The UConn football team lost to UCF 56-21 in primetime Saturday night, scoring 21 unanswered points in the last 20 minutes of the game to come back and cover the 42.5-point spread.
UConn now drops to 1-3 on the season, while UCF improves to 4-1.
True freshman quarterback Jack Zergiotis started the game and struggled right off the bat, throwing an interception on his first pass attempt of the game after seriously underthrowing his receiver. His next three drives consisted of a lost fumble and two punts, and that was all head coach Randy Edsall needed to see to pull the plug on Zergiotis.
It was Steven Krajewski who came in, and just like who he was replacing things started off about as bad as they could, throwing a pick-six on his first pass attempt of the game. His next three drives consisted of a lost fumble and two punts, just like Zergiotis. However, unlike Zergiotis, Edsall stuck with him, and he did find somewhat of a groove, going 5-7 for 46 yards and rushing for another 20 over the last two drives of the half. Though no points came from it, he did set UConn up with 40-yard and 52-yard field goal attempts, both just missed.
“I thought Steven Krajewski played very well,” Edsall said. “He was tough, he ran the ball, did some things after he settled down a little bit. I thought he did a good job.”
Krajewski played much better in the second half, throwing UConn’s first touchdown pass of the season early in the third quarter, a 16-yard strike to Cam Ross, capping off an eight-play, 77-yard drive. That would be passing touchdown one of three for the day, as he would later connect with Ardell Brown for a 12-yard score on the next drive and Matt Drayton for a 15-yard score in the final minute of the game.
Krajewski finished the game 22 of 33 passing for 273 yards, three touchdowns, one interception and one fumble. Following the game, Edsall named him the starting quarterback moving forward.
The Huskies also had a productive day from running back Kevin Mensah, who rushed for 123 yards on 23 carries, with his average of 5.3 being his best of the season so far by over a yard.
The defense struggled mightily in the first half, and while yes the offensive struggles didn’t help, they had a particularly hard time defending the big play. On two occasions in the first quarter, they gave up a 70-plus yard touchdown on the first play of the drive, and later in the second quarter, they gave up a 74-yard reception that was only not a score thanks to the hustle of Tyler Coyle chasing down the receiver. The defense did stand strong following that reception, stopping four straight UCF plays from inside the UConn 5-yard-line to force a turnover on downs.
“They had the people that had the ability to take it the distance, and we didn’t,” Edsall said. “I thought that defensively, we gave up too many explosive plays, and in the redzone we gave up too many touchdowns.”
Ultimately, like last week against Indiana, Edsall said they just didn’t have the firepower to take down a team like UCF.
“Our kids played hard, we’re just not in that class of UCF right now, pure and simple,” Edsall said. “But our kids fought for 60 minutes … our program’s not where their program is. We’ve just come off a three-game stretch that has been very, very tough. That’s just the facts. I love our kids, I love the way they competed, I love the way they stayed in the game.”
UConn will be back at home for their next contest, taking on the USF Bulls on Saturday, Oct. 5, at 12 p.m.
Jorge Eckardt is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at Jorge.firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @jorge_eckardt31