Sep 8, 2012; East Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Paul Pasqualoni watches from he sideline as they take on the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the first quarter at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE
Well, that wasn't fun. UConn's inept offense wasted the best performance by a Husky defense in years and fell 10-7 to a frustratingly beatable N.C. State team.
The offensive line was horrendous and that might be letting them off easy. The Huskies got no push whatsoever and Chandler Whitmer was constantly harassed in the backfield. Without blocking Lyle McCombs was incredibly limited, though a fifty-yard gain on a screen showed that when he gets space Lyle McCombs can still be Lyle McCombs. Chandler Whitmer threw three interceptions and tried to force too many passes, but I'm not going to put too much blame on him. He looked like a player making his second college start, which is exactly what he is. There is a lot of room for improvement -- he really needs to stop trying to hit a homerun on every play, and challenging All-American corner David Amerson on the last play of the game was a horrid decision -- but he showed good pocket presence and I still have hope.
Aside from than the actual play UConn fans should be concerned about two things: stupid penalties and George DeLeone's inexplicable reliance on using the ineffective wildcat. UConn killed three or four drives thanks to foolish false starts, which is not what this struggling offense needs. DeLeone's playcalling also contributed to the Huskies woes. I can't think of a single successful play run out of the formation and pulling Whitmer off the field repeatedly only served to disrupt an already inconsistent offense.
On the other hand the defense was absolutely ferocious. I can't say enough good things about them. Even the touchdown the allowed required N.C. State to have a perfectly thrown ball while Trevardo Williams was mere inches away from a sack. They were a terror in the backfield all day long and they continue to be the best part of this team.
The good news for the Huskies is that the schedule lightens up from here. N.C. State was by far the best non-conference opponent on the schedule, and probably the second- or third-best team UConn will play this year. If UConn can find a way to get anything at all from the offense they should be in good shape by the time Big East play starts. Now bring on Maryland and Randy Edsall.