UConn mistakes add up

The same old problems plagued UConn in its disappointing 24-20 loss to Iowa State.

  • Lack of offensive consistency.

  • Too many plays given up on defense.

In fact, a similar fourth-quarter storyline played out last week in a loss to Vanderbilt. Both times, the Huskies had the lead in the final quarter. And both times, they could not hang on, in part because of defensive breakdowns. There is no question the defense has been spectacular at times this season. What is so maddening is the big plays it has given up in both games. After UConn took a 20-17 lead with 12:51 to go against Iowa State, the Cyclones marched right down the field on an eight-play, 65-yard drive to take the lead back for good. They converted two third downs on the drive.

"From an execution standpoint we have to improve offensively," coach Paul Pasqualoni said. "We were able to get the lead … and then we kind of let them off the hook and let them score when we had been playing really well defensively. ... So, very disappointing. Very disappointing loss."

Still, most of the blame for the 1-2 start lies with the offense. There are only so many times the defense can bail out an offense that has been so inconsistent. The UConn defense got three interceptions in the early going, but the Huskies converted those into only three points, failing to break the game open. Scott McCummings and Michael Nebrich each missed wide-open receivers who would have scored sure touchdowns. Johnny McEntee looked just as off as he did last week. The running game was inconsistent last night, too. D.J. Shoemate made his season debut but had a critical fumble that led to an Iowa State field goal.

After starting the game gaining all those turnovers, UConn ended up giving the ball away three times, too. Adding insult on top of all that, normally surefire kicker Dave Teggart missed two field goals -- from 41 and 43 yards -- but he made two attempts from 50 and 52.

UConn clearly needs to make a decision at quarterback and tighten up on defense. Or this could be a long season.