Could anyone have envisioned a different outcome? The University of Connecticut traveled to South Carolina on Saturday for a weekend matchup with Clemson University. The result was mostly the same that Huskies fans have seen throughout the season. The Tigers obliterated the Huskies 44-7 in what can only be described as an I-told-you-so moment by Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney.
Despite the end result for the Tigers, the blowout didn’t start out as many expected it would. The Huskies shocked everyone with a 99-yard touchdown return by freshman Brian Brewton to begin Saturday’s game. Brewton’s kick return was his second kick return touchdown of the year and one of the few bright spots for the Huskies on Saturday. Interim head coach Lou Spanos had to keep the excitement to a minimum with the rest of the game soon to come.
The Huskies shocked many people this game, as the team started sophomore Jack Zergiotis against Clemson, a player who had largely been ineffective in his two previous games against Fresno State. and Holy Cross. UConn decided to give the ball to Zergiotis over previous starter Steven Krajewski. “He was more accurate,” said Spanos. “He beat Steven [Krajewski] out in practice.” Spanos’ decision to start Zergiotis proved to be very wrong, as the sophomore accumulated just 90 yards on 21 attempts, two interceptions and an astounding six sacks for -44 yards. Much of Zergiotis’ time on the field could be seen with the quarterback throwing passes out of bounds or being sacked by Clemson defenders.
Other than Brewton, Aaron Turner had a solid game with 59 yards on five receptions. The freshman made the most of his opportunities and was targeted nine times in Saturday’s matchup. Keelan Marion totaled just one reception and received the utmost disrespect when he was jokingly mistaken for injured receiver Cam Ross. With Zergiotis’ inefficient play at the quarterback position, UConn’s receivers were unable to show off their best brand of football.
UConn was extremely poor on the rushing end for this game. Running back Kevin Mensah totaled -7 rushing yards as Clemson’s defense locked the Huskies down. While freshman Nate Carter was better on Saturday, he only totaled 19 yards on five attempts for an average of 3.8 yards per carry.
For Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei, the sophomore was very solid despite average throwing efficiency. Uiagalelei had 244 yards along with a touchdown. Despite being on the field for a short time, Taisun Phommachanh, brother of injured UConn quarterback Tyler Phommachanh, was easily the best quarterback on the field and provided the Tigers with a huge spark. The sophomore had a single pass for 33 yards, 16 rushing yards and a touchdown.
It was an utter embarrassment for UConn and another win for the Clemson Tigers, who moved to 7-3 on Saturday. The result was expected for UConn fans, but a disappointment nonetheless. Other than Brewton’s surprising score to start the game, the result was more of the same: another loss. This game was certainly not a welcoming sight for new UConn hire Jim Mora, but Mora knew what he got into with this team. The team will travel to play University of Central Florida next week and end the season back at Rentschler Field against a powerful University of Houston team.