UConn’s trip down to Memphis went about as well as everyone expected. The Tigers, boasting a high-octane offense and one of the best running backs in the country, made easy work out of the Huskies’ porous defense, cruising to an easy 55-14 victory at home.
Memphis wasted no time getting things started, scoring just 1:48 into the game on a 44-yard touchdown pass from Brady White to a wide open tight end Joey Magnifico.
The Huskies (1-5, 0-3 the American) were able to answer with an impressive drive that spanned over seven minutes. Quarterback David Pindell orchestrated the 17-play, 75-yard and capped it off with a four-yard run to tie it up at seven apiece.
All game long, the Huskies had no answers to stopping the Tigers’ rushing attack. Darell Henderson, the NCAA’s leading rusher, stayed hot against UConn, ripping off an 61-yard touchdown run in the second quarter for his second of three touchdowns, all of which came in the first half. His running mate Patrick Taylor Jr. went off as well, tacking on two 35-yard touchdown runs in the second quarter and the only touchdown for either side in the third quarter with a 12-yard rush.
Henderson finished the day with 174 yards and Taylor added 161, with most of the damage from the two coming in the second quarter. Overall, the Tigers offense racked up 634 yards of total offense and averaged 10.5 yards per play, making light work of the worst defense in FBS football.
The Huskies looked certain to head into halftime down 41-7 before a last minute drive by Pindell and the offense. UConn went 83 yards in just over 150 seconds before Pindell lobbed a ball in the end zone that was snatched by Keyion Dixon. Clayton Harris — filling in for usual starter Michael Tarbutt, who missed the game due to a back injury — nailed the extra point to send the Huskies into halftime down 41-14.
While UConn was able to hold Memphis to just the one score from Taylor Jr. the third quarter, the Tigers struck again in the fourth quarter after an interception thrown by Pindell. Backup quarterback Connor Adair hit Antonio Gibson for a 17-yard touchdown to make it 55-14.
That pick would be Pindell’s last snap of the night, as he was replaced by Marvin Washington on the next drive with the game well out of hand. He finished the day with 190 yards passing, one passing touchdown and two interceptions while adding 35 yards and another score on the ground.
Washington didn’t do much against the Tigers’ defense either, throwing an interception on a tipped pass.
All in all, this game went just about how everyone expected it to go. The defense was torched like usual and Memphis put up points in a hurry. Pindell and the offense sputtered once again, but their 75 and 83-yard drives in the first half certainly are a major positive.
Pindell’s first interception was mainly the result of a great play by Jacobi Francis, but his second pick was by far his worst of the year, thrown directly to Memphis with no UConn player in a 10-yard radius. But until this defense shows any semblance of being competent, the offense won’t ever score enough to give the Huskies a chance of winning another game this season. While the Huskies have played one of the hardest schedules in the country, the defense’s constant struggles continue to be something too large for this team to overcome.
UConn heads into a bye next week before resuming play on the road against USF on Oct. 20.