A miserable week for the Huskies ended with a thud, as UConn got shut out by Louisville 26-0.
The performance, which marked the first time the Huskies had been shut out since November 2005 and the first shutout ever for Louisville in Big East play, came just days after starting quarterback Cody Endres got kicked off the team and guard Eric Kuraczea quit. Blame the loss of the two offensive starters if you want, but that doesn't explain the special teams breakdowns that proved especially costly.
Dave Teggart started the ball rolling in the wrong direction by clanking a 29-yard field goal off the left upright. The miss came on the Huskies' first possession, and ultimately proved to be the best chance UConn had of scoring all day.
Taylor Mack muffed a second-quarter punt that led to a short field and the only Louisville offensive touchdown of the day. A 74-yard punt return by Doug Beaumont gave the Cardinals seven more points, and another Beaumont return was negated by a penalty.
The score could have been a lot worse. Louisville had to kick four field goals, and had several drives curtailed by penalties. The defense missed tackles all day long, and the offense rarely finished a block.
With West Virginia coming to town Friday night, the Huskies have a short week to fix what ailed them Saturday. Given that the loss to the Cardinals occurred after a bye week, it's hard to be optimistic that the Huskies have it in them to turn things around.
--Connecticut held the ball for just 22:33 against the Cardinals. Among the problems: The Huskies forced just one three-and-out series all day.
--One positive from the game is that the defense only surrendered one touchdown on defense, and that came after a muffed punt gave the Cardinals the ball in the red zone. The other touchdown came on special teams, and UConn held Louisville to field goals on their other scoring drive.
GAME BALL GOES TO: LB Lawrence Wilson -- Wilson finished with 16 tackles to lead the team against Louisville. Ten of those tackles were solo efforts, and two were behind the line of scrimmage. He's now fourth on the school's all-time list with 404 career tackles.
KEEP AN EYE ON: QB Mike Box -- The redshirt freshman left in the third quarter against Louisville with symptoms of a concussion, but if he's healthy enough to play this week he will likely get the start again. He struggled against Louisville, though his interception was a ball that bounced off his receiver's hands.Br>
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Overall when you look at it, it doesn't matter we lost. The only way we're going to get out of this is we've got to work harder. That's what I told the kids afterward. There are no magic words. There's no magic potion. Basically what we have to do is we have to work harder and we have to keep getting better. That's all I know we can do, and that's what we're going to continue to do." -- Coach Randy Edsall to the Hartford Courant.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LOOKING GOOD: After beginning the week as the third-string quarterback, Zach Frazer got into the game after Mike Box suffered a concussion in the third quarter. He completed six of eight passes for 52 yards.
STILL NEEDS WORK: Pretty much everything, but the special teams in particular. Dave Teggart missed a 29-yard field goal, Taylor Mack fumbled a punt, and the return unit gave up one punt return for a touchdown and was bailed out when a second Louisville return for a score was negated by a penalty.
Thrust into the starting lineup, Mike Box looked like a freshman, going 4 of 12 with an interception, though the pick bounced off wide receiver Kashif Moore's hands. The defense wasn't very good, either, missing tackles and allowing the Cardinals to control the ball for nearly 38 minutes.
--QB Michael Box left the game in the third quarter with symptoms of a concussion. Zach Frazer took over, and Frazer will play next week if Box is not cleared for the game.
--CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson played with his thumb and wrist in a brace following his hand surgery last week.
--FB Anthony Sherman played sparingly against Louisville, partially because of a leg injury and partially because of the game plan that featured more two tight-end sets.