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Huskies Defense Is A Reason To Get Excited

The Husky defense was tough on Saturday vs. Boise State.
Sept. 15, 2014

By Chris Jones
UConn Athletic Communications

The scoreboard at Rentschler Field after Saturday's UConn football team against Boise State showed a 38-21 loss for the Huskies. This game though had a different feel to it than the previous two.

"Hopefully the people that were there saw our DNA and what we are going to be," said UConn head coach Bob Diaco. "Hopefully they can gain some pride in that, look to the future and tell a friend because it's a heck of a way to spend an afternoon."

The defense was a bright spot for the Huskies that couldn't be overlooked. Boise State scored 38 points but many of those points were not the fault of the defense.

"Fourteen uncontested points, where the defense or the special teams is not on the field, against any opponent we are going to play, it becomes impossible to win the games," said Diaco. "When you factor in another plus-field turnover, you're talking about 21 points."

The defense was stingy on Saturday against a prolific Boise State offense. The Broncos entered the game with 537.5 yards per game on offense and the Huskies limited them to 292 yards on Saturday.

"It shows the work that we have put in," said redshirt sophomore safety Obi Melifonwu. "Boise State is a great offensive team. I think there are a lot of positives that we can take away from the game."

One of those positives was the UConn defense shutting down one of Boise State's best weapons in running back Jay Ajayi. Ajayi came into the game averaging 152.5 yards rushing and 229.5 total yards a game. UConn held him to 39 yards rushing and 52 total yards, Ajayi's longest run was for only nine yards.

"The defense, playing basically the same system they played in week one, looked nothing like it looked in week one. So the defense is moving its game forward," said Diaco. "I'm proud of the way that they played today."

Another positive for the Huskies defense is being able to get off the field on third downs. Carrying over from last week against Stony Brook, the UConn defense has held the opposing offenses to seven conversions on 31 attempts on third down.

"It is great to be able to get off the field," said Melifonwu. "We would love to create more turnovers and help out field position but limiting them on third down is definitely a key."

Marquise Vann has been one of the weekly contributors on the UConn defense. On Saturday he recorded nine tackles which brought his season total to 29 through the first three games.

"Marquise is one of our leaders we expect a lot out of him, said Melifonwu. "We know game in and game out, he will be there when we need him."

Chalking up all the positives on the defensive side of the ball should make UConn fans feel good as they head into the conference portion of their schedule on Friday night at USF. So, tell your friends and neighbors, the Huskies are fun to watch.