The high point of the season was that 36-7 lead over North Carolina in the first half, a game fizzling into a three-point squeaker with UNC moving the ball at will in the second half. The 45-35 win over Pitt was decent, but not a real feel good memory.
Yes, it’s a young team, and the reminders become more frequent with each loss.
There was never a game after which one could say that UofL had decisively put another team away. One should feel great after getting off to a 9-0 start, but one was still uncomfortable. There was always the reality of so many glaring defiencies.
Great quarterbacking with Terry Bridgewater, for sure, but just so many flaws and weaknesses on defense. Now we know why Charlie Strong kept recruiting so many linebackers during the off season over running backs.
“The goal is to finish out the season the right way,” said Charlie Strong. “You are here and you have a group of seniors and you want to go out and finish the season right for them. We have to play better. We didn’t play very well today. When you look at us on offense, we were not able to protect the quarterback. We were unable to run the ball early in the game…”
The coach is pretty good at telling us what happened, not so good about why things do or don’t happen.
If there was a contradiction in Saturday’s game, it was that the defense held UConn to only 10 points during regulation. Believe it or not, UConn managed only 149 yards rushing and 92 through the air.
Bridgewater wasn’t the quarterback fans are used to seeing, and neither were his receivers. So many passes hitting the groud in front of receivers, so many overthrown to potential receivers, and so many dropping off the finger tips of receivers.
Was it the 35-degree temperatures for the Florida receivers? One wondered early on whether Bridgewater was even at full strength.
Not the kind of offensive confidence that has been so prevalent during the season. He was constantly under pressure in the first half, taking a pounding, injuring his left wrist, getting crushed time after time in the second. But he kept returning to the field, getting his team back into a position to win, only to throw the interception at the end.
Will Stein had the opportunity for a storybook finish on senior day but his shortcomings were too much for him to overcome. Stein’s lack of progress over four seasons a reminder of how little this team has improved after 11 games.