UConn Athletic Communications
By Phil Chardis
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. - The excitement of facing an SEC opponent faded quickly after the UConn football team took a 2-0 lead on Missouri Saturday night at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field.
A snap over the head of Missouri punter Corey Fatony that went through the end zone produced the safety that put the Huskies on top just 1:20 into the game. Before the first quarter ended, however, the Tigers had answered by putting three touchdowns on the board and never looked back on their way to a 52-12 victory.
"We didn't do anything well enough to win tonight - offensively, defensively, special teams, coaching - put it all in there," UConn coach Randy Edsall said. "So, we move forward and look ahead. We're not going to dwell on this. We come back in tomorrow and go to work to get better."
The Huskies (3-5) came into the game riding a two-game winning streak, but suffered through a game filled with offensive mistakes as the growing process continues. Despite the lopsided score, Edsall thought the Huskies had their chances to remain competitive with Missouri (3-5).
"You've got to be able to make plays and we didn't make them," Edsall said. "We started fine, but then we had opportunities on the first and second drives and we don't take advantage of them. I knew coming in the game we were going to have to score points.
"Drops, missing open guys, in a position to tackle people you don't tackle, you don't challenge people and play with technique and fundamentals and have confidence in your own ability. I bet there was a dozen drops and missed tackles. A lot of it has to do with confidence."
Missouri quarterback Drew Lock went to work soon after the Huskies took the early lead. Lock threw touchdown passes to J'Mon Moore and two to Al Okwuegbunam in the first quarter and the Tigers were in control, 21-2.
For the game, Lock threw for 377 yards and 5 TDs, while senior running back Ish Witter led the rushers with 73 yards and a TD.
UConn managed a Mike Tarbutt field goal in the second quarter, but Mizzou again answered with a roar, another TD and a field goal to lead 31-5 at halftime. A 21-7 second half by the Tigers accounted for the final total. In all, Missouri had 583 yards in total offense.
"I go into every game expecting to win, that's my mentality," said UConn senior defensive lineman Luke Carrezola. "We didn't come out and execute. When it started to go downhill, I tried to step up and be a guy these young guys can depend on. It's frustrating, but we're going to continue to get better and it starts in practice."
"We left a lot of plays out there and we didn't execute the way we're supposed to execute," Mayala said. "Our focus was definitely not in the right place at some points and that's how we explain it. It's disappointing, but we have to forget it about it real quick and put our focus on South Florida."
The Huskies play their final game of the season at Rentschler Field on Saturday (3:30 p.m.), playing host to American Conference opponent USF.
"I won't even show the film to these guys," Edsall said. "This one's over with, you can't get it back. So we'll move on and try to get ready for South Florida. It's all we can do."