UConn's Downward Spiral Continues

Sixty games. That's how long it had been since the Huskies were last shut out. November 12th, 2005, UConn was blanked 24-0 at Pittsburgh. Saturday a listless Husky team was out-everythinged by Louisville, and drilled 26-0 in a game that wasn't even that close.

The Huskies managed just 11 first downs and 195 yards of total offense. Louisville had been allowing an average of 346 yards per game. Mike Box was ineffective in his first career start, throwing for just 35 yards on 4 of 12 passing, before being replaced in the 4th quarter by Zach Frazer. UConn finished with just 87 yards passing in the game.

Randy Edsall certainly left himself open to second guessing by going to a freshman quarterback, with virtually no meaningful experience, in an absolute must win conference game, on the road. His gamble did not pay off, there was no magic spark, in fact an already troubled passing attack was far less effective than what we saw earlier in the season with Frazer at the helm.

Jordan Todman rushed 19 times for 90 yards, marking the first time this season he'd been held under 100 yards in a game. D.J. Shoemate, who Edsall said had "worked his tail off" to win back the number two running back spot, did not have a carry or a reception in the game. Leon Kinnard did carry once from the wildcat for a gain of 6 yards, but on the next play he handed to Jordan Todman, who was stopped for a loss of 7 yards. The wildcat was put back on the shelf for the day.

Defensively the Huskies didn't play all that poorly. They did allow 160 yards on the ground, but bear in mind Louisville was content to run for much of the second half. The lone touchdown that the defense allowed came following a Taylor Mack muffed punt, which gave Louisville the ball on the Connecticut 18. They held Louisville to four field goal attempts the rest of the way out. Lawrence Wilson was all over the field, notching 16 tackles, 10 of which were solos and two tackles for a loss. Sio Moore was also very active, making 8 tackles including two for a loss. The Huskies, however, did not record a sack in the game.

Once again the special teams, which has been a problem for the Huskies in one way or another for seemingly ever, was abysmal. Dave Teggart missed a 29 yard chip-shot which would have given the Huskies a 3-0 lead in the first quarter. Then just a minute into the second half, the punt return unit allowed Doug Beaumont to race 74 yards for a touchdown, giving Louisville a 20-0 lead and effectively ending the ball game. The Huskies were fortunate to only allow the one punt return touchdown. Midway through the second quarter Beaumont returned one for a touchdown but the play was called back for holding...it was close.

For the first time since 2006 the Huskies have opened 0-2 in Big East play, and that season UConn finished 1-6. Not a good sign for the Husky faithful. UConn is just 4-18 on the road in Big East play since joining the conference in 2004. Sadly, one of those road victories was actually in 2004, a 41-35 Thanksgiving Day victory over Rutgers. To put a little perspective on that, Syracuse, a team that had lost 31 of it's last 35 league games coming into this season, has two road victories already this year. One at South Florida, where UConn has never won, and one at West Virginia, a team that UConn has never beat, let alone in Morgantown.

UConn has beaten up on Syracuse and Louisville in each of the last three seasons, and with it becoming apparent that UConn will no longer to able to count on those victories, one can't help but wonder about the program's overall health. The Huskies are headed towards their third consecutive losing season in conference, and this was supposed to be the program's breakout season. For now the Huskies are going to have to pick up the pieces and just start playing some decent football, if for no other reason than pride.

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