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Recap: UConn football dropped by Wyoming, 24-22

The Huskies took a lead into the fourth quarter but failed to hold on for the win.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Against all odds, UConn football played a competitive game and held a late lead against a decent FBS opponent, but the end result was a familiar one. The Huskies had a chance to tie the game in the waning seconds but it ended with a 24-22 loss at Rentschler Field.

The first quarter was all UConn. The Huskies jumped out to a 10-0 lead after a reverse flea-flicker led to a 42-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Phommachanh to tight end Jay Rose. Wyoming punted, missed a field goal, and then quarterback Sean Chambers threw an interception to Myles Bell to go scoreless in the opening 15 minutes. The Huskies led 13-3 at halftime after a relatively uneventful second quarter.

Wyoming opened the third quarter with a long touchdown drive that made it 13-10. While the Husky offense slowed down in the second and third quarters, a Jeremy Lucien interception and some smarter play from the defense kept the Cowboys from cutting any further into the lead. Joe McFadden’s third field goal of the day gave the Huskies a 16-10 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Wyoming scored a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to make it 17-16 and on the first play of UConn’s ensuing possession, Phommachanh threw an interception. The Cowboys responded with another touchdown drive to make it 24-16.

UConn showed tremendous heart to drive down the field, aided by a few pass interference calls, and score a touchdown that gave them a chance to tie. On second and goal, a naked pitch to Nate Carter got into the end zone but the two-point conversion was knocked down as Phommachanh tried to hit Miles Turner again.

Despite the disappointing final result, UConn showed signs of life against a Wyoming team that is no pushover. The Cowboys came into the game with a 3-0 record including a win at Northern Illinois and a blowout over Ball State.

The offense led by Phommachanh and perhaps with a boost from new analyst Noel Mazzone put up 281 yards and averaged 3.9 yards per rush. Those are big improvements from previous efforts, but the attack still isn’t very efficient, as UConn averaged 4.1 yards per play.

The UConn defense allowed 352 yards and 5.0 yards per play. Wyoming running back Xazavian Valladay ran for 101 yards on 22 attempts with a touchdown to lead a rushing attack that amassed 203 rushing yards. Chambers couldn’t do much, he finished with 149 passing yards on 15-of-26 attempts and added one touchdown with those two interceptions.

The Huskies are 0-5 with a road game at Vanderbilt (1-3) coming up next week. The contest will be televised on ESPNU at 7:30 p.m. from Nashville, Tennessee.