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JOE D’S NOTEBOOK 9/15/2013

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UCONN vs. Maryland at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, September 14, 2013. Photo taken by game attendee Chris Malash.

UCONN vs. Maryland at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, September 14, 2013. Photo taken by game attendee Chris Malash.

MARYLAND- THE RECAP- It was a successful return to Randy Edsall and company on Saturday night as Maryland ko’d UConn 32-21. A game that once again started out so promisingly for the Huskies, once again turned dismal by games end.

For the second straight game, UConn scored on it’s second possession of the night to take the lead.But for the second straight game, the defense couldn’t hold up,the offense struggled and on this night even the special teams had a rough evening. And it all adds up to 0-2 for the first time since 2002.

The Terrapins offense was as good as advertised and the only thing that stopped it was themselves. Three turnovers kept Maryland from putting more points on the board. For the third straight game, they picked up 500 yards of total offense, 399 of those yards courtesy of the legs and arm of CJ Brown, who was as good as advertised. He was afforded all day to throw, for the second straight game, Connecticut didn’t register a sack. Conversely, Chandler Whitmer was sacked five times. Maryland had 11 plays of 20 yards or more. They had four runs of 20 yards or more, meaning the UConn defense has given up seven running plays of 20 plus yards. It’s as many as they allowed all of last season All the good work they did early with stops on 3rd and short and 4th and short was washed away by games end.

Whitmer had career highs in completions, attempts and yards , and when given time, he made some terrific throws. The problem was the one errant throw, the game changing 49 yard pick six by Dexter McDougle. who had to be wheeled out of the Rent on a stretcher after injuring a shoulder later in the game. Shakim Phillips, Geremy Davis, Deshon Foxx and Sean McQuillan had strong games with Phillips having a tremendous night before injuring a hamstring on his 75 yard td reception.

But once again, the Huskies couldn’t run the ball worth a lick. And therein lies the problem offensively. If you can’t run, you can’t win. And UConn can’t run. 33 rushing attempts for 34 yards will never get it done. And when Kevin Friend went out with a high ankle sprain in the second quarter, they opened the door for Maryland to adjust their blitz packages and allowed them to put pressure on Whitmer. But the loss of one player shouldn’t have that adverse effect on the o-line.

There were other mistakes that all stood out. For the second time this season, the Huskies got delay of game penalty after a change of possession. They converted a 3rd and 1 in the third quarter with only ten men on the field. And that was proceeded by an ill advised decision to run a missed field goal attempt out of the back line of the end zone, resulting in poor field position.

Optimists will tell you it’s only two games. Pessimists will tell you it’s a disturbing trend. Whatever your viewpoint, the truth is with Michigan coming in for an 8 pm game next Saturday, there isn’t much time for the Huskies to right the ship.

On a personal note, it was great to see Coach Edsall and his family, former assistant coach Lyndon Johnson, former strength coach Drew Wilson, former trainer Brian Gallagher and former video maven Will Brown. All terrific people.

We will have our second Paul Pasqualoni show from the Wood-N-Tap on Hartford Turnpike in Vernon on Monday night at 6:30. We will be joined on the phone by former Husky Scott Lutrus. I hope you can join us either in person or on the radio.

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