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Final Score: UConn football falls to Holy Cross at home, 38-28

The Crusaders took control from the opening kick and secured a two-score lead by the fourth quarter.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

After flopping in the Week 0 opener at Fresno State, UConn football flopped even harder in its home opener Saturday, losing to FCS school Holy Cross at Rentschler Field, 38-28.

Holy Cross opened the game with a 77-yard touchdown drive in which quarterback Matthew Sluka effortlessly moved the Crusaders down the field. Offensively, UConn opened the game with seven plays and 18 yards in its first two drives. After trading punts, Jack Zergiotis tied the game up with a 50-yard cannon to freshman receiver Keelan Marion.

On the ensuing possession, Holy Cross fumbled leading to a short field that UConn capitalized on with a Zergiotis sneak for a touchdown, making it 14-7 Huskies. This would be their final lead of the game.

Minutes later, a Zergiotis pass deflected off the body of a pass-rusher into the hands of defensive lineman Jason Modack, who returned it 29 yards for a touchdown, tying the game at 14.

The two teams traded long touchdown drives, with Zergiotis hitting Marion again to make it 21-21 with 2:57 left in the first half. Marion made an incredible effort to secure possession and keep a foot in bounds on a play was initially called incomplete by the refs.

Holy Cross responded with a poised drive that included a 3rd-down conversion and a 4th-down conversion to end the half with a field goal and go into the locker room with a 24-21 lead.

UConn’s mediocrity continued through the 3rd quarter. The Huskies’ drives ended with a fumble, a touchdown, and a punt. Holy Cross got a touchdown as well to hold on to its three-point lead.

In the fourth quarter, turnovers and bad coaching led UConn to squander any offensive momentum it had going. Zergiotis threw two interceptions, the second of which essentially sealed the game for the visitors. UConn also punted from the Holy Cross 41-yard line with 10:35 left in the game down a touchdown.

Even though the punt was downed at the two-yard line, an optimal outcome for the decision to punt, Holy Cross drove 98 yards down the field for a touchdown to secure the victory.

The 98-yard drive was aided by a 76-yard scamper by Sluka, where UConn displayed terrible discipline and tackling, a play that set the Crusaders up for their game-changing touchdown.

Holy Cross out-gained UConn, 361-262, as the Huskies allowed 224 rushing yards. UConn was thoroughly outplayed on both sides of the ball in a way that would be excusable against a Big Ten opponent but absolutely unacceptable against an FCS team. The Huskies coughed the ball up four times while the Crusaders committed just one turnover.

Zergiotis finished 17-for-41 on passing attempts for 174 yards, three touchdowns, and three interceptions. Kevin Mensah lead Husky rushers with 65 yards and Marion was their leading receiver with three catches for 60 yards and the two touchdowns.

This loss is incredibly embarrassing for the program and can hardly be chalked up to a talent deficiency, rust issue, or melting cleats. This is the worst loss in program history since the drubbing Paul Pasqualoni’s Huskies took to FCS Towson in 2013.

If UConn leadership was not already considering changes in the leadership of this football program, this loss is a down point for a program that already hit rock bottom in 2018. If it hasn’t progressed since then, shouldn’t somebody be held accountable?