After last week's Scott Noorwoodian loss to North Carolina, one that left Zach Frazer with an undisclosed knee injury that will keep him out at least one more game, the Huskies' season was well ... I think this sums it up nicely:
Thank you, GIF Party. That'll do.
But, to my surprise, UConn went down to the durrty South Saturday and somehow pulled out a 30-22 win over teen sensation Robert Griffin and the Baylor Bears.
I couldn't listen to the dulcet tones of Joe D, nor could I watch a replay of the game on Baylor's site (although I did get to see the halftime show and listen to some guy discuss his new Christian album), so I don't have much perspective on this one. But the box score essentially tells the tale, as the Huskies' offense put forth its best effort since beating Virginia last September.
They've had six wins since then, but never have they been as efficient. Against Baylor yesterday, UConn dominated time of possession (39:44); was 11-for-20 on third-down conversions, the first time its been over 50% in that category since going 6-for-11 against Virginia; and instead of scoring on long gains, the Huskies did most of their work on long drives, putting together four of 53 yards or more that resulted in 13 points (16, if not for a missed field goal). And when the Huskies were handed two fumbles inside the Bears' 25, they capitalized with touchdowns each time; in fact, they never left the red zone without at least a field goal.
The running game was dominant as usual, as Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon each topped 100 yards and the latter scored each of the Huskies' three TDs in the 10th revival attempt of his career. But the more impressive performance, at least to those who follow the team, came from backup QB Cody Endres. He was just 12-for-23 for 147 yards in his first start since Nov. 1, but unlike his predecessor, he left with a big fat zero in the interception column, the first time the Huskies have done so this season.
Endres' performance probably wasn't enough to create legitimate QB melodrama -- at least, not yet. But it did essentially lay out the blueprint for success this season.
All the hype surrounding the new offense may have blinded us with visions of grandeur (i.e. a passing game), but for at least this season, UConn is going to win the way they always have: playing good defense, running the ball and not turning it over. That might not be a good enough formula to make it to the BCS or top the West Virginias and the Notre Dames this season, but it's good enough to win six or seven games and earn a trip to December hotspots like Toronto and St. Petersburg.
It's an incredibly frustrating way to play, sure. Especially since it turns each contest into a big game of Jenga, where one bad turnover will likely cost the game, and nobody wants to just settle for a mediocre bowl game for the a second season in a row. But with a young team playing in a new offense, that may be the best approach, and the only one the ever-conservative Edsall is probably considering.
My high expectations for the offense were probably a year too early. This game made that very clear. But, all things considered, that's not a terrible thing -- I was willing to take the offense back because it said it had changed, but after seeing that it hadn't, I'm beginning to realize I may have to settle because it's the only thing I have and, well, we have some history and it gives me the butterflies every once and a while. But if this crap continues next year, offense, don't think I'm going to sit around and take it. And how about some flowers every once and a while?
In the meantime, make sure to buy a thick winter coat before December. I hear Toronto's mighty cold that time of year.