Sigh. The weekend's over, it's time to face this one.
If I said "I don't understand how we just lost that game" - or some slight variation - one time Friday night, I said it 20 times. Three days later I still have no handle on how it happened. Of course this is what fans of UConn victims have been saying for the past two years.
It's not a debate anymore, Vic Anderson is the real deal. If I could have frozen time the moment he caught the dump pass from Cantwell near the end of the first half, I would have put the odds of him getting into the endzone at no better than 10:1. He has the potential to be very special.
I have my doubts over whether or not a quarterback unable to move well enough to make a simple handoff should be taking snaps with the game on the line, but I suppose you have to listen to a senior leader when he says he can go. Bum ankle or not, there's no excuse for Hunter making that throw, especially given the amount of time he had.
Josh Chichester's good is still outweighing his bad, but both are unquestionably present. Cantwell was definitely too keyed in on the big man after the first quarter, a habit which likely cost us six points when he missed a wide open Brock Bolen down the right sideline.
Awesome to see Bilal finally break out. The prospects of an Anderson/Powell backfield for the next two seasons might be the biggest thing this program has going for it.
Penalties absolutely killed us. Earl Heyman's questionable roughing the passer led to a Husky score, Abdul Kuyateh's second false start turned a crucial 3rd and 2 into a 3rd and 7, and I'm pretty sure at least one of the 52 not enough men on the line of scrimmage infractions was costly. The final tally shows just seven flags for 60 yards, but the severity of almost all of them made it feel like much more.
Donald Brown is a future pro, and he deserves more Heisman pub than he's receiving.
I don't understand how the secondary continually allows the middle of the field to exist uncovered. I realize that English was bringing Thomas or Buchanan up to help out against the run, but there were three or four plays where the Connecticut receiver camping out between the hashes didn't have a defender within ten yards of him. That just can't happen.
Me thinks Zach Frazer was the better option at QB for UConn all along. If he can keep opposing secondaries at least semi-honest, then this could be a team the nation sees being blown out in a BCS game.
I'm going to go ahead and step up and take a solid chunk of the blame for this one. I left the hat I'd worn for the Tennessee Tech and Kansas State games over at a friend's house a couple of weekends ago, and ended up being forced to go with my number two. I was worried about this from the day's outset, and I think it's safe to say that my fears were confirmed.
I don't blame you, Stoudt.
It's not really his fault, but the ten minutes of cliche after cliche being hurled in a monotone voice that is the Steve Kragthorpe postgame interview is almost impossible to take after a loss like Friday's. A tipsy friend in the backseat of our car hopelessly said, "I can't take it, turn it off" at least three times while Krags was busy delivering the script any one of us could prepare at this point.
The three fourth-down attempts blew my mind. I realize that Dougherty still isn't 100%, but how are we ever going to know what his ceiling is if we never trot him out there? Kragthorpe said the wind was the biggest factor in each of the decisions, but the wind was at U of L's back the third time. Making the move even less understandable is the fact that Cantwell had just left the game, and the only other option besides trying the 42 or 43 yarder was apparently a draw play on 4th and six. Opting not to take three hurt us badly in a couple of games last year (hey, Syracuse), and it might have cost us the game Friday night.
Being removed of placekicking duties did not help Chris Philpott on kickoffs. Desi Cullen, on the other hand, was a huge weapon for the Huskies. Wonder where the hell they found him.
Doug Beaumont: still awesome.
It's not an original complaint, but I had some serious issues with the music on Friday. Playing nothing for five minutes and then blasting the beginning of a song for three seconds before play resumes is frustrating, as is the choice of "Highway to the Dangerzone" in the moments leading up to the biggest offensive play of the game. Full blame for that interception goes to Loggins.
I came scary close to throwing my second-string hat when the deadball timeout was called.
The play worked, but I don't understand not using a lead-blocker on third and short, especially one as capable as Joe Tronzo.
Hope that joint was great, Matt.
Dexter Heyman may have made the most impressive defensive play of the season thus far when he came flying out of nowhere to keep Donald Brown from getting the corner and prancing into the endzone. When I saw the play developing, I didn't think there was any way one of our guys was going to be able to get there.
Chris Campa also deserves a shout-out for flying around the field and throwing some weight around all night. Sans a bad offsides penalty, Mo Mitchell was another standout.
Serious question: was Anderson's return to the 25 after he botched the initial catch the longest kick return we've had all season? I can't remember any better.
The Connecticut player waving bye to the crowd and doing the international sign for "shh" after Cantwell's last interception is almost less cool than Larry Taylor. Almost.
A bye week, and then at Memphis on a Friday night followed by a Saturday home game against Middle Tennessee. The city's not exactly going to be buzzing for the first 3/4 of October...hopefully, I suppose.
508-279. Son of a bitch.