Week after week, the UConn Huskies have fought. Of their eight contests, the game has been decided by more than 10 points twice and by more than a score three times. Despite their knack for keeping themselves in games, they have little to show for it with just a single win. Saturday’s matchup versus Boston College was more of the same as Connecticut failed to get out of their own way in the 21-14 defeat.
“We’re always one touchdown away, so that’s pretty frustrating, but we need to keep fighting and we can’t give up,” said defensive back Malik Dixon-Williams. “I know it’s tough, we had high expectations going into the season, but we can’t give up.”
It wasn’t for a lack of effort either. The team had their errors, but they didn’t suffer any giveaways. The mistakes were more tactical, which didn’t piece well with the reality that the Huskies’ offensive attack was largely stale. They notched more than half their production over the last 20 minutes of the contest and were outgained by over 200 yards. UConn’s fourth down and rushing defense also didn’t do them any favors as the Eagles converted on three of four and neared 250 yards on the ground.
Connecticut opened the matchup on a fitting note when wide receiver Cam Ross fumbled the ball soon after he grabbed it. Thankfully for the Huskies, the junior wideout managed to regain possession, but his drop on the next play contributed to a three-and-out.
The Eagles looked menacing on their first offensive drive, but the slippery ball that plagued UConn also made its mark on BC. Eagles quarterback Thomas Castellanos had been putting together a solid drive—one that even included a pass to himself—until he saw the pigskin fly backwards out of his hands. Pryce Yates fell on the ball to recover it and gave Connecticut new life.
After nine plays, including a few great rushes from Cam Edwards, defensive tackle Jelani Stafford willed his way into the end zone for the game’s first score. The Huskies’ defense didn’t receive the same gift on their next drive. A steady dose of Castellanos and running back Kye Robichaux helped Boston College make their way down the gridiron until the latter scampered his way in for six.
Edwards has been invaluable for the Huskies recently, recording another statline of over 100 total yards, over 50% of UConn’s final tally. He also added a big touchdown on the day, leaving many with the question of how he found himself buried on the bench. The former defensive back started the season as the fourth-string running back, but injuries allowed him to emerge as the last option. For a last resort, he’s been incredible. Season starter Victor Rosa is injured, but once he returns, the Huskies’ attack on the ground should be particularly potent.
UConn managed a first down early in their next series, but faced a third-and-15 soon after. Quarterback Ta’Quan Roberson escaped pressure and found an open Kevens Clercius past the sticks, but the junior couldn’t hang on. Over a dozen plays later, Castellanos faced some pressure, managing to float a checkdown to Alex Broome to take a 14-7 advantage. Partially thanks to a late Dixon-Williams pick in the end zone, neither team found the paydirt for the rest of the half.
This drought continued into the third frame, as the Eagles put together a 14-play drive, even with Castellanos on the sideline receiving medical attention. After all was done, they had nothing to show for their effort after kicker Liam Connor missed a 44-yard field goal.
UConn went three-and-out, which proved to be just enough time for Castellanos to receive the treatment he needed. A few long passes got the Eagles in the red zone and Robichaux finished the job with a 13-yard score. Down 14, UConn needed answers fast.
Those answers finally arrived for the Huskies. Roberson and wide receiver Geordon Porter connected on the pitch-and-catch twice before Edwards exploded for a 30-yard house call. Boston College punted it away after six snaps and UConn got the ball back with the chance to even the score.
Edwards kicked the drive off with a 26-yard catch, but had a subsequent first down rush taken back because of a holding penalty. Another hold by Nick Harris made it third-and-20, a hole evidently too deep to come out of. Noe Ruelas bizarrely tried a 54-yard field goal—his first attempt of the year—which landed wide and short.
The call to have Ruelas kick from so far was a peculiar one, as making it a four-point game wouldn’t have been much better than a seven-point deficit. Considering the fact that it was his first attempt of the year, the choice did not yield high hopes. But Mora remains firm in his decision.
“I would do it the same again,” noted Mora of the play.
With six minutes on the clock, the Eagles strung together a long drive that only consisted of running plays. They didn’t score—and they didn’t need to—as the clock ran out on UConn’s hopes of a victory.
Now 1-7, the hopes for a bowl game are officially over for the Huskies, though they had been looking unlikely for some time. Things won’t get easier either as they will stay on the road for the next two weeks for a pair of matchups against No. 19 Tennessee and No. 23 James Madison, both of which can almost certainly be penciled in as losses.