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UConn Football Suffers Late Collapse in Loss to UMass, 22-17

Things looked alright but then the Huskies gave up 13 points in the fourth quarter.

UConn football led for 56 over minutes on a cold, rainy afternoon at Pratt & Whitney Stadium against UMass. But the Huskies let the Minutemen come back in the fourth quarter, allowing the visitors to leave with a 22-17 victory.

The Huskies raced down the field on their first possession, using seven running plays to go 82 yards for a touchdown and a quick 7-0 lead. UMass answered with a field goal after being stuffed on three straight plays at the goal line.

At that point, the two teams decided that was enough offense for the first half.

UConn scratched together just 73 additional yards and completed just one pass by the break. They were set up with good field position a handful of times thanks to UMass turnovers, but failed to do anything with it. They struggled on third down as well, converting just one of six chances.

The most disappointing part of the offense’s performance was the fact that the Husky defense actually played well, for most of the game. While the weather certainly helped, the defensive line (specifically Travis Jones) generated a good push and disrupted the Minutemen rushing attack. They stuffed UMass on a couple short-yardage situations, including a 4th-and-1 near midfield.

The start of the second half resembled the start of the first as the two teams traded touchdowns before both offenses stalled out yet again. Unlike the first half, though, UConn took advantage of a UMass interception by defensive tackle Kevin Murphy and got a field goal to make it 17-9.

However, the Huskies’ defense reverted to their early-season form and gave up a 67-yard touchdown on the first play of the next possession. They stopped the Minutemen on the two-point conversion to preserve their lead, 17-15.

UConn couldn’t do anything its ensuing possession, and UMass capitalized with a touchdown to take a five-point lead with 3:39 left.

Despite throwing just five times all game, the Huskies took to the air to try and win the game. On the first play of the next drive, Pindell threw an intercept after under-throwing Zavier Scott up the sideline. UMass picked up a first down on the ensuing possession and ran out the clock to steal a 22-17 win.

The offensive playcalling was ultra-conservative, even with the rain, including multiple QB runs on third and long. Rebuilding and youth and all that are fine reasons to be losing games, and certain things are excusable when you’re losing big to UCF, but the coaching staff needs to do a better job of controlling what it can control, and putting its players in a chance to win. We may not be pushing for bowl eligibility, but this program and its fanbase need reasons for hope. Today we got none.

At the end of the day, with the program under fire the way it is, losing to UMass is an extremely bad look— one that will continue to inspire questioning of the legitimacy of having an FBS program. Unfortunately, that’s where we’re at these days.