Dome Deflation

Connecticut coach Paul Pasqualoni called it a business trip. He said the Huskies weren't going to Central New York to pick apples. Well, sometimes you get apples and sometimes you get oranges. Friday night at the Carrier Dome, the Huskies experienced an Orange crush as Syracuse dominated UConn 40-10.

Billed as an elimination game on a national TV stage, the Huskies indeed have seen their season take a turn in the wrong direction. UConn is now 3-5 overall and fell into the Big East Conference basement along with Pittsburgh, also 0-3 in league play. More importantly the Huskies have made it extremely difficult on themselves to win a bowl bid. And that would be the second consecutive season without a bowl trip.

This time the Huskies didn't blow an early lead or let the game get away in overtime. This was total domination from The Opening kickoff to the final gun.

Syracuse (3-4, 2-1 Big East) used a no-huddle, hurry-up offense and rolled up 502 yards against UConn's highly ranked defense.

Quarterback Ryan Nassib completed 14 of 20 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns. Junior running back Jerome Smith picked up 133 yards on 19 carries, becoming the third consecutive back to run for more than 100 yards against UConn. And receiver Alec Lemon caught eight passes for 166 yards and one touchdown.

On the other side, UConn could not run the ball so the Huskies went pass happy. Quarterback Chandler Whitmer, under constant pressure from the Syracuse pass rush, completed 23 of 41 passes for 296 yards and one touchdown. He was intercepted once, on UConn's final possession of the game.

The Huskies trailed 6-0 and 13-3 before closing the gap to 13-10 on a 32-yard TD pass from Whitmer to tight end Ryan Griffin 3:39 left in the first half. But Nassib's 3-yard TD pass to Beckett Wales two minutes later put Syracuse ahead 20-10 at halftime.

That was Syracuse's highest point total in the first half this season. But it was just the beginning of the rout. With 20 points in the second half, the Orange finished the game with 27 unanswered points.

UConn ran the ball just 18 times and finished with minus-6 yards. That's the worst running performance in a game in UConn's FBS history.

The Huskies have a bye week to regroup but only four games remaininig: at USF (Nov. 3), Pittsburgh (Nov. 9), at Louisville (Nov. 24) and Cincinnati (Dec. 1). UConn would need to win three of those four just to become bowl eligible.

Read the Associated Press game story here.


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