On a clear evening in Raleigh, North Carolina, the rout was on from the very first play as UConn football lost at North Carolina State, 41-10.
The first play from scrimmage was a 75-yard touchdown pass from NC State’s Devin Leary to Thomas Thayer, who shrugged off a pair of UConn defensive backs before beating a few more tacklers into the end zone.
The first half was a mirror image of the Michigan or Syracuse loss. NC State scored on every possession except for its final one and had eight plays of 15 yards or more. A Brandon Bouyer-Randle interception was the only stop; it set up a 28-yard field goal by Noel Ruelas for the Huskies’ only points of the first half, which ended with the Wolfpack up 31-3.
The NC State offense slowed down in the second half and was content to slowly close this one out. They finished with 492 yards of total offense, 169 on the ground. Leary ended the game completing 32-of-44 pass attempts for 320 yards and four touchdowns, and Thayer had 115 yards receiving.
UConn’s offense took steps backward from its performance against Michigan, managing just 39 yards through the air and a dismal 3.4 yards per play. Without Nathan Carter active, the Huskies’ running back corps had just 29 yards on the ground in the first half before garbage time set in.
The play-calling was more of the same from offensive coordinator Nick Charlton, a steady diet of screens and one-read route combinations with a few running plays thrown in, none of which were effective. It appears UConn is trying to survive by keeping the clock running and the game as short as possible — being safe to minimize mistakes and/or injuries.
UConn’s offense didn’t rev into gear until late in the fourth quarter, taking advantage of an NC State missed field goal and engineering a 70-yard drive capped by a touchdown run from freshman Victor Rosa, the first of the Bristol, CT native’s career.
UConn’s brutal middle of the schedule has one more game remaining, on Saturday, October 1 against Fresno State. To the Huskies’ benefit, they’re at least home for this one before traveling to Florida International the next week. The Fresno State game will be televised at 3:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.