Everyone will remember the final drive from Saturday’s UConn vs. Navy football game as a blown opportunity. In a game that seemed like a sure-fire loss for UConn, on the road against a very good Navy team, UConn had a chance to win with seconds left on the clock. Down 4 points with 3 minutes to go, UConn went on an impressive 10 play, 79-yard drive and put themselves in a situation to win the game. The only problem? They needed 80 yards, not 79. When the clock turned to 0s, the scoreboard showed a 28-24 loss for UConn, but it was truly a game of inches (and clock mismanagement).
The late game clock mismanagement is on Bob Diaco and he has to improve if this program is going to take the next step in development, but you can read more about that elsewhere. As frustrating as it was to lose when the W was so close, I want to focus on the players and their incredible performance to even be in the game down the stretch. Down 21-0 in the 2nd quarter, this game could have easily been a 2+ touchdown loss like we have seen a lot of in past years, but the UConn Huskies showed heart and passion and roared back. Their 10 play, 80-yard drive late in the 2nd quarter that ended with a 34-yard TD throw to Noel Thomas began to swing momentum.
Early in the 3rd quarter RB Ron Johnson finished a 10 play, 60-yard drive with a punishing 3-yard run and in the blink of an eye, UConn was within 1 score. Just when it looked like Navy was going to score and maybe swing back the momentum on a big drive late in the 3rd quarter, there was a massive turn of events when DT Mikal Myers forced the ball loose from Navy RB Chris High and CB Jamar Summers scooped the ball and ran 86-yards for the game-tying TD. Everyone, Navy and UConn fans alike, were in shock after that play and couldn’t believe the game was tied going into the 4th quarter.
UConn took the lead on a Bobby Puyol 38-yard field goal, before Navy ultimately scored the game-winning TD with 3:08 to play. QB Bryant Shirreffs played well on Saturday, completing 23 of his 26 passes with a TD and rushing for 45 yards in 13 attempts (not including the 13-yard loss on a sack). The defensive struggled with the option run game in the first half, but locked-in during the 2nd half, allowing just 1 score to keep the game within reach at the end. Overall, a commendable performance and a huge improvement over week 1’s squeaker win over Maine.
Play of the Game
Diaco dialed up some trickery in the 3rd quarter when TE and former QB Tyler Davis had a massive 25-yard throw on his 1 attempt to fellow TE Alec Bloom on a 4th and 4. It kept the drive alive and led to the Huskies’ 2nd TD.
UConn (1-1) vs. Virginia (0-2) – 1:30pm on Saturday, Sept. 17th
Virginia has losses at home against Richmond (37-20) and at Oregon (44-26) so far in this early season.