The Broncos traveled to East Hartford, Connecticut to take on the UConn Huskies for the third game of the year. After some early struggles, the Broncos were able to pull out a 38-21 victory; powered by two receiving touchdowns by Matt Miller and two defensive touchdowns.
Offense – After a very slow start, the Broncos started to pick up their offensive play in the middle of the second quarter. After no offensive points and only 26 yards in the first quarter, the Broncos turned things around in the second quarter by generating two scoring drives. Jay Ajayi did not have much room to run, however, Grant Hedrick was able to connect with Matt Miller for a 35 yard touchdown pass. And with the very next offensive drive, the Broncos were able to put up 7 more points on a trick play pass from wide receiver Matt Miller to quarterback Grant Hedrick.
Overall, the Bronco offense struggled to get Jay Ajayi the ball in open spaces and the line did not provide Ajayi with much room to run. The offense looked somewhat slow, and I’m sure the field conditions did not help with this either. However, the offense lacked some of the firepower we saw last week.
Overall Grade: C
Defense – The Bronco defense started off with a bang with the quick scoop and score after a big hit from Armand Nance. The third down defense struggled in the first quarter allowing three first downs on the first three third down opportunities. After a UConn drive that put the Huskies up 10-7 early in the second quarter, the Bronco defense was able to take over for the second quarter and keep them at 10 points. The secondary struggled on the two UConn drives generating points, however, the run defense was outstanding. Along with this, the Bronco defense had 6 sacks in the first half. Late in the 4th quarter, Donte Deayon provided an interception returned for a touchdown.
The defensive as a whole played well enough to win. The secondary struggled, however, the defensive line was dominant in the win.
Overall Grade: B
Coaching– Coach Bryan Harsin dialed up a nice deep ball to wide receiver Matt Miller resulting in a touchdown, followed by a trick play call in the red zone for another touchdown. Harsin made sure to try and get the ball into Shane Williams-Rhodes hands whether through a screen or an end-around handoff. The pass defense somewhat struggled in the first half, however, the defensive line was able to force a large amount of pressure on the UConn quarterbacks, and really limit the rushing game by the Huskies.
With some struggles on the offense, the defense helped immensely with being able to get two touchdowns. One of the main things that stuck out was the amount of the trick plays, end-arounds, and motions.
Overall Grade: B-
Special Teams– No major good or bad moments in the first half. However, the punt towards the end of the third quarter that bounced off Boise State running back Jack Fields resulted in a turnover gave UConn great field position and led to a Huskies touchdown. This was a play that could’ve really changed all the momentum in the game. Thankfully, it did not drain the Broncos as a whole.
Dan Goodale had a 38 yard field goal and was also 5/5 on extra points. To compliment Goodale, punter Sean Wale averaged 42.7 yards per punt and pinned in the Huskies inside the 20 yard line twice.
Overall Grade: B+