JOE D’S NOTEBOOK
FRIDAY- Game one is in the books and as expected, UMass could not do a thing against the UConn defense. The 37-0 final could have look a lot worse except the Huskies offense struggled at times.
The defense played up to its pre season hype. The Huskies made like miserable for Mike Wegzyn, making his first appearance in a college game. UConn was aggressive, especially the linebacking corps of Sio Moore, Yawin Smallwood and Jory Johnson. Smallwood in particular made his presence felt from the start.
UConn put UMass is 2nd and long all night long. The Minutemen ran 16 first down plays for a total of….0 yards. Thats right…zero…Hard to win like that.
But, the UConn offense didn’t play as well as they would have liked to. It was a struggle to gain yards on the ground as it was apparant that UMass came in with the intent to stop Lyle McCombs and friends. Chandler Whitmer was okay at quarterback, one interception was a bad throw, the other was a spectacular play by UMass Darren Thellen to tip a ball that was headed out of bounds to linebacker Tom Brandt, a spectacular athletic move.
Two Huskies who did stand out offensively were Nick Williams, who had 140 total yards, including two electrifying punt returns, and Geremy Davis, who caught six passes all of last season and caught five against UMass. Wide receivers coach Matt Cersosimo sang the praises of Davis to me earlier in the week and ‘Sos was right on the money.
And Chad Christen was 2-2 on field goals as he replaces Dave Teggart.
All in all, a good opener for the Huskies, a win but plenty of room to improve. And they must play better next Saturday when North Carolina State comes to the Rent.