Sept. 29, 2012
By Scott Waggoner
A week after the University of Connecticut surrendered six sacks in a loss against Western Michigan, there was some concern with its offensive line heading into Saturday’s matchup against the University at Buffalo.
The Huskies faced a tough test against a Bulls team that led the Mid-American Conference with 14 sacks in just three games.
They passed the test.
Connecticut gave up just three sacks leading to a big day for redshirt sophomore quarterback Chandler Whitmer in Connecticut’s 24-17 victory over Buffalo Saturday afternoon at Rentschler Field.
“The protection was very much improved today,” University of Connecticut head football coach Paul Pasqualoni said. “The offensive line communicated great today and that’s something that goes unnoticed some times.”
Given time to throw, Whitmer was a completely different quarterback. The sophomore had one of his best games ever in his early Husky career going 15-22 for 227 yards and one touchdown. Trailing 7-3 early in the second quarter, Whitmer found senior tight end Ryan Griffin for a 36-yard touchdown and the Huskies never looked back.
“They’re doing a good job and I felt comfortable out there today,” Whitmer said of his offensive line. “They work hard and are improving each week.”
Connecticut’s rushing game also benefited from the admirable effort of their offensive line. Redshirt junior Martin Hyppolite, who had just four previous career rushes entering the game, broke a 50-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to extend UConn’s lead to 17-7.
“The hole opened up and he took off and did a great job of finishing the run,” sophomore running back Lyle McCombs said about Hyppolite. “I always knew he could do it, it’s just a matter of him getting a chance.”
McCombs nearly eclipsed 100 yards for the second straight game, finishing with 97 yards on 29 carries and one touchdown.
With sharp quarterback play and a formidable rushing attack, the Huskies offense looked as balanced as it has all year. They had little trouble moving the ball, and were able to chew up the clock in critical situations.
“Chandler did an excellent job of taking time off the clock,” Pasqualoni said. “He kept them in the huddle and let the play clock wind down, which was smart.”
The Huskies could not of picked a better time to get their offense going as they open BIG EAST play next Saturday afternoon when they travel to take on No. 23 Rutgers. It will be Connecticut’s first game against a ranked opponent this year.
“There’s obviously some work to do but we’re making some progress,” Pasqualoni said of his team moving forward.