Season recap: UConn


Record: 5-7, 3-4 Big East

First-year coach Paul Pasqualoni certainly had plenty to deal with in his return to the head coaching ranks. He had no starting quarterback to speak of, lost his top receiver to academics, and had largely unproven backs set to replace Jordan Todman. The defense was revamping its style under coordinator Don Brown and was missing some key players, particularly at linebacker. But despite all these problems, the Huskies found themselves in contention for the league title into the season's final weeks.

But there simply was not enough consistency out of this team. No consecutive wins on the season. Blown second-half leads against Vanderbilt, Western Michigan and Iowa State. A pass defense that fell apart once top cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson was lost for an extended period with a knee injury. Meanwhile, the two-headed quarterback duo of Johnny McEntee and Scott McCummings worked at times, but not enough. Once D.J. Shoemate was lost for the season with an ankle injury after a total of eight carries, Lyle McCombs stepped in and handled the load, going over 1,000 yards.

In the end, this team needed to win one Big East game on the road to get back to a bowl game and simply could not get the job done.

Offensive MVP: McCombs. Kudos to the freshman, who ended up with 1,151 yards rushing to lead not only his team but the Big East; he scored seven touchdowns, tops among UConn's ball carriers. The Huskies have had an individual player lead the Big East in rushing in three of the past four seasons.

Defensive MVP: Sio Moore, LB. I know Trevardo Williams had 12.5 sacks, but Moore was outstanding for most of the season. He had 86 total tackles and 16 tackles for loss to rank No. 2 in the Big East. He also was second on the team with 6.5 sacks, tied for the team lead with three interceptions, and had nine passes defensed, six pass breakups and two forced fumbles.

Turning point: A 34-20 loss to Louisville. Coming off a bye week, you expected the Huskies to be better prepared than they were in this game. They had dropped passes, missed tackles and blown chances. That ultimately hurt UConn, which had a chance to still be a part of the conference race with a victory. But a loss sent the Huskies to 2-3 in league play and 4-6 on the season, putting them in position to have to win out just to make a bowl game. They were unable to do that.

What's next: For the first time since 2005, the Huskies are going to be home during bowl season. Pasqualoni has to figure out a solution at quarterback, and how to get more consistency out of his players. They also lose some key players off the defense -- including Kendall Reyes, Twyon Martin.