KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) The season is still young and Connecticut coach Paul Pasqualoni still likes his team’s outlook for the rest of the schedule.
But falling behind early and giving up too many sacks were clearly on Pasqualoni’s mind after a 30-24 loss to Western Michigan on Saturday.
Alex Carder threw for 237 yards and a touchdown as the Broncos (2-2), from the Mid-American Conference, beat the Huskies of the Big East for the second straight year.
Chandler Whitmer was 28 of 44 for 333 yards passing and three touchdowns for Connecticut (2-2). Lyle McCombs added 119 yards rushing and Geremy Davis caught nine passes for 123 yards for the Huskies.
But UConn had to overcome deficits of 17-0 and 24-7, plus six sacks that included a fumble recovery return for a Western Michigan touchdown.
“We dug ourselves a hole,” Pasqualoni said. “I was proud the way the kids hung in there and fought back. We had the chance at the end.”
“There’s eight games left. We still have a chance to be a good team. We can still accomplish some things and get back on
Carder completed 18 of 34 passes before leaving the game late in the third quarter after hitting his throwing hand on a helmet. Josh Schaffer caught six of Carder’s passes for 104 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown early in the third quarter that put Western Michigan ahead 24-7.
“That’s a great win; that’s a team in the top five in a lot of categories defensively,” said Western Michigan coach Bill Cubit.
“They were 2-1 coming in and lost to N.C. State 10-7. They’re hard-hitting, big and physical but our kids stayed toe-to-toe with them.”
Connecticut pulled within 24-17 on a 2-yard pass from Whitmer to John Delahunt and a 32-yard field goal from Chad Cristin midway through the fourth quarter. But on the Huskies’ next drive, Whitmer was sacked and fumbled, and linebacker Desmond Bozeman returned it 53 yards for a touchdown.
“That’s one of the most devastating plays in football,” Pasqualoni said.
Whitmer added a 7-yard TD pass to Davis with 54 seconds to play, but the Broncos recovered the onside kick.
UConn had a 425-330 lead in total yards and more than six minutes advantage in possession time.
“I like the time of possession and I thought we did a better job of running the ball,” Pasqualoni said. “I’m clearly not happy with the sacks. The one at the end was a costly sack.”
The Broncos built their 17-0 lead on touchdown runs of 1 yard by Antoin Scriven and 9 yards by Dareyon Chance and a 44-yard field goal by Andrew Haldeman. Chance led Western Michigan with 66 yards rushing.
The Huskies didn’t get on the scoreboard until 2:36 was left in the first half on Whitmer’s 9-yard pass to Ryan Griffin.
This marked the first appearance at Western Michigan for a Big East team.
The start of the game was delayed by a half-hour because of lightning storms in the area.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)