It is going to get ugly before it gets good. Today it was really, really ugly.
UConn (1-4) simply couldn't get out of their own way today against the visiting Temple Owls (3-1), falling 36-10. Mistakes plagued the Huskies throughout, even though they were only down 7-3 at the half. Those seven Temple points came on a Chandler Whitmer pick-six after UConn had driven over fifty yards down the field in very impressive fashion. After opening the game with such a confident display of offensive competency, that interception was disheartening, and also horribly thrown.
On the opening kick of the second half Temple couldn't cleanly pick up the ball and UConn actually recovered for a touchdown. Unfortunately, that touchdown had to be called back because a UConn player was offsides on the kick-off. That one hurt. Temple took advantage of this second chance as P.J. Walker hit Jalen Fitzpatrick for a 42-yard touchdown to give the Owls an insurmountable 14-3 lead six plays later.
UConn's defense hung in and played quite well, especially in the first half, but eventually field position and lack of rest hurt them. After the Fitzpatrick touchdown, UConn's next drive was hamstrung by a holding penalty and then Temple started stringing together first downs on their way to another touchdown to make it 21-3. Any chance of a UConn comeback was quelled by a Whitmer sack-fumble recovered for a touchdown by the Owls on the second play of the ensuing drive.
Arkeel Newsome did score an amazing 72-yard touchdown on a screen pass. It was an exciting play by the true freshman, and by far the highlight of the day for Husky fans. But it was too little too late.
The offensive line was abysmal. In addition to barely giving the quarterback time to throw, they were responsible for four out of UConn's seven penalties. For most of the "competitive" portion of this game Chandler Whitmer was running for his life behind our JV offensive line. The mental errors, however, were the most devastating. We knew the O-line was shaky, but had high hopes that this team would appear well-coached.
At 28-10, Whitmer and Newsome had a mis-communication on a hand-off from a play at the 2-yard line. This mistake led to a safety. In the first half, after a Temple muffed punt had them starting a drive in enemy territory, UConn moved backwards thanks to a holding penalty and Bobby Puyol missed a 45-yard field goal. Bob Diaco and his staff will watch the film and see a lot of missed opportunities for this Husky team, this game could have and should have been a lot closer.
It is important to keep in mind that this is a very young team, and usually in a rebuild it needs to get worse before it gets better. We aren't as bad as this final score indicates, but in case there was any doubt we can confirm that UConn is in the early stages of a full-on rebuild. While some of us thought that Diaco could bring this team to decency relatively quickly, myself included, that will not be the case here.