AMHERST, N.Y. – This is getting ugly. The season is spinning away from the University of Connecticut football team after a 41-12 loss to the University of Buffalo. UConn (0-4) is off to its worst start since they upgraded the program in 2002.
The Bulls scored a season-high 41 points and a forced five UConn turnovers. They blocked a field goal and scored 17 points off Connecticut turnovers. “It’s a program builder,” Buffalo head coach Jeff Quinn said. “In all three phases it was a complete performance. I was really impressed with our front seven defensively to put pressure on their quarterback. Our kids fed off it.”
Buffalo’s defense held Connecticut to 220 total yards and set the tone early when, on the third play of the game, Adam Redden stripped UConn quarterback Chandler Whitmer of the ball and recovered it himself at the Huskies’ 8-yard line. Five plays later, Bulls QB Joe Licata found Mason Schrenk in the end zone for a 5-yard TD pass and a 7-0 lead.
After UConn answered with a field goal to cut the lead to 7-3, the defense struck again as Naija Johnson intercepted a Whitmer pass and raced 33 yards to the end zone for his first career touchdown and the Bulls led 14-3 after the first quarter.
Licata hooked up with Alex Neutz on a 54-yard pass to set up a third Buffalo touchdown. Branden Oliver’s 5-yard run gave Buffalo a 21-6 lead. Licata threw a career-high three TD passes to three different receivers.
Buffalo’s defense completely dominated UConn in the second half, holding the Huskies to just 27 yards of total offense and two first downs. Buffalo snapped a eight-game losing streak to UConn, winning for the first time since 2001.
Receiver Geremy Davis was one of the few bright spots for the Huskies. He had five catches for 102 yards.
The UConn running game continued to flounder. Ranked 121st in the nation entering the game, they finished with just 27 yards on 39 attempts. Whitmer was sacked five times for a loss of 46 yards.
The Huskies will have two weeks to stew over this defeat before opening their first American Athletic Conference season by hosting South Florida on Saturday, Oct. 12 at Rentschler Field.
Information from UConn and Buffalo sports information used to help compile this report.
Buffalo 41, Connecticut 12
At Amherst, N.Y.
UConn (0-4) 3 9 0 0 — 12
Buffalo (2-2) 14 14 6 7 — 41
B: Mason Schreck 5 pass from Joe Licata (Patrick Clarke kick), 12:18
C: Chad Christen 33 FG, 6:20
B: Naija Johnson 33 interception return (Clarke kick), 2:16
C: Christen 37 FG, 13:10
B: Branden Oliver 5 run (Clarke kick), 11:17
B: Alex Neutz 22 pass from Licata (Clarke kick), 6:28
C: Lyle McCombs 2 run (pass fails), 3:54
B: Clarke 49 FG, 5:21
B: Clarke 50 FG, 2:36
B: Fred Lee 36 pass from Licata (Clarke kick), 10:29