Football: Huskies shutout for second-straight game in blowout loss to BC

UConn quarterback Donovan Williams attempts a throw in the Huskies' 30-0 road loss to Boston College Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. (Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog)

On Nov. 21, 2015, the UConn football program recorded one of the finest wins in its history, upsetting No. 13 Houston to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2011. The program and head coach Bob Diaco were on the rise and figured to continue trending upward with quality young talent at seemingly every position.

What a difference a year makes.

Almost exactly a year after their monumental win, the Huskies’ program took a major step backward as their season continues to free fall, capped off by Saturday’s 30-0 loss on the road to Boston College (5-6, 1-6 Atlantic Coast Conference). The loss marked the first time since the 1977 season that UConn was shutout in back-to-back games and drops the Huskies to 0-11-2 all-time against the rival Eagles.

On 4th and 3 on the UConn 23-yard line in the opening drive of the second quarter, Boston College quarterback Patrick Towles scrambled for 16 yards for a first down. Two plays later, Davon Jones rumbled into the end zone from one yard out to put the Eagles up 7-0.

Seven points is not an insurmountable lead for a normal football team. But for one like UConn (3-8, 1-6 the American), which hasn’t scored a touchdown in 14 quarters, it was a tall task that couldn’t be answered.

Opponents have outscored the Huskies 109-3 in UConn’s last 14 quarters of football. Similar to their performance against Temple, the Huskies had just a handful of legitimate scoring chances, posting just 121 yards of offense, 60 of which came on back-to-back plays from Donovan Williams, who found Arkeel Newsome for 17 yards before hitting Brian Lemelle with a 43-yard pass.

After a sack, incomplete pass and a screen pass that resulted in a seven-yard loss, the Huskies attempted a fake field goal, with Tyler Davis’ passing attempt well out of tight end Alec Bloom’s reach. BC would answer immediately with a 12-play, 63-yard drive ending in a 35-yard field goal for Mike Knoll.

Knoll would hit two more field goals from 24 and 39 yards out in the third and fourth quarters and hit all three of his extra point attempts.

The 121 yards of total offense are the lowest by the Huskies in their time in the Football Bowl Subdivision. UConn’s -6 rushing yards on the day are also the lowest total in their time in FBS football. In two games under new offensive coordinator David Corley, the Huskies have totaled 281 yards of offense.

The Eagles would tack on another touchdown in the opening drive of the second half, marching down on 13 plays before Towles hit wide receiver Michael Walker with a 10-yard touchdown pass to make it 17-0.

After Knoll’s second field goal of the day, BC would not score again until the first seconds of the fourth quarter, when UConn quarterback Donovan Williams was intercepted by Matt Milano on a pass intended for Tyraiq Beals. Milano returned the interception 19 yards for BC’s third touchdown of the day to go up 27-0 before Knoll’s final field goal made it 30-0.

Williams once again struggled mightily in his second collegiate start. The true freshman was intercepted three times and fumbled once, throwing for just 127 yards on 13-29 passing. Noel Thomas led all UConn receivers with four receptions for 29 yards.

The loss drops the Huskies to 0-5 on the road in 2016 and 2-12 all-time on the road under Diaco. UConn returns home to Rentschler Field to finish their season Saturday, Nov. 26 against Tulane.


Dan Madigan is the sports editor for The Daily Campus, covering football and women's basketball. He can be reached via email at daniel.madigan@uconn.edu. He tweets @dmad1433.