After seven games and one half of pure misery, UConn football earned its first victory in nearly two years on Saturday, defeating Yale 21-15 in a game that came down to the final play.
UConn fans watched from between their hands as Yale’s quarterback chucked up a hailmary on an untimed down into the endzone, but the Huskies grabbed an interception to seal a win.
The fact is, it should have never even come to that point. The Huskies manhandled the Yalies defensively all day. Kevon Jones and Eric Watts lived in the backfield, and both Yale quarterbacks were constantly running for their lives, due to tremendous play from UConn’s defensive line and DBs.
UConn defensive backs had three interceptions on the day, and it could have been more. Redshirt freshman Malik Dixon had an athletic sideline grab on Yale’s first drive of the day, then Tre Wortham popped up with a pair of picks that included a leaping play where he ripped the ball straight out of the receiver’s hands.
HE SNATCHED IT OUT OF HIS HANDS IN MID-AIR pic.twitter.com/lTo4pRDujS— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) October 16, 2021
Despite all of the help from the defense, UConn’s offense was rendered mostly inert in the first half, punting on five out of its first six drives and missing a field goal on the other.
The offense finally sprang to life partway through the second half, as a blown coverage left Keelan Marion all alone in the middle of the field. Krajewski found him wide open for a 63-yard score. After two consecutive three-and-outs, UConn football bookended halftime with a solid drive culminating in a bullet from Krajewski to Kevins Clercius for a touchdown followed by maybe their best drive of the day, a six-play, 63-yard drive that ended in a Krajewski mad dash to the endzone.
But even up 21-0 midway through the fourth quarter, a combination of plain dumb penalties and strange offensive decisions let Yale back into the game. On the kickoff following their third touchdown, a kick out of bounds combined with a personal foul set Yale up on the midfield mark, letting them get on the board with easy three points.
UConn then had Yale backed up on its own 30 on a third and 15 later in the quarter, but a facemask penalty gifted them a first down, which would lead to a Yale score to make it 21-9. With five minutes left in the fourth quarter, Yale scored again, this time on a desperate toss to wide receiver Chase Nenand, who took it 60 yards for a touchdown.
The UConn offense couldn’t get another score to put the game away. But the defense’s constant harrying of the Yale quarterback paid off in the end, and left them with only a hail mary attempt at the win.
UConn will look to build a winning streak in its next game, against Middle Tennessee State on Friday at Rentschler Field. The game will take place at 6 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.