In general, Homecoming opponents aren't supposed to put up much of a fight. It's mostly ceremonial -- a chance for the home team to flex its proverbial muscles and, for the day at least, impress the old-timers who have returned to enjoy a weekend back in college. Except that last Saturday, many of those aforementioned old-timers would've rather been back in the real world. The Huskies squandered a 14-0 first-quarter lead and eventually lost to Temple in overtime, 17-14.
All three phases were responsible -- the offense sputtered over the final three quarters, the defense gave up enough big plays to put the Owls in position to score, and the special teams were wholly unspectacular.
Kicker Chad Christen came into the season with the unenviable task of replacing Dave Teggart, the school record holder in just about every conceivable category. Against Temple, Christen left 12 points on the field, missing all four of his field goals, including a 29-yarder in overtime that would've given UConn the lead.
"This is very, very tough," Christen said afterwards according to the Hartford Courant's Jeff Jacobs. "I didn't do my job."
It's a tough spot for anybody, much less a sophomore in his first year on the job.
"Obviously, Chad had a tough day," coach Paul Pasqualoni said. "It's a lonely position."
Temple didn't score the game-tying touchdown until 19 seconds remained in the fourth. Two-and-a-half minutes before that, Christen had a chance to put the game away on a 45-yard attempt.
"I had so much confidence in Chad, my mindset was, no way he was missing this one," Pasqualoni said. "To tell you the truth, we'd probably do the same thing again."
The kick was partially blocked and Temple promptly marched down the field and scored. Two overtime series later, the Owls had won when their kicker managed something Christen couldn't: to put the ball through the uprights.
"Obviously, it's very frustrating when you miss back-to-back kicks and then you have one blocked," Christen said via Jacobs. "That takes away a lot of confidence. Still, I've just got to stay focused. This is the first time I've been tested. It's how you respond from here."
And it sounds like Pasqualoni isn't looking to make a change.
"I'm just going to encourage him," he said. "It's a tough deal. It's a tough position. It's a lonely position. He's a great kid. He'll be tough. He'll come back."