There were undoubtedly many takeaways from the University of Connecticut football team’s horrific loss to Fresno St. by a score of 0-45. One point of concern for many fans was quarterback Jack Zergiotis and his alarming performance in the opening game. With just 12 of 24 passes completed for a total of 61 yards, the sophomore quarterback certainly did not play up to expectations. While Zergiotis had many hiccups in his performance on Sunday, I’m here to discourage much of the bad press and actually defend the quarterback for his play on Sunday. There are a few things that UConn fans should keep in mind before bashing the sophomore after his first performance of the season.
1. Inexperience is critical.
One of the many things that Husky fans must keep in mind about Zergiotis before bashing him is his inexperience at quarterback for the Huskies. While Zergiotis did play ten games at quarterback in 2019 as a true freshman, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic played a large part in halting his development and harming his potential envisioned by UConn’s coaching staff and head coach Randy Edsall. Despite the time given for each player to work during the canceled season for the Huskies, Sunday was a crystal clear indication that Zergiotis needs time to develop. As the season continues and the Huskies continue to play, Zergiotis and the Huskies will undoubtedly have many more opportunities to prove themselves and show that they are better than Sunday’s embarrassing performance.
2. It’s been some time.
As I’ve already explained, the pandemic has not been kind to Zergiotis. With the 2020 season being canceled for UConn, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen Zergiotis take any snaps on the field. With this in mind, rustiness is inevitable and on Sunday Zergiotis certainly lived up to this truth. With plenty of underthrows and overthrows to his wealth of offensive weapons, including Cam Ross, Kevin Mensah and Heron Marriseau, it was discouraging to see the lack of production from the quarterback. While his offensive line did not place Zergiotis in the best position to perform, his underwhelming performance clearly showed a need for the quarterback to fix his mistakes to aid his team.
3. He’s fought to be here.
While Zergiotis did play every drive until the fourth quarter, it’s important to note how his spot was certainly not secured before this season. With a starting battle against Steven Krajewski, Zergiotis certainly played well enough to impress coach Edsall and push himself into the starting role for the Huskies. “We’re going with Jack, and we’re going to get him better,” said Edsall on who he plans to go with throughout the season. On Sunday alone, Edsall defended his quarterback when asked for his opinion on Zergiotis’ play against Fresno St.: “It’s hard to evaluate the quarterback when the offensive line doesn’t do what they should do. You can’t put it all on Jack.” It’s clear that despite Zergiotis’ struggles, Edsall knows he is the man to go with, and the quarterback’s resilience to fight for a starting spot has played a large part in him gaining the respect of his coaches and teammates.
4. He’s been here before.
This is certainly not the first time we’ve seen Jack Zergiotis play for the Huskies. As a true freshman in 2019 his stats were undoubtedly encouraging. In ten games that year, Zergiotis passed for 1782 yards, and nine touchdowns. In his best game that year against East Carolina University, Zergiotis threw for 418 yards and three touchdowns. The true freshman quarterback played another marvelous game against Houston that year, where he threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns. It’s safe to say that Zergiotis has a decent history with the Huskies, even if his performance Sunday did not live up to his best moments.
The Huskies play Holy Cross on September 4th, with Zergiotis slated to start another game. With a forgettable game under his belt, more experience on the field and a return to Rentschler Field, all signs point to an improvement for Zergiotis as he embarks on his attempt to capture the first win of the season for the Huskies and prove his doubters wrong.