After finally claiming their first win of the season, and since 2019, the team was back at Rentschler last Friday for an evening game that went about as well as the rest of the season has.
That is to say, they lost. By 31 points. To Middle Tennessee, who had themselves just a 2-4 record going into the game and who left it probably very happy with their performance. Their quarterback, Chase Cunningham, threw for 297 yards, four touchdowns and no picks. He added almost 50 with his legs, making this an incredibly impressive quarterback performance from the Blue Raiders.
On the other side of the football, UConn’s quarterback Steven Krajewski threw for 237 yards, his second most of the season. But, any excitement over that was tapered by two interceptions and just one touchdown.
Despite the lack of a dramatic difference in yardage by the quarterbacks, it was very obvious which team was superior throughout most of the game. The Huskies started off from behind, despite receiving the ball first. They never had the lead, and although they managed 13 points in the second quarter, the only quarter when they’d score, the Blue Raiders in that quarter alone had 21.
The defense for the Huskies seemed broadly unable to stop the assault of the Blue Raiders, who scored early and often with 24 points in the first half, mostly in the second quarter. Wide receiver Yusuf Ali had a big day with eighty yards catching, while Jimmy Marshall went for two touchdowns with 61 yards of his own.
Another place in which the Blue Raiders gained yardage was in rushing. Their rushers, including Cunningham, combined for 186 yards while UConn managed just 94, mostly from running backs Nate Carter and Kevin Mensah. While senior Mensah was still second on depth charts going into the game, he was introduced as a starter although he had just one more attempt than Carter.
Now, the Huskies head into their break. They don’t play again until the 13th when they’ll be facing off against Clemson in Clemson’s Memorial Stadium. UConn had some truly painful games this season, but it’s pretty likely that none of those games are going to be worse than this one. Clemson, who only lost to Georgia by 7 points, is a new level of test for UConn. For UConn fans, it is a new level of pain.
Now though, the team gets a few weeks off. A few weeks to try and improve on the weaknesses shown on Friday, on the defensive struggles especially. One benefit of this game? If UConn wins, it might be the biggest upset ever.