Well, that couldn't have gone any worse. The Huskies are now 0-1 after getting blown out by Division I-AA Towson, 33-18. In the days leading up the regular-season opener, the talk was about being focused, making the most of opportunities, and ultimately, improving on the back-to-back 5-7 seasons. Instead, it wasn't just more of the same -- it was worse.
"They're a very good I-AA team," coach Paul Pasqualoni said afterward via the Hartford Courant. "[The Towson coach] clearly stated that this would be the toughest opener at least since I've been here. It proved to be that. We had a tough, physical camp. We were really looking forward to playing. That kind of makes it really disappointing."
Leading up to the game, Pasqualoni acknowledged that Towson's running game -- particularly Terrance West -- was a concern. By the time it was over, West ran for 156 yards and two touchdowns and the Huskies were pretty much helpless to do anything about it.
"We knew coming in that they were going to have a very formidable run game," Pasqualoni said. "Terrance West is an excellent back. I think their offensive line was experienced. It's disappointing. One of the strengths of our team over the past couple seasons has been our run defense, and West by himself had 156 yards, so that was very disappointing. We didn't play well there and I don't know of an area that we did play well in."
"I'm sure in the eyes of some, this will be considered very, very big," Towson coach Rob Ambrose said. "But we've played good competition before. We've played well but couldn't get a win. In the history of this, I suppose one day people will one day look back at this as very large thing. But the family in this locker room, we have goals. And for us to reach our goals we had to win."
For the Huskies, it was their first loss to a Division I-AA school since 2001
Offensively, quarterback Chandler Whitmer finished 16 of 28 with 2 TDs and 1 INT. Wideout Geremy Davis caught five passes for 100 yards and Shakim Phillips added 77 yards on five receptions. Junior running back Lyle McCombs, who struggled much of last season, gained 80 yards on 17 carries.
The Huskies led 7-0 in the first quarter but trailed 13-10 at the half and were outscored 20-8 in the final 30 minutes.
"I think the kids are pretty resilient," Pasqualoni said of the mood of his team. "I think they know it is one game and we didn't play well as a team in any area. I think their attitude is good. I think there is some leadership in the locker room and from that regard I think we'll be fine. We'll come back with the focus and will to get better."
The question, however, is how much better.