Roundtable: What happened in that heartbreaking football loss to Navy?

Navy quarterback Will Worth, center, falls into the end zone for a touchdown in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Connecticut in Annapolis, Md., Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. Navy won 28-24. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

The UConn football team, led by head coach Bob Diaco, delivered a loss last Saturday that is destined for the Hall of Fame of bad losses. With 17 seconds left, and the ball on the Navy one-yard line, the Huskies called their final timeout and proceeded to run the ball. The play was stuffed by the Navy defense, time ran out and everyone watching was left shaking their heads. The DC Sports staff attempted to put this loss into words.

Josh Buser: Bob Diaco has been getting way too much blame for the loss in general, but the criticism for using his last timeout is something that I really can’t comprehend. On the one-yard line, you cannot afford a five yard delay of game penalty. While you can put a little bit of blame on Diaco for letting the play clock tick down, he absolutely made the right decision to call the timeout with a couple seconds left on the play clock, and I don’t know how you could possibly say otherwise. The play call out of the timeout was questionable at best, but Pete Carroll would probably approve, so at least Diaco has that going for him.

Stephanie Sheehan: The situation was quite interesting. The game should have never even been that close in the first place, and everybody knows it. My issue lies with the run-versus-pass for the final play. I understand not being able to take the delay of game penalty on the one, but on second down you HAVE to gamble with the pass. If it’s incomplete, the clock stops and then you can try the run. If it’s complete, the game is over and UConn completes one of the greatest comebacks in recent memory. Yeah, there’s the worry of an interception, but by using that logic then nobody should ever pass because the ball might be intercepted! Diaco said in his presser that the offensive unit wanted to do a run play, and they were so enthusiastic about it that the coaching staff stuck by their decision. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that Diaco and his staff will be too influenced by their players to make decisions of their own… especially if they result in something as heartbreaking as that loss.

Connor Donahue: We were so close. Imagine? The Huskies score 24 unanswered points and steal a game in Annapolis? And UConn football is BACK (not that we’ve ever really arrived, but shout out to the 2011 Fiesta Bowl.) Instead, UConn drove all the way to the one-yard line and laid an egg. Bob Diaco, you cannot call a timeout at the one-yard line after a first down. You just can’t. The clock is stopped! The coaching staff should’ve known what they were running here at least three plays earlier. There’s no excuse to burn your last timeout, call a run play and not expect Navy to just lie on top of the ball. When did we hire Andy Reid? I missed that one. Bob Diaco is better than this. We all know it. From the ConFLiCT trophy to comparing football to fish cake, he’s a football guy, through and through. Bob Diaco is the man to lead UConn football to the promised land, and it’s time for him to start coaching like it. Have I mentioned how handsome he is?


Josh Buser is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at joshua.buser@uconn.edu.

Connor Donahue is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus, covering field hockey. He can be reached via email at connor.f.donahue@uconn.edu. He tweets @conn_donahue.

Stephanie Sheehan is associate managing editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at stephanie.sheehan@uconn.edu. She tweets @steph_sheeha