UConn loses by 29 to Buffalo, falls to 0-4 for first time since 1991
Published: Monday, September 30, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013 00:09
The seat in Paul Pasqualoni’s office has never been hotter.
In its first road game of the season, the UConn football team left its game on the bus, as the Huskies were manhandled by Buffalo 41-12 on Saturday.
After losses to Towson, Maryland, Michigan and Buffalo, UConn is 0-4 for the first time since 1991, when the Huskies opened the season with losses to Furman, New Hampshire, Lehigh and Villanova.
Once again, the Huskies were unable to establish a running game, gaining only 27 yards on the ground. UConn went into the game ranked 122nd out of 123 Football Bowl Subdvision teams in rushing offense at 52 yards per game. The 27 yards on Saturday bring the Huskies’ average to 45.75 yards per game, dropping to worst in the FBS.
UConn fell behind for good less than three minutes into the game. Just over one minute into the game, quarterback Chandler Whitmer was stripped before attempting a pass, and Buffalo recovered the ball at the Huskies’ eight-yard line. Four plays later, Buffalo quarterback Joe Licata found Mason Schrek unmarked in the corner of the end zone to give the Bulls a 7-0 advantage.
Things only got worse from there. Ten minutes later, Whitmer was intercepted by Buffalo’s Najja Johnson, who returned the ball 33 yards for a touchdown. The Bulls held a 14-3 lead at the end of the first quarter, despite gaining one yard of total offense in the opening 15 minutes.
Trailing 28-6 in the second quarter, UConn got its lone touchdown of the game on a two-yard run by Lyle McCombs. The Huskies failed to convert the two-point conversion and did not score again the rest of the game.
McCombs led the Huskies with 33 yards on 13 carries.
Whitmer was the silver lining of UConn’s struggles in the first three games, but the junior quarterback had nothing working for him on Saturday. He completed 10 of 24 passes for 182 yards and was picked off twice.
The offensive line did nothing to help Whitmer on Saturday. Both sides of the line were steamrolled over on multiple occasions, as Whitmer was sacked five times and rushed into several throws.
Whitmer has now been sacked 20 times in four games in 2013. Only Idaho has allowed more sacks this season.
Trailing 34-12 entering the fourth quarter, Pasqualoni decided to replace Whitmer with Casey Cochran, who threw an interception on his first pass attempt in a UConn uniform. Cochran completed two of five passes for 11 yards and the initial interception.
Licata outperformed both UConn quarterbacks in the pocket. The sophomore completed as many passes as Whitmer – 10 of them on 19 attempts – for 177 yards, and he added three touchdowns.
Licata’s only blemish was an interception late in the third quarter, when he was picked off by freshman Obi Melifonwu. It was Melifonwu’s second interception of the season.
UConn now has a week off before its next game on Oct. 12, when the Huskies return to Rentschler Field to take on South Florida in its first game in the American Athletic Conference. Following a 49-21 loss to the No. 14 Miami Hurricanes, South Florida is 0-4 to start the season, and will open its American Athletic Conference season on Oct. 5 against Cincinnati.