John F. Silver
It’s a place the Huskies deserve to be.
UConn is averaging 8.8 points in Big East play and couldn’t even match that against South Florida losing their fourth straight game with a 13-6 loss at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday night.
Maikon Bonani kicked two fourth quarter field goals, both coming after turnovers, and the Huskies’ last minute drive to tie ended at the USF 22-yard line with a Chandler Whitmer pass being deflected at the line and picked off by Elkino Watson to secure the victory.
The Huskies’ defense held USF to 282 total yards of offense and only 13 points. It was more than enough against a UConn offense that couldn’t get in the end zone, and also couldn’t take care of the ball committing turnovers on its final three possessions.
UConn is now 3-6, 0-4 in the Big East and headed nowhere.
It was another confounding game for the Huskies. The defense, which gave up an 80-yard drive in the first quarter that culminated in a 5-yard B.J. Daniels touchdown, kept the explosive Bulls contained for much of the night. That did little to help and offense that couldn’t run the ball early, and take care of the ball late.
Whitmer threw for 284 yards on 24 of 38 passing, but couldn’t get the ball in the end zone when it mattered.
At 7-6 game in the fourth quarter, the Huskies had a chance to steal one down in Tampa and perhaps turnaround their season.
It wasn’t meant to be.
Whitmer’s handoff to Lyle McCombs was bobbled resulting in a fumble at the UConn 38. Any turnover the Bulls get is shocking as they came into the game with only five takeaways all year. They had had two more coming.
The ensuing drive resulted in a Bonani field goal for a 10-6 lead.
The Huskies had another chance with Whitmer driving in USF territory. At the 42-yard line, Whitmer was hit while he threw and it was picked off by USF’s Jon Lejiste easily down the field. The notable part about that interception was that it was the first interception by USF all year.
USF turned that into three more points with Bonani eventually hitting a 50-yard field goal for a 13-6 lead.
Whitmer had the Huskies against down the field and had the ball with a minute to go at the USF 33-yard line. He dropped back and attempted to find Geremy Davis over the middle only to see the ball tipped at the line and land into Watson’s hand.
It was another shocking end for the Huskies. South Florida’s Daniels was contained passing for 199 yards rushing for only 23 before he left with an injury in the fourth quarter.
The Huskies host Pittsburgh next Friday night as they try and gain their first Big east win of the season. It was a batter performance than a 40-10 loss two weeks ago against Syracuse, but it was still a loss.
The Huskies had three turnovers in the fourth quarter, can’t sustain the run and can’t get in the end zone. At 3-6, they are their record.