Once again, it was the team's defense that needed to play lights out to make up for the miscues on the other side of the ball, and it was WVU's starting defensive end that led the way.
The junior from Columbus, Ohio led his team with nine total tackles, including six solo stops -- an impressive effort that reflected just how well Miller pursued the ball considering that only one of his takedowns was a tackle for loss.
In West Virginia's three-man front, typically the down linemen serve as space eaters (particularly in run defense). Their job is to command the attention of as many blockers as possible, leaving linebackers and safeties free to make plays near the line of scrimmage with minimal resistance.
But Miller did better than that, making plays on his own while also being sound in terms of fulfilling his assignments. He was part of a run defense that limited UConn running back Jordan Todman to 3.4 yards per carry and part of a pass rush that sacked quarterback Zach Frazer four times.
Ultimately, it wasn't enough to win. But even though Friday night was not WVU's best overall defensive effort of the season, players like Miller on that side of the ball played well enough to win. As has been the case for much of the season, however, they just didn't get enough help from their teammates.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME:
Starks was one of the few bright spots on offense, making plays as a runner, a pass-catcher and as a generally aware player, managing to recover the first of what was ultimately two Mountaineer fumbles on the team's only overtime possession.
It was the fourth-year junior wide receiver who got things started in a big way for the WVU attack, taking an end around on the team's second possession, reading his blocks well and showing an impressive burst to pull away from Husky defenders like Secretariat at the Belmont Stakes.
But Starks was hardly done. He had three catches for 35 yards -- hardly eye-popping numbers, but good enough to match the production of players like Jock Sanders, who needed seven grabs to lead the team in receiving with 43 yards.
While it ultimately was meaningless, Starks also nearly saved the game for his team by recovering a Sanders fumble in overtime, allowing the offense to drive all the way to the Connecticut 1-yard line before fullback Ryan Clarke lost the ball on first-and-goal.
Those turnovers ultimately served as a black cloud over what was otherwise a solid day for the offense -- it gained 414 yards, 254 of which came on the ground after some observers were wondering what was wrong with the WVU rushing attack.
Beyond the fumbles, those issues were atoned for on Friday night. And with Starks continuing to make plays since his breakout game against UNLV several weeks ago, West Virginia's passing attack should be poised to play at a high level as well.
But the offense still must find a way to put it all together in the last third of the regular season.
West Virginia simply isn't good enough to overcome turnovers and win, given its offensive problems and inability to come up with game changing plays on defense or special teams. The minus four turnover margin, which put WVU at minus five overall in 2011, was the key factor in the game.
"They had zero turnovers," head coach Bill Stewart said afterward. "We can't strip the ball, can't pick the ball, can't knock the ball loose on defense, and our offense gave the ball away. You can't win games if you can't take care of the ball."