Same Mistakes Plague UConn Against SMU

Southern Methodist wide receiver Keenan Holman runs against UConn cornerback Byron Jones after a catch during the second half.

Entering the game against the SMU Mustangs on Saturday, the UConn Huskies football team was on their third quarterback of the season. Most everyone has been placing the onus of the blame on the quarterbacks.

But is it fair to do that?

Judging by the way the offense moved for a better part of the game, no it's not. Sure there was the pick-six by the opposing team we've gotten so used to this season.

But for the first time since the Michigan game (the real beginning of the end), they looked like an offense capable of sustaining drives.

Casey Cochran was able to move the ball down the field. The rushing game got good production from Lyle McCombs and Max DeLorenzo with the help of a patchwork offensive line.

That same offensive line even did a great job of protecting Cochran allowing just one sack. And you could really say that sack was on Cochran because he read the play wrong.

What's killing the Huskies is the inability to tackle on defense and special teams mistakes.

After UConn had cut the lead to 21-14, they forced a SMU punt. The Cochran led offense moved the ball down the field only to have the drive stall out on downs at the SMU 26.

Given how the Huskies defense had been playing at this point, there wasn't a lot of worry. They had been getting the job done.

Then suddenly they forget how to tackle, something interim head coach T.J. Weist said they had to do to be able to beat the Mustangs.

"We said we had to make tackles, had to when they catch it, tackle,' Weist said on Monday's American Athletic Conference coaches teleconference. "Don't let them catch it and then go make plays. That's what cost us late.

"We had two hitch routes in a row that went for a 68 yards (actually 74 yards) and a touchdown. We missed a tackle on a hitch route and he ran for 50 something yards (54). Then they turn around on the next play and run a hitch to the other side of the field and our corner missed and they scored a touchdown."

The offense responded though and cut the lead to 28-21 and then the defense forced an SMU punt giving the Huskies a chance.

Then the special teams mistake happens after the offense can't do anything when Cole Wagner's punt travels 14 yards. SMU drives down the field, the defense makes stops and limits the Mustangs to a field goal.

On the next set of downs, Cochran throws a pick-six and the already dwindling hopes of a first win are gone.

When you go back and look at each loss, it's the same thing. But as I said, it's not fair to blame the carousel of quarterbacks.

It's comes down to being able to execute in all three phases of the game for 60 minutes.

That is something that UConn has been unable to do so far. We can only hope that changes over the course of the final three games.

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photo credit: usa today sports


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