UConn-Temple - Grading the Huskies

UConn escaped with a 22-17 win over Temple at Rentschler Field last Saturday. John Silver analyzes the win and grades out Huskies.

Quarterbacks - Tyler Lorenzen seemed to do what he wanted when he got time passing for 222 yards on 19-of-29 passing. Spread the ball around to six different receivers and didn't make many mistakes on where to go with the ball. He didn't do a good job on a critical 4th and inches QB sneak. At 6-foot-5, he has to be able to get three inches. Offense had problem with pass blocking and blitzing. Not sure if Lorenzen checked off and made some blocking adjustments, or if guys just got beat. Grades – C+


Running backs - Finally a pretty good game out of the group running wise. Andre Dixon showed a lot of burst in the hole on his way to a career-high 129 yards rushing. Donald Brown was above average when he got room and had 62 yards and two touchdowns. Brown's blocking in pass protection was less than stellar. Not much for Lou Allen, who couldn't get one yard when needed on fourth down with less than three minutes to play that would have secured the victory. Fullbacks Anthony Sherman and Anthony Davis are non-factors so far. Not bad, but could be better all-around. Pass blocking and pass catching are important parts of the job too.  Grade - C


Receivers - Continues to be the one group that is productive and consistent. Nice job from D.J. Hernandez (5 catches, 58 yards) and Brad Kanuch (3 catches, 51 yards). Larry Taylor was also effective while tight end Steve Brouse had chances at bigger plays but couldn't haul down passes. Steady performance. Nothing game breaking however. Grade - C


Offensive line - Not good enough. Especially in pass protection where they gave up six sacks and many more hurries. Also, couldn't pick up a yard or less on three different occasions. Is getting beat and bullied on pass blocking, and missing too many blocks in the running game. Right side with Mike Hicks in for Dan Ryan at tackle continues to struggle. Not playing physical enough. Grade - D


Defensive line - After defense ends Julius Williams' sack on the opening drive that drove Temple back inside its own 5, there wasn't much going on. Unit fell asleep in the second half, especially up the middle at tackle as Temple rushed for 189 yards. Most of that was up the middle where the defensive tackles were soft. Got blown off the ball and didn't get any penetration on running plays.  Grade – D-


Linebackers -  Not very good. Struggled in the running game tackling and didn't make many plays. Quiet day for Scott Lutrus (3 tackles, one solo).  Lawrence Wilson recovered a fumble, but was also in on plays way too late. Danny Lansanah played with a less than 100 percent right ankle and it showed.  Defensive line broke down, but the second line of defense wasn't there to pick up the slack. Grade - D


Secondary - Beat bad on a game changing 59 yard touchdown pass that was a broken play. Robert McClain lost containment and the safety never got over to help. Those kinds of breakdowns lose games. Dahna Deleston was outstanding at safety with a team-high 10 tackles, one forced fumble, and a half of a sack.  Robert Vaughn has to knock the ball down on that last play. Grade – C-


Special teams - Tony Ciaravino gets an A for his field goal kicking with a 47 and 50 yarder wrapped around a 24-yard field goal. Desi Cullen had four punts for a 32.5 yard average, not great, but several of them were into a strong win. Decent job on returns by Larry Taylor and Tyvon Branch. Kickoff coverage has to improve. Grade - B 


Coaching - Going for a first down on fourth and inches, up five points in the fourth quarter, on your own 32-yard line is insanity. Punt it away and play defense. A TD beats you, not a field goal. You don't need the ball there.  No need to risk giving the opponent a very, very short field, which happened when Lorenzen failed to get the first down on a sneak. Play was moot when Temple turned it over on an interception, but that could have lost the game. You have to protect against the worst case scenario there. Wasn't worth the risk no matter how confident staff was in getting an inch. If that's the case, go for the first down on fourth and short every time anywhere. That's too deep. Right call to go on fourth-and-one on the Owls 28 with 2:36 left. A field goal against the win was not feasible. Also, it was a chance to put the game away.  Overall, play calling was very conservative offensively and defensively. Wasn't until late when the defense started to mix things up and bring pressure. Offensive play calling was vanilla. You would think the shotgun running back handoff was the only play the team had. Left a lot of bullets in the holster. Staff didn't want to show too much with Big East games coming up. It almost cost them. Grade - D

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