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Temple 30, UConn 16: Temple of doom

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Justice has been served.

We knew things were going to be a rougher than expected this season after watching Denard Robinson's un-tied shoes tread all over the Huskies in Week 1.

But, Temple? A team kicked out of the Big East in 2004 because of poor attendance and lack of competitiveness, and was essentially replaced by the Huskies? A team that hadn't beaten a BCS opponent since a 10-point win over Syracuse in 2005 (the last of the Owls' two total wins that season)? A team that barely escaped FCS foe Villanova and needed OT to take down Central Michigan in its two previous games this season? A team that, after beating a now 1-2 UConn team that has just four mediocre bowl games under its belt, was proud enough to hit head coach Al Golden with a Gatorade bath (a Golden shower, if you will) to celebrate the win.

... Really?

(And to anyone who tries to make a, "Well, Temple is pretty good this season" or "They just have our number" argument: No, they aren't; and no, they don't.)

What was supposed to be UConn's first actual win of the season quickly turned out to be one of the worst and most-frustrating performances the Huskies have turned out, possibly ever. 

A defense that once carried UConn for most of the past decade was gashed for 364 total yards -- 201 of which coming on the ground -- by a team that finished No. 92 nationally in total offense in 2009, and through the first two games of this season, sat at No. 102. 

But it was no where near as ugly as the performance turned out by the Huskies' offense. UConn actually out-gained the Owls by 18 yards and received another sterling effort from awesome-in-a-bottle Jordan Todman, who racked up 167 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries.

The passing game, however, continues to be a colossal failure. 

Zach Frazer was just 16-for-34 for 158 yards and no touchdowns or picks, and continues to play as if he himself would prefer Cody Endres to start under center. But it's not just Frazer. It's every single part of the passing game.

Although Michael Smith's end-game stats continue to lead you to believe otherwise, no UConn receiver seems capable of making any kind of positive impact. And when he's not overthrowing his targets, Frazer shows clear signs of Sanchez-itis, checking down whenver possible, even in third-and-long situations.

But the biggest deterrent is the play-calling. 

After years of running away from the forward pass under Rob Ambrose like the Mystery Machine gang from a ghoul or ghost, the Huskies seemed to have finally pieced together a competent passing game last season under new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead. Although the running game was obviously still the focus (as it should be with UConn's stable of prime-time backs), the Huskies could actually -- finally -- move the ball through the air, finishing the season No. 61 nationally in passing offense; not really Texas Tech-type stuff, but it sure seemed like it to fans of a team that was barely more pass-orientated than Navy.

But where have you gone, revamped offense?

The Huskies' attack is probably more balanced in terms of plays called (they rushed 41 times and threw 34 times Saturday). But the pass they do run are no better than an Ambrose-approved inside draw.

UConn's passing game has simply become a succession of screen passes, bubble screens and quick outs (most of which Frazer struggles to throw), that are good for two or three yards at best. And if longer patterns are run or  a big gain is picked up, it's usually out of circumstance (third-and-long, etc.), somebody picking up extra yards on a swing pass (never happens) or through blind luck (Michael Smith's juggling 47-yard reception against Michigan -- still the longest play of the season -- being the prime example); UConn's longest passing play on Saturday was a mere 21 yards (to Ryan Griffin on a third down in the first quarter) and was its only throw over 20 yards. It would throw just three most passes over 15 yards after, with only one coming after halftime.

Essentially, the passing game has become just another extension of any already drab and predictable running game, only run with less-talented players. 

And the worst part is that there doesn't appear to be any easy solution.

A change at quarterback could help, and should probably be made as soon as Cody Endres' suspension is lifted. But Endres won't be catching the balls, and he won't be calling any of the plays. Besides, who's to say Edsall will even give him the nod after being suspended indefinitely for what those in the know seem to think is somehow drug-related?

Nothing is going to change until the offense, and those controlling it, change first. 

Until then, the Huskies will struggle offensively against any team, no matter how good they are. Because a vanilla offense is still a vanilla offense, no mater how you try to re-package it.