The UConn Huskies visited No. 6 Houston at TDECU Stadium and fell flat on their faces, losing 42-14.
At face value, losing to the 6th-ranked team on the road in a short week, when you’re a team still in the process of rebuilding which as no previous history of extraordinary success, is not all that bad. Still, failing to cover the generous spread and failing to keep it close for very long don’t offer a lot of reasons for optimism coming out of this game.
The Husky defense held up alright in the first quarter, which ended in a scoreless tie. That would be the high point of the game for UConn.
Houston put up 28 points in the second quarter and that was that. Greg Ward Jr. looked every bit the Heisman candidate he is billed as but the bigger concern for UConn was the failure of the offense.
The Husky attack needed some garbage time to get over 300 yards overall, converted just three out of fifteen third downs on the game, and managed just 2.3 yards per carry. The one area of this team which continues to fail is the offense, and the coaching style is not doing the Huskies any favors either.
The lone bright spot was Noel Thomas, who finished with 135 receiving yards on six receptions and the first UConn touchdown. Thomas also added 22 rushing yards and should have had more through the air were it not for a couple of overthrows from Bryant Shirreffs when he was wide open downfield.
While I have been plenty critical of UConn’s offensive playcalling, this game is a pretty simple one to dissect. Houston was and is the better football team. The Cougars dominated both sides of the ball, giving UConn very little in the running game, shutting down the Husky offense, and eventually torching the defense. Some of Diaco’s conservatism may have helped, such as a punt on the Houston 38 in the first quarter, but at the end of the day this outcome is exactly what is to be expected for these two teams at their respective current stages.
It would have been great to see UConn put up a fight tonight. It would have been wonderful to see the offense realize some of the potential which we know it has. Sadly, this was not the case.
The Huskies started a tough three-game stretch tonight, with Cincinnati visiting the Rent next week and a road trip to USF the week after. Nobody is expecting UConn to win any of these games, but they better damn well play better the next time out.