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Underwhelming debut

By Mike DiMauro

Publication: The Day

Published October 13. 2013 4:00AM

Mistakes cost UConn in loss to S. Florida as the Weist Era begins

East Hartford - This was not the plan. Not with the hope and wonder of a coaching change and a quarterback change during a bye week. Not with an opponent that hadn't scored an offensive touchdown since what felt like Labor Day.

Nah. This would be UConn's day, saved by freshman quarterback Tim Boyle and interim coach T.J. Weist.

Instead, the Huskies were left to lament lost opportunity, losing their inaugural game in the American Athletic Conference. South Florida, again held without an offensive touchdown, used a late field goal to edge UConn, 13-10, before 37,861 at Rentschler Field.

Boyle, the freshman from Xavier, finished 15-for-43 for 149 yards. He was sacked three times, victimized by several drops from his receivers and was also fortunate that South Florida's defenders failed to capitalize on a few interception opportunities.

"I thought Tim showed maturity and poise. He handled the pressure and made some decisions on some of the different looks they gave us that were pretty good for a true freshman," Weist said. "We'll keep moving forward with him, we'll get him better."

UConn punter Cole Wagner pinned South Florida inside its 20 six different times during the game.

But the Huskies (0-5, 0-1) never capitalized on the opportunities.

That was the game's theme. Tight end Spencer Parker and receiver Deshon Foxx dropped touchdown passes in the first half before the Chad Christen's 47-yard field goal attempt in the third period was blocked.

The Huskies trailed by three with 1:46 remaining and had the ball at their own 5-yard line. Boyle and the Huskies moved to midfield, following Boyle's completion to Dhameer Bradley with 16 seconds left. That's where Boyle said some "miscommunication" between him and Weist cost the Huskies precious time.

By the time the Huskies called their last timeout, seven seconds remained.

Boyle's Hail Mary attempt fell incomplete.

"I thought the clock was stopping at 16. It kept running," Weist said. "I didn't make a play call. I was deciding what play to call or call timeout and the clock started again. I made a mistake in clock management. I can't make that mistake in a game. It cost us the game. I've got to learn from that mistake. It could have given us a chance to at least tie the game. All on me."

Boyle said, "I thought coach Weist would call a timeout. I don't think we were on the same page. A little bit of miscommunication."

South Florida kicker Marvin Kloss made a 44-yard field goal with 7:27 remaining to give the Bulls (2-4, 2-0) a 13-10 lead. USF which beat Cincinnati last week without an offensive touchdown, managed but 228 yards of total offense the whole game.

"Who would have thought that after 0-4 we'd have turned it around?" South Florida coach Willie Taggart said. "I said from Day One that we would lean on our defense and we're doing it."

South Florida's defense scored the Bulls' lone touchdown again. Boyle was sacked and fumbled in the second period, leading to Aaron Lynch's 44-yard fumble return for a score.

Lyle McCombs, who had a season-high 164 yards rushing, ran 52 yards for a score in the second period to give UConn a brief 10-7 lead.

"I just told the team it comes down to the head coach," Weist said. "This loss is on me. It's my responsibility to do whatever it takes to win and we didn't. They gave us every opportunity on offense with field position."

m.dimauro@theday.com

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