UConn football ends season with loss to Houston

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It was a bizarre end to a bizarre season on Saturday for the UConn football team. A season that began with quarterback Jack Zergiotis at the helm concluded in a game that saw every healthy quarterback but Zergiotis get time, and saw the official end of Lou Spanos’ head coaching tenure, with just a day before the official beginning of Jim Mora’s. 

The Huskies fell on Saturday to the University of Houston, 17-45. Houston was ranked 24th when they played, and it wasn’t the worst loss for the Huskies this season. Perhaps it’s a victory, then, that the game will be more remembered for UConn’s bizarre quarterback situation than for the six touchdowns they gave up. 

Steven Krajewski once again began the game, a game he’d end with 79 yards and a touchdown in just under two quarters. Krajewski went out injured with minutes left in the second quarter, and was replaced by redshirt junior Micah Leon, who saw his first collegiate action ever. Jack Zergiotis, who had been listed as second on the depth chart, was unavailable according to Spanos after the game, though he noted Zergiotis was still with the team. 

Leon lasted until the fourth quarter despite struggling; he was sacked four times and threw for just 62 yards, but he was able to complete 10 out of 13 passes, and despite the pressure, he escaped without throwing an interception or fumbling the football. All in all, for a UConn quarterback performance this season, it wasn’t the worst. 

And then, Leon went out in the fourth with a right leg injury. No more information has been made available yet on his condition. He was replaced by true freshman Jacob Drena, a walk-on from Southington, CT, who had also not touched the field this season. Drena, who wasn’t even on the depth chart, went 2-for-3 with 15 yards. 

The quarterback situation on the UConn side was definitely the most interesting part of what was otherwise a game that looked like every other UConn loss this season. In the first quarter, both defenses held reasonably well; Houston scored their first touchdown just five minutes into the game but wouldn’t score again until the second. UConn, meanwhile, went for a field goal attempt with less than a minute left to have it hit by Logan Hall at the line and go off the post. 

After the first quarter, Houston broke loose. Quarterback Clayton Tune showed up in a big way, with two touchdowns in the second and two in the third. His favorite targets on Saturday, Jake Herslow and Jeremy Singleton, each claimed over 100 yards and a touchdown, while Nathaniel Dell had two touchdowns with 62 yards. 

Tune was pulled after the third quarter, replaced with Ike Ogbogu, who had played in just one game heading into this season and has only had more than three attempts in two games this season. Ogbogu went 2-for-3, but the only play the 12,000-person East Hartford crowd will remember was the only turnover of the game. 

Early on in the fourth, Ogbogu threw an interception to UConn’s Malik Dixon, who returned the interception 37 yards for a touchdown, UConn’s second of the game. It was an injection of life into a team that had pretty much just been existing since Krajewski’s single touchdown in the second, even if in the grand scheme of things all that touchdown did was make betters upset; those seven points kept UConn from losing by the 32.5 points that were required for the Cougars to beat the spread.  

And with that defeat, the Huskies’ season ended on Saturday with a whisper. Four quarterbacks, three head coaches and a single win. Now, the team can only look ahead toward what Mora, who announced on Sunday he will not be retaining this year’s coaches amid bringing in position coaches of his own, will bring.  

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