Raise your hand if you thought UConn would score 37 points today. Even if you were crazy enough to think UConn could win, you probably didn't think it would come on the back of such a solid offensive outing.
Today the Huskies were able to build off of their solid offensive outing last week and hang 37 points on the UCF Knights. The offense found a rhythm in the second quarter-- ignited a 68-yard touchdown run by Deshon Foxx-- and played with remarkable consistency in the second half- there were multiple long touchdown drives!
The offense recorded 16 first downs, gained 327 yards, 179 of those on the ground, and went 2-2 on fourth down, including a bold 4th and 4 call on the drive which led to UConn's second touchdown.
The first quarter started in familiar fashion as the Huskies couldn't get much going offensively and watched their opponent take an early lead. We even had the requisite crappy early turnover, which led to a Knights touchdown. UConn was lucky to come out of the first quarter only facing a 7-point deficit as UCF had the ball in the redzone (or very close) three times, but only came out with that one TD thanks to a 4th down stop and a blocked field goal.
With the offense sputtering, the Huskies tried Deshon Foxx at QB and on his very first play he kept a zone-read, turned the corner and eluded multiple defenders on his way to the endzone. Foxx continued to be a factor as a running quarterback across the rest of the game, finishing with 102 yards. He was also under center on the Huskies second fourth down conversion, where he handed it to Ron Jonson for a crucial touchdown later in the game.
UCF was able to answer with a touchdown to make it 14-7, but it was pretty much all Connecticut after that. The Huskies scored a touchdown on a 53-yard drive, capped off by a beautiful 38-yard touchdown pass from Chandler Whitmer to Noel Thomas. Thomas finished with 4 receptions for 83 yards and two touchdowns.
Taking over with 1:12 left in the first half, the Knights tried to get a score before the intermission, but Andrew Adams intercepted Justin Holman and it was the Huskies who were able to end the half on a positive note when Bobby Puyol hit a 43-yard field goal to put the home team up 17-14 at the break. The Knights were able to move the ball effectively in the first half behind running back William Stanback, who had over 100 yards at the half, but the Huskies persevered- Stanback only had 33 rushing yards in the second half.
UCF opened the scoring in the second half with a 73-yard touchdown pass but other than that they were pretty much completely bottled up for the remainder of the game. It was a dominating second half performance from the Husky defense. UConn answered right back with a 79-yard drive for a touchdown to go up 24-21, and they would never relinquish the lead.
On the ensuing possession, linebacker Jefferson Ashiru intercepted a tipped ball and the Huskies quickly added another touchdown to make it 31-21. The scoring barrage continued as they notched another touchdown shortly afterwards but missed the extra point to make it 37-21. That missed PAT left the door open ever so slightly for the Knights, but our defense held strong at the end and UConn closed it out for the win.
This was a great team performance through and through. The defense played extremely well and words cannot describe how well the offense played. UConn's last promising offensive performance before ECU was against Boise State but after that they took a huge step back. It was really promising to see this kind of week-over-week improvement and hopefully Bob Diaco's team has spurred some excitement for the rest of the season and beyond.
This recap would be incomplete without mentioning that the Jasper Howard memorial statue was unveiled today with the help of 30+ former players and family members on hand for the halftime ceremony. It is amazing for the Huskies to be able to honor Howard's memory with a win on Homecoming. It's also great, thanks to the hard work of season ticket holder Lisa Lowry, that the school has properly dedicated a permanent memorial to our fallen Husky. Never forget #6.