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UConn Football Blown Out at Syracuse, 51-21

The Huskies’ defense is gashed once again, and quarterback David Pindell left the game injured.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

After barely holding to beat FCS Rhode Island for their first win of the season last weekend, the UConn Huskies fell in their road match-up against Syracuse, coming flat as the Orange cruised to a 51-21 victory.

Syracuse (4-0) wasted no time, jumping out to an early 21-0 lead. UConn started with the ball, but fumbled in Orange territory after going 42 yards in six plays. Quarterback Eric Dungey punched in two of his three rushing touchdowns from inside the 10-yard line early on, then hit Gabe Horan for another score to make it 21-0 with 3:53 left in the first quarter.

Ten seconds later, UConn (1-3, 0-1 American) finally answered with its first score of the game, as quarterback David Pindell scampered 75 yards for a touchdown on a designed run.

Cuse would close out the quarter with a short field goal to go up 24-7.

UConn had a chance to make things interesting heading into halftime, but the Huskies defensive struggles continued to haunt them. After Pindell capped off a nine-play, 84-yard drive with a touchdown pass to Zavier Scott to make it 24-14, the Orange answered by driving 70 yards in 150 seconds, with Dungey rushing for another touchdown to go up 17 at the break.

The game could have gotten even further from the Huskies if it wasn’t for a hustle play from hybrid linebacker Ian Swenson. On the fourth play of Syracuse’s drive, running back Jarveon Howard broke off a 52-yard that was destined to be a touchdown before Swenson chased him down and forced a fumble at the 2-yard line.

Even with that play and two more forced punts by UConn to finish out the half, the Huskies couldn’t capitalize and went down 31-14 at the break after allowing 430 yards of offense.

After torching UConn through the air at Rentschler Field in 2016, Dungey did most of his damage against the Huskies on the ground this time, with three touchdowns and 77 yards on 16 carries. He also tacked on 286 yards and two passing touchdowns before coming out of the game early in the fourth quarter.

Both offenses sputtered to open up the third quarter, but the Orange got the second-half scoring started with a punt return touchdown from Sean Riley. He was a problem for the Huskies all day, both on returns and out wide at receiver, racking up 159 return yards and hauling in six passes for 120 yards and a touchdown.

Late in the third, Pindell ran for 14 yards for a first down but came up gingerly on his right leg. With the Orange up 41-14, redshirt freshman Marvin Washington came in to replace him.

Pindell finished the day with 151 passing yards and touchdown while sometimes running for his life behind a pretty consistent pass rush. Aside from the 75-yard run in the first quarter, Pindell wasn’t able to pick up much yardage with his legs and was constantly scrambling on broken plays with nowhere to go.

Washington made an immediate impact, but struggled shortly after. The redshirt freshman hit tight end Tyler Davis 26 yards downfield with a nice ball in the end zone on his first-ever passing attempt to make it 48-21. But then he fumbled and threw an interception on his next two drives, letting Cuse tack on some more insurance.

All in all, the defense once again struggled, but was slightly less terrible, surrendering just 636 yards of total offense, the lowest amount by an FBS opponent this season. The Orange still gashed UConn for 8.15 yards per play, slightly lower than the 9.2 yards per play the Huskies were giving up before kickoff.

Even with this “improvement” — if you even want to call it that — this defense needs to improve tremendously to even give UConn a shot at winning again this season. They return home next weekend to take on Cincinnati at 3:30 p.m.


Randy Edsall, David Pindell, Ian Swenson, Marvin Washington, Eddie Hahn postgame video