Turns out, the Huskies had their quarterback on the roster all along. When T.J. Weist took over for Paul Pasqualoni a month into the season, he benched Chandler Whitmer for true freshman Tim Boyle. Things couldn't have gone worse, and it wasn't solely on Boyle.
But UConn's winless season ended last week when redshirt freshman Casey Cochran replaced Boyle and toppled Temple, 28-21. And now, after outscoring Rutgers 28-17 last Saturday, UConn has won two straight to move to 2-9.
Cochran completed 25-of-33 passes for 311 yards and two touchdowns and looked very much like the type of quarterback the Huskies can build a program around. After the game, Weist reiterated what he had said about Cochran back when he named him the starter in mid-November.
"He makes good, sound decisions," Weist said on Saturday. "We take some chances with him as well. Shane (Day) did a good job calling plays today, put us in great position."
And it was the Huskies' final touchdown, a 3-yard Cochran-to-Brian Lemelle pass with just over three minutes to go, that really opened Weist's eyes.
"That last touchdown to Lemelle, I asked him why are you throwing the ball over there?" Weist said, via the New Haven Register. "We have Geremy (Davis) and Deshon (Foxx) over there and you have a freshman over here but he knew he was hot. He had pressure coming from that side, he made the throw and Lemelle made a great catch on it but that was him making the right decision in a critical situation. He put the ball in there and he just made a play."
It hasn't always been smooth sailing for Cochran; he struggled during training camp and there was a reason he found himself buried on the depth chart behind Whitmer and Boyle. But now he's making the most of his opportunity.
"It was just being resilient and working through that," Cochran said. "I give Coach Day a lot of credit for always pushing me, pushing me and pushing me no matter how hard it got and I thank him a lot for how hard he pushed me because it got to me where I am because it got me to where I am today. ...
"It was a frustrating time for me," Cochran said of being on the bench. "I have been working hard here for two years. I think at that moment I made a decision that at that time, whatever role I had, I needed to do it to the best of my ability. I was over there signaling plays to Tim at the time and I did that to the best of my ability. When things are getting tough, you have to embrace that role. You have to do your best. I was trying to be the best I could be at practice or taking reps after practice and it paid off.
"I love the school, I love the program and I love the guys in this program and I knew I had to contribute any way I could, whether it was working hard in the weight room, trying to get guys better, throwing after practice. It did get frustrating. I did want to play real bad but I give it to the support that I have because they really pushed me through that time because it was tough."
And now it appears Cochran will only get better from here.
“For sure, this is as comfortable that I have felt all season," he said. "It felt different. Coach has always said it that if you prepare as hard as you can earlier, it will help you out in the long run later on in the season. It really did today. Everything just clicked for us in many ways."