On a wild weekend of college football, the UConn Huskies were certainly not expected to play a competitive matchup. Despite a 31-point spread favoring Wyoming, UConn played its most competitive game of the season and fought till the very end against an undefeated Wyoming Cowboys team.
In just his second game as quarterback for the Huskies, Tyler Phommachanh cemented himself as the quarterback of the future. “TP12” threw for 171 yards and had the highlight of the game: a magnificent trick play to tight end Jay Rose that had Cowboy defenders baffled. Rose would later cap off the brilliant catch with an elegant dive into the end zone, where he was embraced by his teammates. That touchdown put the Huskies up 10-0 in the first quarter, a rare sight that stunned college football fans.
“I think we put on a show for everybody who was watching,”said Nate Carter, the starting running back in Saturday’s matchup for the Huskies.
Carter, who took the starting role over senior Kevin Mensah this week, had an encouraging game and helped give UConn the edge late into the game. The freshman running back had 65 yards on ten carries, including a touchdown with just four seconds left that put the Huskies in position to tie the game and send them into overtime.
Despite UConn’s perfect position to send Saturday’s matchup into overtime, the Huskies came up just short on the ensuing two-point conversion, as Phommachanh’s pass was batted by Wyoming safety Rome Weber. That play would seal the 24-22 win for Wyoming and give UConn their fifth season loss.
“We knew that they were gonna come out and give us our best shot, and they did,”said Wyoming quarterback, Sean Chambers.
Along with Phommachanh’s great play for the Huskies, the team certainly played well all around the field, which was very encouraging even though the team lost. Despite the loss of star defensive back Travis Jones for this game, this was absolutely the best performance we have seen from UConn’s defense all season. Both Jeremy Lucien and Myles Bell each grabbed an interception and helped keep the Huskies in the game until the end. Bell played outstandingly well, but the freshmen left the game in the fourth quarter with an injury. The Huskies will have to play without Bell next week as the cornerback was ruled out for next week’s matchup against Vanderbilt. The team adds another injury to its wealth of problems throughout the roster.
On the receiving end for the Huskies, it was undoubtedly a game of highs and lows. The main target for the Huskies was freshmen Aaron Turner. The freshmen receiver had several great catches and finished the game with six receptions for 49 total yards. Other than Turner, UConn truly worked the ball around the field and kept Wyoming’s defense on its feet throughout the game.
The story of the game for Wyoming was the wealth of penalties called that nearly pushed them to defeat. With ten penalties that cost the Cowboys a total of 99 yards on Saturday, the Huskies were able to take advantage and move Wyoming down the field for easy points throughout the game.
“I think UConn came out really sharp,” said Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl, “They’ve been getting better.”
While the Huskies could not convert many of their touchdowns throughout the game, freshman Joe McFadden was perfect for the Huskies as he converted all three of his field goals. McFadden was undoubtedly a vital part of the day for the Huskies.
Despite the loss for the Huskies on Saturday, fans were not disappointed, and the team is encouraged by their impressive performance.
“This should definitely give everybody a ton of confidence,” said Lucien on the team’s performance Saturday. Lucien went on to praise his freshman quarterback for his play, saying, “He’s a massive bright spot right now. He definitely energizes the offense.”
With UConn’s excellent play on Saturday, there is no doubt that they have become a different and better team throughout the year. Every fan and analyst was stunned by the Huskies’ impressive play, including one better who lost $100,000 on the game.
Fans will indeed be watching next week’s matchup against Vanderbilt, especially following the Commodores’ 62-0 loss to No. 2 Georgia. UConn showed everyone Saturday that they’re ready to play competitive football, regardless of the low expectations from media and fans.