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    UConn Football
    Monday, January 30, 2023

    UConn sinks to new lows in 30-0 loss to Boston College

    Boston College defensive back Taj-Amir Torres (24) celebrates his interception with teammate linebacker Matt Milano (28) during the second half of the Eagles' 30-0 victory over UConn on Saturday at Chestnut Hill, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    Chestnut Hill, Mass. — If UConn hasn't hit rock bottom, at the very least it is in the neighborhood after Saturday's dreadful performance.

    It's hard to imagine football life can get much worse for the Huskies.

    In a 30-0 loss to Boston College at Alumni Stadium, UConn set program lows for total yards (121) and rushing yards (minus 6) in its FBS history. The Huskies have allowed 85 straight points since last scoring a point and have been outscored 113-6 since their last touchdown on Oct. 22 against Central Florida.

    Those are mind-boggling statistics.

    "It's a disappointing loss," coach Bob Diaco said. "Hard to win. When you don't have any production on one side of the ball, it becomes impossible. It will be fixed. I know what the issues are and they're going to be fixed."

    The Huskies (3-8) stretched their season-high losing streak to five. They suffered consecutive shutouts for the first time since 1977.

    After playing competitive football for the first eight games, with the exception of a 42-14 loss at Houston, they've basically been a doormat.

    In the last three games, they've been outscored 92-3.

    "It's unacceptable," senior receiver Noel Thomas said. "We need to score points. We did do it against other teams before. The fact that we're not doing it now is something that we need to get corrected."

    Yet Diaco continues to find bright spots, pointing to his talent level of players, strong culture and effort.

    "When you think about how abysmal it's been, and that the games have been competitive, almost all of them," Diaco said. "Considering we have the worst offense in America, imagine that. That's an indication of culture and indication of the players.

    "We've done a terrible, terrible job coaching those players on offense. And that's why we're all unhappy."

    UConn's game plan was to minimize BC's strong defensive front by speeding up the game and attacking vertically down the field.

    They did none of the above. Out of 46 plays Saturday, only 20 went for positive gains, according to Diaco. They also committed four turnovers, with true freshman quarterback Donovan Williams (13-for-30, 127 yards) throwing three interceptions in his second start.

    There was one shining moment. Thomas set the program single-season record for receptions by making his 89th catch early in the third quarter. The play gained zero yards.

    "It would be easier to talk about this if we won," said Thomas, who had to temporarily leave the game after taking a big hit. "But definitely I'm proud that I did that."

    Forced to play long stretches because of an ineffective offense, UConn's defense eventually cracked and allowed 337 yards. BC held a 40:06 to 19:54 edge in time of possession.

    The Eagles (5-6), who inched closer to becoming bowl eligible, lined up for a field goal attempt early in the second quarter but changed their mind after UConn asked for a review on a pass catch. When play resumed, quarterback Patrick Towles converted a fourth and three by scrambling for 16 yards. Three plays later, Davon Jones scored on a one-yard run for a 7-0 lead.

    Then things started to gradually get out of hand.

    Before halftime, UConn mounted its lone deep drive as Donovan connected with Arkeel Newsome for 16 yards and Brian Lemelle for 43 yards on consecutive plays to make it first and 10 from the BC 11-yard line.

    It all fell apart from there with help from a strange call from Diaco. Lining up for a field goal on fourth down and 18 from the 19-yard line, the Huskies tried a trick play. But holder Tyler Davis threw an incomplete game.

    It was a wasted drive for an offense desperate for points.

    Diaco defended the decision.

    "They had a touchdown," Diaco said. "We've got to score touchdowns or we're not going to win. How many touchdowns did we score after that? What did you want the game to end 7-3?"

    Boston College added Mike Knoll's 35-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead at half. The Eagles kept the pressure on in the second half. Towles threw a 10-yard touchdown pass, Knoll kicked a pair of field goals (24, 39) and Matt Milano returned an interception 19 yards for a touchdown.

    Diaco and his staff will continue to search for solutions this week leading up to the season finale at home against Tulane.

    "There's some deep, deep, deep inspection and addressing that's going to need to happen here very shortly," Diaco said. "Everyone is trying very, very hard. And you're all disappointed with the results. Let me tell you, you're not even remotely close to the disappointment that the young men feel, the coaches feel, the essential staff. We're all on the same page."

    g.keefe@theday.com

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