It has been a disappointing season for UConn football, as a team that won six games and claimed a bowl bid last season sits at 3-6 after a blowout loss to East Carolina last weekend. Not only that, but there have been a host of extremely bad losses suffered by the team, ranging from complete routs to last-second failures. As the Huskies look to turn things around with a win this Friday over Temple, we asked this roundtable question: which UConn loss this season was the worst?
Stephanie Sheehan, Associate Managing Editor:
There is almost no doubt in my mind that the ECU loss last week was the worst. ECU was the second worst team in the conference before they beat UConn, and had only scored more than 33 points twice: once in their season opener against Western Carolina (yeah, that’s a real school), and then another time against UConn. Diaco always praises the defense as one of the best in the country, but the performance was nothing short of disgraceful after they blew it against UCF the previous week. Not only did the offense not score in the first quarter (again), but they also didn’t score a touchdown for the entirety of the game, which is absolutely ridiculous and unacceptable. Especially coming off of the ugly loss to UCF and the whole Conflict business, I would think that the team MIGHT have some kind of vengeance – but no. All Diaco did in his press conference was praise the defense for having more “energy” and “putting in more effort” than the previous game. I’m not sure what game he was watching, but both the offense and the defense were so listless the entire game that the 41-3 loss to ECU is undoubtedly the worst loss of the season.
Tyler Keating, Associate Sports Editor:
The ECU loss was awful, so awful, in almost every single way, but I’m going to say the demoralizing 31-24 loss to archrival Syracuse on Sep. 24 at Rentschler Field. The Huskies were hosting the Orange, a talented opponent but also a flawed one, and had a very good chance to win. They had offensive juice with receiver Noel Thomas lighting it up. Syracuse had almost no run game to speak of and their kicker missed a 33-yard field goal.
Late in the game, UConn brought the ball to the Syracuse goal line down a touchdown, before being stuffed on four consecutive run plays. It was a microcosm of the lack of creativity in the team’s play calling this season, and their inability to deliver in crunch time. The Huskies are just 2-3 in games decided by one possession or less this season, and they almost blew both of those wins to Maine and Virginia, respectively. For UConn, this one stung.
Andrew Morrison, Campus Correspondent:
The Navy game was easily the worst loss of the season. After Navy jumped out to a 21-0 lead, the Huskies scored 24 unanswered to take the lead with nine minutes to play. Navy went up by four with three minutes left, and UConn answered with one of their best offensive drives all season. Shirreffs went 6-6 for 59 passing yards, and added 20 yards on the ground as well. The Huskies had a second and goal on the 1-yard line with under a minute left. And just when you thought you were witnessing one of the best UConn comebacks in years, everything fell apart. First, Diaco called his final timeout with 17 seconds left, even though the clock was stopped. So surely, without a timeout, with such little time remaining and with Shirreffs on a roll, the offense would pass on second down. What does (former) offensive coordinator Frank Verducci do? I think you know the rest. Verducci calls a run, Shirreffs hands it off, Ron Johnson gets stuffed, players don’t line up in time, and fans watch helplessly as the clock ticks down to zero. I haven’t seen worse clock management since the 2015 Giants. With a win, UConn would have been 2-0. Instead, it was an incredibly demoralizing loss.
Andrew Morrison is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.