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UConn Defense Surging As Huskies Revive Season

Three dominant performances from the Husky defense has led to a nice winning streak and a surprising bowl bid.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Admit it, you never saw any of this coming.

Not after that Cincinnati game. Not after the way UConn's defense was torched by the Bearcats after South Florida did the same the week before. Definitely not with an offense that had struggled to score more than 20 points in a game.

The 7-3 win over Tulane probably didn't do much for you either.

But in the three games, against East Carolina, Tulane, and Houston, UConn's defense has allowed six, three and ten points, respectively, forcing nine turnovers over that stretch and pushing the Huskies to three much-needed wins.

East Carolina turned the ball over four times against UConn. The Huskies forced two fumbles, made five tackles for a loss, and hit the quarterback two times in addition to three sacks. The Pirates finished six drives with fewer than twenty yards gained and two with three-and-outs. It was an utterly dominant effort which keyed the Huskies to 31 points in the game, as the offense took over with a short field often and enjoyed many opportunities to put points on the board.

ECU scored 13 points in the game, with a touchdown coming on a pick-six off Bryant Shirreffs.

The Husky defense owned Tulane. While it might be easy to give the heavy rain credit for either team's poor offensive performance, the weather was just as much of a detriment to the defenses' ability to make cuts and play full speed. The Green Wave offense only managed 140 yards against UConn, with the Huskies making nine tackles for a loss and two sacks.

But the real masterpiece came against Houston, an undefeated team averaging 43.5 points going into the Rent last weekend.

The Huskies only allowed ten offensive points, with the Cougars adding a kick return touchdown to boost their total. Bob Diaco's hard-hitting defense forced Kyle Postma to lose his spirit as it sacked him three times and hit him five additional times.

The Huskies also made five tackles for a loss, broke up five passes, and forced four turnovers- two fumbles and two interceptions. Nine out of the first TEN Houston drives finished with 11 yards gained or fewer. Read that again. It was the most complete performance by the Husky defense to date and it came against the most potent offense on the schedule.

This defense, combined with a semi-competent offense, gives UConn a chance to win any of its remaining two games--this weekend at Temple and whatever bowl game may follow--which is really quite remarkable. A season which was circling the drain has blossomed at exactly the right time and somehow an eight-win (!) season is now in the picture for 2015.

For this, we should all be thankful.