Huskies Left With Bad Taste

Watching the game film from Saturday's 38-31 loss to Western Michigan didn't change anything for UConn linebacker Sio Moore. The video showed what he already knew, that the Huskies made too many mistakes and left too many opportunities out on the field.

"It just leaves a very sour taste in your mouth," Moore said Tuesday at UConn's weekly media day. "The best way to get rid of it is to come out here and practice today and let it all out."

UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni refers to it as the "complementary" game, where all phases come together to form a team performance. With a 2-3 record in non-conference play, it is obvious the Huskies haven't had great success pulling it all together.

Now comes a tougher challenge. UConn steps into Big East play this Saturday, traveling to Morgantown to play No. 16 West Virginia (4-1) in the conference opener for both teams. Under first-year coach Dana Holgorsen, the Mountaineers have emerged as the team to beat in the Big East.

There's no doubt this is the best opponent on UConn's schedule to this point. And the Mountaineers probably need little reminder of last season's encounter with the Huskies, a 16-13 overtime win for UConn at Rentschler Field. That helped decide the BCS representative for the Big East and eventually sent the Huskies to the Orange Bowl.

"Last year we lost at Louisville and got shutout 26-0," wide receiver Nick Williams said. "Then, kind of in the same situation, we beat West Virginia at home. I think that since we were in that situation so recently, people around here aren't panicking and we're not nervous. We know that we're about to start conference play. I think all of us still have our chins high."

The Huskies wanted to make Western Michigan one-dimensional last week and they certainly accomplished that. The Broncos passed for 479 yards and rushed for 11. The problem was a lack of aggression, especially in the secondary where UConn's defensive backs didn't get up tight enough on the WMU receivers.

A total defensive lapse like that again West Virginia could be devastating. The Mountaineers are averaging 362.8 yards passing, 133.2 yards rushing and 40.4 points.

"There were a lot of individuals [playing against Western Michigan], but it takes the entire defense, it takes the entire special teams unit, and it takes the entire offensive unit," Moore said. "The offense played great. For us on defense, we need everybody on the same page. We can't hurt ourselves with penalties. That was a crazy game of penalties.

"We just got to make sure we play as a team and not hurt ourselves in any way. West Virginia is a good team. Don't give that kind of team more opportunities to be on the field."

Pasqualoni pointed out this is the sixth game of a 12-game season. And with all of those remaining games against Big East opponents, it is time for a fresh start.

"Certainly, you treat it like Game One," he said. "All games are important, but these are obviously the most important games.

"I don't know what you expect when you are starting over. I expected to have growing pains. It's time for us to get over that hump and play solid football."


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