The Bulldogs fell to the Huskies 21-15 on Saturday in a sloppy contest in East Hartford. Yale now sits at 2-3 (1-1 Ivy) heading into the second half of the season. Going 5-0 through the stretch of upcoming contests could be the only way to secure a share of the title this season.
Turnovers crippled our chances of knocking off an FBS opponent. O’Connor threw three interceptions in the first half and finished with 11 completions on 23 passes for just 59 yards. Passes from O’Connor were often underthrown, thrown late, or tossed into solid coverage. Grooms didn’t fare much better in the passing game playing the entire second half with 8 completions on 31 attempts for 132 yards and a touchdown. Pass protection was not phenomenal with two new starters in the mix along the offensive line but our quarterbacks displayed poor pocket awareness and were not stepping into the pocket to deliver strikes. Run blocking was a struggle in the first half and then playing down 21 points in the 3rd quarter limited our ability to ever solidify the rushing attack. Grooms was the top rusher for the Bulldogs with 67 net yards on 13 carries, many of which were scrambles on passing plays. Dudek and Alston combined for just 33 net yards on 10 carries. Receivers struggled creating separation from the UCONN secondary and were given limited opportunities for success given the poor passes. Our tight ends who have played well all season were stripped of two crucial completions, one resulting in an interception.
The Huskies were able to capitalize on mistakes in our secondary to score on big plays. A mix of mental errors and defenders running into each other left UCONN receivers wide open on two touchdowns. Our linebackers missed several tackles and our defensive line did not create the same consistent pass rush that we’ve seen from them in prior weeks. Owens’ return to the lineup in the second half proved to be vital as the Bulldogs limited the Huskies to just 7 points in the second half. Despite the defensive mistakes, our defense still kept us alive in this contest and our offense was given a chance to win the game on the final drive. Based on this film, we can now expect opponents to lean heavily on pick plays and crossing patterns to create openings for their receivers.
Outside of a 24-yard punt return by UCONN and a botched point after attempt, our special teams played reasonably well. Yale blocked UCONN’s only field goal attempt while Bosman was 1 for 1 on field goals and had a nice afternoon punting the ball.