UCF, fresh off a loss last week to Pittsburgh, came out swinging from the start in their matchup against UConn and never looked back. The Huskies were never able to respond and were simply overmatched, falling to the Knights 56-21. And yes, the final score looks close thanks to three garbage-time touchdowns, but this game was out of hand within the first 15 minutes.
While it’s no surprise UCF (4-1, 1-0 the American) rolled past the Huskies (1-3, 0-1 the American), a disastrous first quarter made things ugly fast. True freshman quarterback Jack Zergiotis never made it out of the first quarter after two turnovers on the Huskies’ first two drives. Zergiotis threw an interception on the first drive of the game, which led to UCF’s first touchdown of the night. On the next drive, Zergiotis fumbled. Throughout his time under center, the offense couldn’t muster anything, totaling 16 yards of offense.
With the offense sputtering and the Huskies already down 14-0, head coach Randy Edsall put in redshirt freshman Steven Krajewski to replace Zergiotis with four minutes left in the opening quarter. Krajewski’s first pass attempt was intercepted and returned for touchdown, giving the Knights a 21-0 lead. UCF would tack on a 75-yard touchdown from Adrian Killins with a minute left to go up 28-0 with three quarters to play.
Krajewski’s pick-six on his first drive was essentially the nail in the coffin for the Huskies. With the game out of hand, he remained under center for the rest of the game, racking up 273 passing yards and throwing for three touchdowns, all of which came after the Huskies trailed 56-0. After an impressive showing - albeit in garbage time - against UCF, Edsall announced postgame that Krajewski will be the starter going forward.
UCF would tack on two more touchdowns in the second half, and lead by as much as 56 before UConn got on the board in the third quarter. Krajewski hit Cam Ross for a touchdown to make it 56-7 and stop a streak of 94 unanswered points from the Huskies’ opponents dating back to last week’s loss at Indiana. It was also UConn’s first passing touchdown of the season.
Prior to Ross’ touchdown, the Huskies offense couldn’t get anything going despite some success on the ground. Despite nearly 100 rushing yards in the first half, UConn’s only two legitimate scoring opportunities ended with two missed field goals in the second quarter.
The Huskies would tack on two more passing touchdowns late on wide open catches from Ardell Brown and Matt Drayton to finish out the game in the game’s final minutes. Krajewski and the UConn offense outgained UCF’s reserves with 266 yards of total offense in the second half. Overall, running back Kevin Mensah put together a strong performance with 123 yards on 23 carries, and Ross (six catches, 91 yards, one touchdown) and Brown (four catches, 65 yards, one touchdown), looked revitalized with Krajewski taking snaps.
Saturday’s matchup against UCF was almost certainly the most difficult game on UConn’s schedule. After two weeks on the road, the Huskies return home to take on an underachieving USF team at Rentschler Field. Outside of USF though, the UConn’s schedule doesn’t necessarily get easier; Tulane and Houston still loom large before a winnable game at UMass appears on Oct. 26.