This was a game UConn (3-4) needed to win--for the most part the Huskies played well enough to do so--but unfortunately a few key mistakes on both sides of the ball prevented this game from going UConn's way.
If you look at the stat sheet, it's hard to see where UConn faltered. The Husky offense gained 528 yards on the day behind a very productive Bryant Shirreffs, who rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown while also throwing for 365, adding one touchdown and only one interception on a pass tipped at the line.
UConn had two receivers get close to 100 yards, with Noel Thomas grabbing seven balls for 94 yards and tight end Alec Bloom catching five for 97 yards. Arkeel Newsome had a great day, with 74 yards receiving and 58 rushing yards on 13 carries.
Despite all of that, the Huskies only had 13 points late in the fourth quarter as the USF Bulls (3-3) took a two-score lead with 4:23 remaining.
It goes without saying, then, that UConn must have ended a number of drives, productive ones, with points left on the table. The Huskies marched 67 yards down the field on their very first drive but failed to convert a 4th-and-1 from the 8-yard line. Their third drive moved 47 yards before punting from USF's 37-yard line on 4th-and-4. The punt went out of bounds at the USF 17. Was giving up possession worth those 20 yards? Absolutely not.
The Huskies wasted another scoring chance at the end of the first half. After driving 50 yards downfield, a swing pass to Arkeel Newsome ran out the clock. Newsome needed to be aware of the time remaining and get down there, especially knowing that UConn had a time-out left. USF took a 7-3 lead into the halftime break with the lone score coming on 44-yard touchdown pass from Quinton Flowers to Rodney Adams, who would finish with three receiving touchdowns on the day.
UConn briefly held a lead after Shirreffs' rushing touchdown, right after a Jamar Summers interception, put the Huskies up 10-7. Unfortunately, USF scored a touchdown on the ensuing possession after two straight big plays to begin a 21-3 streak that would put the game away. USF's offense broke multiple big plays on two other touchdown drives as well and finished with 461 total yards.
Late in the game, with the score 21-13, UConn had 4th-and-1 on the USF 27 and sent Bobby Puyol out to kick what would have been a season long field goal into the wind. That will be a decision that everyone will be second-guessing. UConn would go for it on 4th-and-2 in a similar situation after getting the ball back, but Shirreffs was sacked. Adams caught another 44-yard touchdown pass to put this game away for good.
This all but kills UConn's chances of a bowl game this season. With five games remaining against very strong competition, it is possible, but will be very tough. Bob Diaco has shown promise in his second year at the helm of a program which was, quite frankly, circling the drain, but this was definitely a disappointing result. Bob opened his post-game press conference by taking full responsibility for he and his staff's role in today's loss.