This was a very difficult recap to write.
Let me start off by saying that I still love UConn football and I love Chandler Whitmer. Yes, he threw the game-ending interception that crushed every UConn fan out there, but talk about a kid who plays with heart. You think you're upset? Think about how Whitmer feels. You can tell from watching him that all he wants to do is win, and this probably crushes him more than anyone else. His final stats were not awful. He still went 19-31 for 171 yards with 2 TDs and added 61 rushing yards on 7 carries, including a touchdown. And he kept us in it until the final seconds.
Secondly, this team showed so much heart, so much fight. Let's be real, while this game eliminated us from postseason play, it would have been a miracle to get 6 wins. To tell it how it is, these players just aren't that good. They still work their butts off and give 100% all the time, but the talent just isn't there. It's not even close to the talent we had when Randy Edsall was head coach, and Diaco is doing his absolute best to get us to compete with teams every week.
With that being said, no, this was not a good loss, and yes, that was a terrible play by Whitmer at the end. Army, at 2-6, was a team that UConn should have beat. Seeing the triple option for the first time this season, the Huskies did not know how to defend it. The Black Knights ran all over the Husky defense, totaling 327 yards on 60 carries with 4 touchdowns. Quarterback Angel Santiago was the team's biggest weapon, running for 97 yards with two touchdowns while also going 2-3 for 38 yards in the air.
Being down 14-0 in the first half, it looked like this may be a blowout for Army, as they had drives of 89 yards and 85 yards, both for touchdowns while not passing the ball one time. But, UConn started to somewhat lock up in the second half, forcing two punts by the Black Knights. It does sound silly saying that the Huskies locked up by forcing two punts, but in the moment, they were both huge.
One of the biggest plays in the half, besides the pick six, came in the third quarter with UConn down 21-14. Army gave the ball to running back Larry Dixon and it very much looked like UConn cornerback Jhavon Williams stripped the ball giving the Huskies possession. Unfortunately, the refs ruled forward progress even though Dixon was still moving forward, giving possession back to the Black Knights. Not a great call to say the least.
The Huskies still battled, though, driving 67 yards that ended with a Whitmer touchdown to receiver Noel Thomas with just over 2 minutes left in the game. Like UConn seems to always do, they gave all fans hope, recovering an onside kick. Whitmer then showed off his toughness by running the ball over and over again getting the Huskies deep into Army territory. We all know what happened next: Whitmer tried forcing a throw instead of throwing it away, resulting in a 99 yard interception return for a touchdown by Army's Chris Carnegie.
The loss drops UConn to 2-7 heading into a bye week. The Huskies get back to action on November 22nd at home against Cincinnati. Let's all make sure we come out and support our boys.
I'm still proud to be a Husky!