UConn overmatched in loss to No. 20 Boise State
BOISE, Idaho — The UConn football team stepped foot on the blue turf at Albertsons Stadium making history by starting five true freshmen on defense for the first time while playing at the Football Bowl Subdivision level.
More history would follow as UConn surrendered a program-record 818 yards of total offense.
The Huskies looked every bit like a team starting all freshmen and sophomores as host Boise State ran all over the outmatched Huskies to post a 62-7 victory Saturday night.
The Broncos dominated up front on both sides of the ball, rolling up 247 yards of total offense in the first quarter and another 267 in the second quarter to take a 41-0 lead at halftime.
In the final three seasons of Edsall’s first stint at UConn, the Huskies gave up more than 500 yards just twice in 36 regular-season games. But missed tackles, poor angles and being dominated at the line of scrimmage allowed Boise to get there by halftime.
UConn had a pre-snap penalty on what would have been its first offensive play and had false starts before snapping the ball on four of its first five possessions. The miscues resulted in UConn facing an average of 15 yards to go on second down in the opening period.
After Omar Fortt knocked down a third-down pass in the end zone to force a 28-yard field goal by Boise’s Haden Hoggarth, the Broncos would score touchdowns on their next five drives.
John Hightower had a 67-yard touchdown reception from Brett Rypien, who delivered a perfect strike despite being hit by Ryan Fines on the play. Rypien connected with John Bates with a 24-yard TD pass and Alex Mattison capped the first-quarter scoring with a 1-yard scoring run.
Hightower zigzagged his way to a 55-yard TD run to open the scoring in the second quarter, Mattison added a 9-yard TD rush before Hoggarth ended the first half scoring outburst with a career best 44-yard field goal.
UConn (0-2) allowed UCF to convert nine out of 11 times on third down in the season opener and Boise was 4 for 5 in the first half, including conversions on third-and-10 and third-and-13 in the opening half.
It wasn’t only the defense struggling. Boise State made it a priority to limit the damage UConn quarterback David Pindell did with his legs after Pindell ran for 157 yards in UConn’s opener. With Pindell struggling to find running room and UConn’s offensive line having its hands full with Boise’s veteran defensive line, the Huskies couldn’t sustain any offensive drives making things even more challenging for the defense.
It took a 55-yard run by Kevin Mensah midway through the third quarter to put UConn over the 100-yard mark in total offense. Pindell capped the drive by throwing a 15-yard TD pass to Aaron McLean. Pindell faked like he was going to run on the play and then flipped the ball to a wide open McLean.
Andrew Van Buren countered with a 3-yard touchdown run for Boise State. Akilian added insult to injury by carrying three UConn players into the end zone on the end of a 24-yard scoring reception.
UConn has lost eight of its last nine road openers with the lone exception coming at the expense of current UConn coach Randy Edsall’s Maryland team in 2012.
Rypien threw for 362 yards for the Broncos. Tyler Coyle led UConn with 13 tackles while Kevon Jones had nine tackles including 1 1/2 tackles for loss. Luke Magliozzi averaged 48 yards on nine punts including four of more than 50 yards.