To put it plain and simple: the UConn football team has to execute better if they want to win games. And second year head coach Bob Diaco knows it.
With BYU leading 13-10 early in the fourth quarter, the Huskies had a chance to pull off an upset in Provo, Utah. However, that’s when they struggled with executing.
Quarterback Bryant Shirreffs threw two interceptions and senior captain Andrew Adams was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for kicking the ball into the stands. All three plays resulted in 17 points for BYU en route to a 30-13 win over the Huskies in front of 56,393 at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
UConn (2-3) lost its third straight game while BYU (3-2) got back on the winning track after getting trounced by Michigan 31-0 last week.
UConn’s defense kept the Huskies in the game early, just like it has all season long. The offense struggled mightily in the first quarter, gaining just 29 yards of total offense.
BYU had 134 yards and got on the board first when Francis Bernard scored on a 1-yard run.
The Cougars had 256 yards of offense in the first half, but were only able to score a touchdown. The Huskies tied the game in the second quarter when Shirreffs found Arkeel Newsome for a 30-yard touchdown pass.
The game was tied 7-7 at halftime. UConn had 114 yards of total offense in the half.
As bad as the UConn offense started the game, they still had a chance to win it due to the performance of the UConn defense.
With a little over 12 minutes remaining in the game, Shirreffs tried to force a throw as he was getting tackled. The pass ended up being intercepted by Bronson Kaufusi. On the next play, BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum found Mitch Matthews for a 21-yard touchdown. The Cougars led 20-10 with 12:03 remaining.
Bobby Puyol made a 42-yard field goal on UConn’s next possession to make it 20-13 with 8:59 left.
On the ensuing kick off, Diaco elected for an onsides kick. It was a perfectly executed kick, but all the players on UConn overran the ball and it rolled out of bounds.
The risk didn’t work.
But the UConn defense did its job. The Huskies forced the Cougars to a fourth-and-eight but Adams kicked the ball into the stands, leading to a 15-yard penalty and automatic first down. A few plays later, Mangum found Matthews again for a 6-yard touchdown to put BYU ahead 27-13.
UConn was forced to go to the hurry-up offense down by two scores and 7:26 left. However, the Huskies were unable to muster any more points as Shirreffs threw his second interception.
BYU added another field goal with 26 seconds left to seal the victory.
The Cougars held UConn to 3 of 14 on third-down conversions for the game.
BYU gained 539 yards of offense Friday night, the most UConn has allowed this season. The Huskies finished with 230 yards of total offense.
Jhavon Williams finished with a team-high nine tackles. Adams followed up his 17-tackle performance against Navy last week with seven against the Cougars. Foley Fatukasi also shined Friday night, disrupting the quarterback multiple times and finishing the game with six tackles.