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UConn football drops a heartbreaker to Utah State, 34-33

The Huskies were up big early and had a chance to tie the game late but their final extra point attempt was blocked.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn football showed a lot of fight and spirit Saturday afternoon at Rentschler Field but came up just short, losing 34-33 to the Aggies due to a missed extra point. The Huskies fall to 0-5 on the season.

After Jackson Mitchell picked off McCae Hillstead, the Huskies got on the board first and scored the game’s first 17 points to take a commanding early lead. Defensive lineman Jelani Stafford ran in the first one to cap off an 80-yard drive where all but six yards were gained on the ground. Victor Rosa and Camryn Edwards ran hard, finishing with 165 rushing yards on the day between them.

The Huskies’ defense picked Hillstead off again on the ensuing Utah State drive, as Chris Shearin grabbed a pass up the middle. With the short field, Ta’Quan Roberson ran for 15 yards into the red zone and then hit Cam Ross for a 9-yard completion to get near the end zone. On 4th & 2, Roberson faked a hand-off, rolled left, and found a wide-open Nick Harris for the touchdown to make it 14-0.

A field goal drive made it 17-0 with less than a minute left in the second half. The Huskies were ready to go into the locker room with this impressive lead but allowed a 63-yard touchdown reception to make it 17-7 at the break.

Utah State put backup QB Cooper Legas in following an injury to Hillstead and he threw a touchdown pass on the Aggies’ first drive of the second half, making it 17-14. They would tie it up a few minutes later on a field goal drive after a UConn three-and-out, and then take the lead after a 71-yard touchdown on a routine quick pass to the wide side where receiver Jalen Royals broke one tackle and was off to the races.

The Huskies responded with a much-needed touchdown drive of their own, with Ta’Quan Roberson finding Geordon Porter from 28 yards out on a play-action pass to tie the game at 24. Utah State responded right back with another long touchdown pass, this one through the air, where Shearin got beat deep by Royals for a 52-yard toss.

The two teams traded field goals to make it 34-27.

UConn took over after the Utah State field goal with 5:16 left. Miscues of all kinds led to a quick punt. The shotgun snap hit Justin Joly while he was in motion across the line, which the Huskies were lucky to recover for a short loss. On second down Roberson rolled right on a passing play, had space in front of him but forced a throw, and on third down he was sacked for a big loss back at the UConn one-yard-line.

Utah State got the ball back with 3:40 left. The Husky defense held up for the stop to give the offense one more chance with 2:41 left.

Roberson hit Cam Ross for a 35-yarder on the drive’s first play. He then found Buckman for 12, Ross for 13, and Buckman again for 25 yards to get the Huskies knocking on the door of the end zone. Jelani Stafford pushed through for his second TD of the day to seemingly tie the game.

But Joe McFadden’s extra point was blocked. Final Score: 34-33.

Next week, UConn visits Rice for the first-ever meeting between the two schools. The game is on Saturday, October 7th at 5 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN+.