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Georgia State Re-Watch: Notes from the beatdown
A little extra insight on the Huskies' last performance.
Here at the Husky Football Forum, we are working hard to find the best Film Technology to serve our analysis needs. For now, we’re relying on YouTube and YouTube TV.
This week, our favorite YouTube channel Matthew Loves Ball didn’t have the goods, and ESPN+ was not accessible through my YouTube TV recorder. So instead of the detailed film review we were hoping to have, we’re re-watching the highlights posted by Georgia State and revisiting some key facts from the game.
Darren Grainger’s 65-yard TD run was set up by a 3rd & 9 play that Grainger converted through the air. He calmly found his receiver Ja’Cais Cradle cutting underneath the soft deep coverage as UConn sent five on the rush.
On the ensuing first down, GSU spread five receivers out way wide. Pre-snap, it stretched UConn so that it almost looked like a punt defense. Linebackers Jackson Mitchell and Noah Plack are leaving the middle wide open and seem to get caught flat-footed on this play.
I’m not smart enough to determine what exactly went wrong but it seems to be on the linebackers, who were unable to handle their A-gap responsibility as Grainger ran right up the middle untouched with just four defenders for the offensive line to worry about.
In the screencap below, you can see Plack had to dramatically change direction after his first step, which possibly led to a bad angle. For Mitchell, it looks like he was expecting a passing play and then not ready to pursue a ball carrier up the middle and then just lost the foot race.
On the ensuing UConn drive, Fagnano converted a nice third down with a strike to Justin Joly. After that, on 2nd & 12, Fagnano needed to hang in the pocket or hit the RB in the flat once the pressure came. This is where we start to see the signs that Fagnano left some open guys hanging or missed some windows.
For context, UConn’s fumble came on this drive on a 4th & 15 play that ended just behind the sticks anyway. It was a 14-yard catch-and-run from RB Jalen Mitchell, the transfer from Louisville.
After the UConn defense forces a three-and-out, GSU’s punter is standing near his own 5-yard line when he booted the punt that bounced off of Brett Buckman and gave the ball right back to the hosts. At this point, the game is 7-0 and still a contest. But the Panthers capitalized on this second chance and the Huskies lost an opportunity to take possession with a short field.
Buckman had a decent amount of space and could have had a good return, but didn’t catch the ball. He’s standing around the UConn 40 when the ball hits him. This mistake flipped the field.
Mora responded with a few big blitzes when UConn’s defense had to re-take the field after forcing a three-and-out, including one on a Georgia State first-down play and another that led to a touchdown.
GSU’s 2nd touchdown came on 3rd & Goal from around the nine-yard line. Out of a four-receiver, one-back formation with trips on the left side, Grainger went back shoulder to the right on UConn corner Malcolm Bell.
Georgia State’s offensive execution was really good. At the end of the first half, Grainger hits his running back in the flat in stride on a quick pass that goes for a first down. They ran a lot of the option successfully and did a great job of mixing it up.
The Panthers did convert a 3rd & 17 on an option keeper with the help of a pretty blatant block from the back by No. 84, as you’ll see below. Still, a QB shouldn’t be getting 17 yards on 3rd and very long in your territory. Grainger also converted a 3rd & 9 with an option keeper. This drive ended with a rushing touchdown that made it 21-0.
Oh, the missed tackles. You can see them really start to pile up as GSU drives 92 yards to put this game away for good with another touchdown in the third quarter.
The UConn offense is still not doing much with Ta’Quan Roberson in the third quarter.
This is the end of this article because the 4th quarter was basically an exhibition. The Huskies gained 194 of their 326 yards (59%) after the score was already 28-0.
To be fair, it is better to score those two touchdowns against second-stringers playing prevent defense than to not score at all. So there’s that.
Through three quarters, UConn only had one drive that gained over 19 yards, a 46-yard march that ended with a field-goal miss. Their drives in response to three consecutive GSU touchdowns went for -6, 16, and 18 yards, plus one end-of-half.
Offensive coordinator Nick Charlton is on watch. His group needs to do something against FIU or we have questions.
The Huskies averaged 3.3 yards per play in the first quarter and 1.7 yards per play in the second. Woof.
If you’re looking for a source of optimism, UConn managed 4.9 yards per play under Roberson in the third quarter, a notable improvement.
From a playcalling perspective, UConn favored the run in the first three quarters. The final stats will show 39 pass attempts and 31 runs. But 25 of those attempts came in the final quarter as the Huskies were letting it fly against a second-string defense.