UMass QB Mike Wegzyn is sacked by UConn's (33) Yawin Smallwood in the 2nd quarter.

The UConn Huskies football team opened up its 2012 schedule on Thursday night as they welcomed the UMass Minutemen into the FBS. And after the way the Huskies played, it looks like it’ll be a long season for the Minutemen.

Behind a complete team effort, UConn beat the Minutemen 37-0 in front of 35,270 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, CT.

The story of this game to me was how dominant the defense was.

At one point in the first half, UMass had more punts (five) than they did total yards (three). UMass would end up finishing with eight total yards in the first half and just 59 for the game.

As we saw from the team last year, defensive coordinator Don Brown once again dialed up the pressure on the team he once coached to an FCS title game.  With an inexperienced quarterback and a Brown defense, there was no doubt who would come out on top. Brown coaches an agressive style of defense and he called blitzes as the right time to put pressure on UMass redshirt freshman quarterback Mike Wegzyn.

The much maligned pass defense looked solid as well holding Wegzyn and A.J. Doyle to 60 yards passing. Dwayne Gratz got in on the action with a 37 yard interception return for a touchdown. The run defense held UMass to -1 yard rushing.

We got our first look at new quarterback Chandler Whitmer and I’ll be honest I did like what I saw. It’s definitely a different UConn team when you have a quarterback who can pass the ball so the opposing teams can’t stack the box on Lyle McCombs.

Whitmer did make some mistakes as you would expect in his first FCS game. The first interception he had wasn’t his fault as the UMass defender made a great play. The second one was all on him though.

Overall though, he looked good passing the ball. He made a few bad reads but he throws a nice ball. He finished the night 15-of-25 for 219 yards with the two interceptions.

We are all used to a solid offensive line leading the way for the running backs but this isn’t the same offensive line we are used to. McCombs did finish with 84 yards on 24 carries. Against a team like UMass, this could have been better.

It’s the first game of the season and I think it went better than a lot of people thought it would. The defense pitched a shutout, the offense was good and the special teams was outstanding.

If the defense continues like this as the season goes on and the offense improves on a weekly basis, this UConn team could surprise a few teams along the way.


Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
UMass Minutemen 0 0 0 0 0
UConn Huskies 7 13 7 10 37

1st quarter

CON – 5:59 – Lyle McCombs 1 yd run (Chad Christen extra point)

2nd quarter

CON – 9:04 – Chad Christen 36 yard field goal

CON – 2:49 – Chad Christen 47 yard field goal

CON – 1:49 – Dwayne Gratz 37 yard interception return (Chad Christen extra point)

3rd quarter

CON – 4:12 – Max DeLorenzo Recovered Blocked Punt In End Zone (Chad Christen extra point)

4th quarter

CON – 8:24 – Scott McCummings 1 yd run (Chad Christen extra point)

CON – 1:36 – Chad Christen 19 yard field goal

To continue reading, the UMass Minutemen @ UConn Huskies recap, click on the read more button below if you’re on the home page.

Offensive Player of the Game:

While different guys stood out, it was Geremy Davis who stood out to me. Davis had five catches for 79 yards.

Defensive Player of the Game:

The entire UConn defense earns the player of the game in my opinion holding UMass to just 59 yards in the game.

Turning Point(s) of the Game:

No one real key turning point but the defense made sure UMass had no chance in this game at all.

Offensive Notes:

Connecticut's Lyle McCombs (43) celebrates his touchdown against Massachusetts in the first half of an NCAA college football game in East Hartford, Conn., Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012.In his first FBS game, Chandler Whitmer was 15-of-25 for 219 yards with two interceptions. Scott McCummings had seven carries for 13 yards and a touchdown out of the wildcat. Lyle McCombs had 24 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown. He also added two catches for 23 yards. Nick Williams had three rushes for 24 yards and one catch for 16 yards. Max Delorenzo had four rushes for 24 yards and also recovered a blocked punt in the end zone. Geremy Davis led all receivers with five catches for 79 yards. Michael Smith had three catches for 30 yards while newcomer Shakim Phillips had two catches for 21 yards.

Defensive Notes:

Yawin Smallwood led the Huskies with seven tackles (five solo, two assisted) along with one pass break up and one sack for an eight yard loss. Sio Moore had five tackles (two solo, three assisted) with two pass breakups. Dwayne Gratz and Ryan Wirth both had four tackles with Gratz returning an interception for 37 yards. Trevardo Williams had the other sack for the Huskies.

Special Teams Notes:

Special teams was solid all around. Chad Christen was 4-for-4 on extra points and made all three of his field goal attempts (36, 47, 19). Cole Wagner averaged 39 yards on his two punts. Nick Williams returned three punts for 66 yards and one kickoff for 37 yards. If he keeps this up, teams will be kicking away from him all year. Taylor Mack blocked a punt in the 2nd quarter that was recovered by Max Delorenzo for a touchdown.


Ted Jennings suffered an undisclosed injury in the 3rd quarter.


Referee: Tracy Jones  •  Umpire: Richard Feeney  •  Linesman: Tom Considine  •  Line judge: Kevin Codey  •  Back judge: Jim Brennan  •  Field judge: Rick Santilli  •  Side judge: Jim Brennan.

Game Notes:

UMass Minutemen @ UConn Huskies 8.30.12 box score

Here are the postgame quotes from UConn head coach Paul Pasqualoni and UMass head coach Charley Molnar as well as players from both teams.

Here are the starters for the Huskies:


WR 85 Davis, Geremy
TE 89 Delahunt, John
LT 72 Bennett, Jimmy
LG 69 Greene, Steve
C 73 Mateas, Alex
RG 63 Masters, Adam
RT 77 Friend, Kevin
QB 10 WHITMER, Chandler
TB 43 McCombs, Lyle
FB 47 Frank, Reuben
WR 31 Williams, Nick


DE 48 WILLIAMS, Trevardo
DT 53 Wirth, Ryan
DT 90 CAMPENNI, Julian
DE 91 Joseph, Jesse
SLB 3 Moore, Sio
WLB 28 Johnson, Jory
CB 5 WREH-Wilson, Blidi
S 16 Jones, Byron
S 15 Brown, Ty-Meer
CB 7 Gratz, Dwayne

Here are the game notes courtesy of UConn Sports Information:

  • Redshirt-sophomore Chandler Whitmer’s first Quarter pass to Mike Osiecki was a 16-yard completion; on his first drive Whitmer was 3-3 for 38 yards.
  • Redshirt-sophomore Lyle McCombs’ touchdown in the first quarter was his eighth career rushing touchdown.
  • Redshirt-junior Chad Christen scored his first career point in the first quarter on a PAT and made his first two career field goal attempts of 36 and 47 yards in the second quarter…He recorded a 19-yard attempt in the fourth quarter…Christen’s three field goals mark the first time a Husky made three in a contest since Dave Teggart vs. USF on October 14, 2011.
  • Connecticut held UMass to 12 total yards in the first Quarter and a total of 59 yards for the game.
  • Redshirt-sophomore Yawin Smallwood improved his career mark to 2.5 sacks and registered 3.5 tackles for loss in the game.
  • Redshirt-freshmen Andrew Adams 9-yard tackle for loss in the second quarter was his first career tackle for loss.
  • Redshirt-senior Dwayne Gratz recorded his second career interception for a touchdown on his 37-yard return in the second quarter…The last time this feat was accomplished by a Husky was on October 8, 2011 at West Virginia by Ty-Meer  Brown for 48 yards…Gratz’ previous TD return was in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma for 46 yards.
  • Connecticut held UMass without a first-down until 33 seconds to play before halftime.
  • Redshirt-sophomore Geremy Davis had a career high 26-yard reception in the third quarter…He finished with a game-high five receptions for 79 yards.
  • Redshirt-sophomore Shakim Phillips recorded his first catch as a Connecticut player in the third quarter, a six-yard grab…His second reception was for 15 yards.
  • The punt blocked by Taylor Mack and returned for a touchdown by Max DeLorenzo in the third quarter was the first for the Huskies since September 10, 2011 by Byron Jones at Vanderbilt…It was DeLorenzo’s first career touchdown.
  • Redshirt-sophomore QB Scott McCummings scored his eighth career touchdown during the fourth quarter.
  • Connecticut tied the program-mark for least first downs allowed with three…The last time it happened was against Navy in 2002.
  • The Connecticut shutout tonight is the first against an FBS opponent since September 1, 2005 vs. Buffalo in which Connecticut was victorious 38-0…The Huskies last shutout against any opponent was against Maine on September 8, 2007.
  • Connecticut won by more than 30 points for the second year in a row when opening at home…The last was vs. Fordham on September 3, 2011, 35-3.

Big East Games and Results:

Friday, August 31

Temple, 7 p.m.

Saturday, September 1

Syracuse, 12 p.m.

Youngstown St.
Pittsburgh, 6 p.m.

South Florida, 7 p.m.

Tulane, 8 p.m.

Sunday, September 2

Louisville, 3:30 p.m.

Things to Work On:

  • I’d like to see Whitmer establish himself a little more. Made some poor decisions but his footwork is top notch.
  • As much as everyone likes the wildcat, personally I think we need to see what Whitmer can do with this offense. He definitely has the help on the receiving corps which is something we haven’t seen here in a long time.
  • Keep getting Nick Williams the ball. When he touched the ball on offense, things happened.
  • Offensive line needs to block better. They have top RB in McCombs but they need to open up more holes for him.
  • While UConn was 8-of-16 (50%) on the third downs, they could have been better. A few mistakes cost them from it being around 75%.

Up Next:

The Huskies stay at home as they’ll welcome the North Carolina State Wolpack to Rentschler Field next Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for high noon.

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Photo credit: stephen dunn – hartford courant (no. 3 in gallery), ap photo