record crowd of 42,704 at Rentschler Field, the Huskies gave the Wolverines everything they had, despite Michigan overcoming a 21-7 third quarter deficit to beat UConn 24-21.
“We went out as a team and fought our hardest, but we didn’t get the win,” freshman safety Obi Melifonwu said. “We played very well. We needed to play hard for 60 minutes, but we came up with the loss.”
Huskies respond after touchdown overturned
On the march in the second quarter, trailing 7-0, Whitmer found Geremy Davis wide open down the sideline. Diving into the end zone, Davis appeared to bring the pass down for a touchdown. After a review, the touchdown was overturned.
While that could have been a momentum-killing moment, the Huskies tied the game five plays later, when Whitmer hit Spencer Parker in the back of the end zone, sparking the Huskies en route to 14 points in the quarter.
“That’s all you can do,” Whitmer said. “The energy’s up, you’re ready to go. You think you have a touchdown but they call it off, so we have to get back out there, make more plays and put it in the end zone, and we did.”
Whitmer interception turns the tide
With 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, UConn had the ball and looked well on its way to a monumental win.
That’s when Michigan’s Desmond Morgan changed the game.
Whitmer tried to hit wide receiver Geremy Davis over the middle, but Morgan extended his arm as high as he could and pulled down an interception with one hand. Morgan ran the interception back to the UConn 12, and one play later, Michigan running back Fitzgerald Toussaint scampered into the end zone untouched, leveling the score and giving all the momentum to the Wolverines.
“We had the momentum and it felt good, but [Morgan] made a play,” Whitmer said.
Whitmer has been a bright spot in the 0-3 start for the Huskies, and had played a mistake-free game to that point. The junior quarterback said that he thought that Davis was going to have a first down as soon as the ball left his hand, not expecting Morgan to make the play that he did.
“I was holding [Morgan] with my eyes, and as soon as I snapped over there, he redirected and made a great play,” Whitmer said. “He stuck his hand up there and was able to bring it back down. It’s tough. You’re trying to get the ball to Geremy. It’s tough when you don’t have [wide receiver Shakim Phillips] out there and you’re kind of zeroing in on one guy. But he ran a great route – he won. The guy was just able to reach up there. I was trying to get it up high for Geremy to go up there and get it, but the guy just made a great play.”
Huskies not giving up after 0-3 start
UConn is 0-3 for the first time since 2001, when the Huskies finished 2-9 in their second season as a transitioning FBS program. Despite being winless with 25 percent of the season gone, UConn is looking ahead to Buffalo next Saturday, knowing that after that comes the American Athletic Conference schedule.
“We’re going to approach Buffalo just like it’s the most important game we’re playing because it’s the next game we’re playing,” Pasqualoni said. “I can promise you this: that our preparation for Buffalo will not be any different than it was for Michigan.”
Pasqualoni has said after each loss that no one is more upset than the players. The Huskies have kept all three games close before allowing the other team to pull away at the end, a theme they expect to change.
“We’ve got to give more,” Davis said. “We keep giving effort, but it’s obviously not enough. We have to keep giving more effort. That’s what we’re going to do. I feel like we have been improving each week, but it has to come to a point where that improvement turns into a win.”