UConn started their 55-14 loss against Memphis on Saturday by letting up six straight touchdown drives in a row, and only ceasing with a missed field goal to end the half. UConn didn’t force a punt until early in the fourth quarter, after the second string was in.
The Huskies (1-5, 0-3 The American) let up 634 yards of total offense in the game - actually bringing their per-game average on the year down - 378 on the ground and 256 through the air.
It was another defensively-challenged effort to say the least, and against a team like Memphis (4-2, 1-2 The American) with a high-powered offense that was ticked off after a tough loss to Tulane a week ago, you can’t really win like that.
“The issue that I have with our team right now is we're just not playing smart on some occasions and we're not making plays when we have the opportunity to make plays, and I think that's the big difference,” head coach Randy Edsall said after the game.
Like last week’s game against Cincinnati, the Huskies started out the game impressively on offense. Quarterback David Pindell once again led a long touchdown drive, this time one of 17 plays and 75 yards. Once again, it didn’t matter much because of the poor execution and technique on both sides of the ball.
“Early on maybe we're doing some things that they haven't seen, that we haven't shown people, and we make some plays,” Edsall said. “Then they make some adjustments and what happens as the game goes on is you have to win your individual matchups and that's one thing we haven't been doing as good of a job at.”
The Memphis touchdown drives came in many forms, but most commonly the long touchdown run.
The Huskies had running back Darrell Henderson stopped behind the line of scrimmage with 0:13 left in the first quarter, then four arm tackles and 61 yards later, he was in the end zone. On the next two Memphis drives, his counterpart Patrick Taylor Jr. took two nearly-identical 35-yard runs to the baja.
“We're not big enough, we're not strong enough, we're not fast enough, you take a look at our roster,” Edsall said. “It's a developmental program, you've gotta develop these guys.”
In fact, Memphis head coach Mike Norvell could have run that same play to either of them 73 times in a row and their offense would have been as effective. Henderson averaged 12.4 yards per carry on the day; Taylor averaged 14.6.
The Huskies offense faltered for most of the first half, until back up near the end, when Pindell led another touchdown drive that culminated in a leaping, out-of-nowhere grab by receiver Keiyon Dixon.
However, Pindell didn’t have the greatest game. He threw the ball to the boys in royal blue shirts twice, an excusable one into traffic in the first half, then a befuddling one midway through the fourth quarter.
The quarterback finished the day 22-for-37 pass attempts for 190 yards, and was yanked again in the third quarter for Marvin Washington, who completed 2-of-6 passing attempts for 25 yards and an interception.
“He scrambles around, I appreciate that he was trying to make a play, but understand the situation and throw the ball away so we can line up and play third down instead of being a little careless with the ball trying to make a big play,” Edsall said.
The Huskies will have a much-needed bye this week before hosting USF on Oct. 20.
Luke Swanson is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.