UConn trotted out a new starting quarterback but had the same old result, losing badly to Army at West Point on Saturday, 52-21.
The game began similarly to the Huskies' first two games of the season against FBS opponents: lots of points allowed, entirely too quickly. Army reached the end zone on its first six possessions while not giving the Huskies an inch on the other side of the ball.
UConn’s defense struggled mightily with even the simplest option reads as Army busted a bunch of big plays in the second half for touchdowns. This included: Completely losing contain on the QB pitch to set up the first touchdown, getting caught with their pants down on a pass play to set up the second, and parting like the Red Sea for the halfback dive on the fourth.
Typically, the flexbone offense that the Black Knights run slowly grinds opponents down with double-digit play, ten-plus minute drives, but the Huskies were content with letting them skip all that hard work. By halftime, it was 42-0 Army.
The Huskies’ offense didn’t do their defense any favors either. The big news of the day was at the quarterback position, as true freshman Tyler Phommachanh was handed the reigns to the UConn offense for the first time in his college career. He didn’t look half-bad, despite completing 11 of 26 pass attempts. UConn’s receivers didn’t help him out, with two bad drops in the first half; both would have been 15-yard gains or more if caught.
In the second half, UConn’s defense finally slowed Army down and the Huskies outscored the Black Knights 21-10 in the third and fourth quarters.
The Huskies’ offense finally showed a pulse in the second half, and their first score of the season against FBS competition came on the legs of the new QB as Phommachanh ran it in from 38 yards out. On their next possession, kick return man Brian Brewton took it 97 yards to the end zone to make it 49-14, and after an Army field goal, the Huskies were able to punch it in with Phommachanh the architect once again. He threw a beautiful 50-yard pass to Aaron Turner that set up another QB keeper that made the score look somewhat respectable (and, more importantly, activated the backdoor +34.5 cover).
After four games, UConn is 0-4 with a -135 point differential and little hope of salvaging the season, even with UMass and Yale remaining on the schedule. Of note, Holy Cross did beat Yale today, so there is some hope.
UConn is looking to get into the win column next Saturday against Wyoming at Rentschler Field.