USF 13 - UConn 10: New Look, Same Result

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Change is good, but not today.

Well, that was... ugly. Tim Boyle's first career start was nothing to write home about, as he went 15/43 (35%) for 149 yards and UConn loses an extremely ugly game at home against South Florida.

It certainly didn't start pretty. UConn out-gained USF 139-12 in the first quarter, yet were outscored 7-3. That's what happens when your receivers drop two touchdowns, your kicker slips on a field goal attempt and your offensive lineman recovers, then re-fumbles a Tim Boyle fumble, which was then picked up by the Bulls' Aaron Lynch and returned 44 yards for a touchdown. Boyle went just 2/9 for 22 yards passing in the opening 15. What's worse? USF HAD ZERO PASSING YARDS.

Coming into today, UConn was 123rd in the country in rushing. Don't tell that to Lyle McCombs though, who dominated this game from the get go, rushing for 83 yards—a season high—in just the first quarter. Then, on the first play of the second, McCombs took the handoff 52 yards, cutting and weaving all over the field, and scored the Huskies first TD of the day.

Yet after completely out-gaining USF on offense, an excessive amount of drops—including two dropped INTs on defense—and some high throws kept UConn's offense from producing points. On 3rd and 15 in USF's final drive of the first half, the Bulls were called for a clear illegal block in the back. Then out of nowhere the referees, for some ridiculously absurd reason, overturned the call and gave the Bulls a first down. This was after the Husky defense allowed a big run on 3rd down from the 3-yard line and then dropped what should've been a pick-six. Yet after all that, USF (as USF does) had to punt in plus territory, and the half mercifully ended tied at 10.

USF's lack-luster, self-inflicting and borderline unwatchable style of play continued on the opening drive of the second half when they committed offensive pass interference, a substitution infraction and then wasted a timeout on three successive plays. After punts on top of punts on top of punts, UConn looked to finally get something going late in the third. However after receiver Deshon Foxx dropped yet another big pass, kicker Chad Christen's field goal attempt was blocked and recovered by the Bulls.

Midway through the fourth, USF finally got something going on a drive that started on their own 9 yard line. After Eveld converted on a few huge third down plays, Steven Bravo-Brown dropped what would have been the go-ahead touchdown. The UConn defense got the stop on the very next play, but a field goal gave USF a 13-10 lead with 4 minutes to go.

After the defense forced a three and out, Boyle and the Huskies would have one final chance to comeback. After a big completion got them to midfield, Boyle and Weist had a massive clock management failure, waisting nearly 15 seconds and burning their final timeout rather than hurrying to the line and spiking the ball. Instead, UConn had to rely on a last second hail mary pass, which was knocked away in the end zone.

With a new regime and new quarterback, UConn continues to struggle, this time losing to anemic USF Bulls at Rentschler Field. The one bright spot? Lyle McCombs, who rushed for a career-high 164 yards on 20 carries. UConn rushed for more yards today than they had in their previous four games combined.

It's far too early to make any sort of conclusive judgement on Tim Boyle as the quarterback, but he was not all that impressive today, despite the number of drops. UConn receivers dropped two sure-fire touchdowns, and another potential one, any of which that would have given them a victory on Saturday. Boyle threw many catchable balls, but for the most part his throws were high on the day, and the line did not pass protect well to boot.

There's a lot you can look back on this game and ask "what if?", most specifically the awful clock management at the end of the game, but at the end of the day, the UConn Huskies are 0-5.

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