That was the reaction Saturday afternoon just after three o’clock after UConn had avoided a colossal collapse and beat Tulsa 20-14 at The Rent.
After playing brilliantly for the first 52 minutes, the Huskies defense came unglued. Tulsa went 75 yards in 5 plays and 77 yards in 10 plays to close a 20 point deficit to 6. Then after the UConn offense went 3 and out for the second time in the game, the Golden Hurricane went from their own 12 to the UConn 9 in 50 seconds. With one second left, they got off the snap (according to the officials) and Luke Skipper threw for Keenan Johnson in the end zone. But Junior Joseph batted the ball away to preserve the Huskies second straight win.
Don’t let the ending obscure what was a terrific performance by the Connecticut defense. They had a season high 6 sacks, 11 tackles for loss and held Tulsa to just 4.4 yards per rush. Several individuals like Foley Fatukasi and Jamar Summers had their best games of the season. Yes, Tulsa made too many chunk plays but in this day and age of college football, that is to be expected. Plus punter Brett Graham had two 50+ yard punts and had three kicks downed inside the 20 to keep Tulsa starting in poor field position.
The UConn offense did just enough to win. The flea flicker that resulted in Bryant Shirreffs 80 yard td pass to Hergy Mayala was a thing of beauty in the flawless execution. But the Huskies couldn’t run the ball, didn’t convert enough in the red zone and struggled at the end with those last two possessions going three and out. We will find out Tuesday the severity of Arkeel Newsome’s injury that knocked him out of the game late in the first quarter.
All in all, a good solid win and now UConn can get to 500 with a win at home Saturday against Missouri. More about that game later in the week.