against teams UConn had beaten last season.
“We were fitting things right, doing our jobs and then things went downhill from there and we never really stopped it,” UConn redshirt freshman defensive lineman Caleb Thomas said. “Preparation starts before you hit the field, so we have to prepare for it like our lives depend on it.”
How bad was it during the 2018 season? The 516 yards by Temple is the second fewest allowed by the nation’s worst defense this season, and who knows how many yards UMass might have put up under more friendly weather conditions.
In a season when UConn failed to win a conference game for the first time since 1954, the Huskies set national records in futility by giving up 605 points, 7,409 yards of total offense and 4,020 rushing yards.
“I ain’t putting up with that anymore, there is too much pride in this program,” Edsall said. “Those guys who have been here before, they are going to be mentors to these guys and understand what the pride was because that has been lost.”
Sixteen of the 18 players with at least 12 tackles are slated to return so perhaps better days await on the defensive side of the ball. Still, the experiences from one defensive disaster after another won’t soon disappear from the memory banks of the returning players.
“You definitely have to take it with you,” Thomas said. “You have to move forward, but you have to keep this in the back of your mind. You don’t want to feel this again, you want to keep keep moving forward and improve.”
Former Kingswood Oxford star Isaiah Wright got the scoring started with an 18- yard scoring run and he added a 99- yard kickoff return for a score. Todd Centeio ran three yards for one score and connected with Chris Myarick for a 5- yard scoring pass. Will Mobley had field goals of 18, 18 and 27 yards, Christian Braswell returned an interception eight yards for a score while Jager Gardner and Travon Williams added scoring runs of 26 and 10 yards. Former Wilbur Cross star Jaelin Robinson started at left tackle and was one of the Owls’ four game captains.
Temple’s defense had 11 tackles for loss, seven coming in the first half to make David Pindell’s final game at UConn a nightmare.
Pindell was 12 of 23 passing for 89 yards with the one touchdown and three interceptions before giving way to true freshman Steve Krajewski. Pindell also ran for 24 yards as he joined Dan Orlovsky as the only UConn players with more than 3,000 yards of total offense in a season and his 1,139 rushing yards is the record for a UConn quarterback.
Kevin Mensah ran for 94 yards to finish his sophomore season with 1,045 yards giving the Huskies a pair of 1,000- yard rushers for the first time since 2009.
“I wanted to win, 1,000 yards is great but a team win is better,” Mensah said.
Luke Magliozzi averaged 44.8 yards on six punts to finish the season with a UConn record 42.9 yards per punt while Oneil Robinson had an interception and tied for team high with eight tackles. He finished with 64 tackles, the most by a UConn true freshman.
Before the game UConn honored its seniors. Twelve players who got into the game were among the honorees including Pindell as well as fellow starters in receiver Hergy Mayala, tight end Aaron McLean, center Ryan Crozier and linebacker Santana Sterling.
Edsall said he has a 6 a. m. flight on Sunday for a recruiting trip as he looks to add the type of players he feels like he needs to have to turn the program around. For the returning players, the next few months will be crucial as they attempt to get bigger, stronger and faster.
Mensah didn’t mince words when discussing what needs to happen to make sure the 2019 season is not a repeat of what transpired this year.
“If you don’t want to be with us, leave,” Mensah said. “The guys who are going to be with us, they are going to stick with us and we are going to work hard. It is going to be tough, it is not going to be like this year. The workload is going to be tough, lifting is going to be tough. We are going to be on top of everybody and if you are not listening to what Coach Edsall [ is saying], if you are not following what he wants you to do, there are going to be consequences.”
Temple 57, UConn 7
Temple . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 27 7 10 — 57 UConn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 0 0 0 — 7
Temple wide receiver Isaiah Wright ( 13) scores on a 99- yard kickoff return during the first half against UConn on Saturday.