There were no thoughts about the game that got away the last time out when Tyler Davis came down with the successful two-point conversion pass just nine seconds into the fourth quarter.
Bryant Shirreffs followed up the 59-yard touchdown pass to freshman Keyion Dixon with the game-tying connection to Davis and it was a 28-28 game.
What happened next was a little disconcerting to UConn coach Randy Edsall.
Three sacks, a bad snap, a blocked punt, a fumbled kickoff and serious of defensive breakdowns resulted in the Huskies falling at Southern Methodist by a 49-28 count.
"I think the thing that is the most troubling is that when you watch the film and you see that we had the game tied up with 14:51 to go in the fourth quarter ...," Edsall said. "It is like a shark in the water, I think you have to go attack. That was the thing that was troubling to me is that we didn't go attack, get after it and say this one is right here for us to take. That is a mentality that I guess myself and the coaches, we have to keep harping on because we have to have that mentality for 60 minutes. We had it for some of the day but when it was right there to be taken, we didn't take it."
From that point on SMU gained 172 yards on 19 plays to go with three touchdowns while UConn had 28 yards on 12 plays.
Still, there were some positives to come out of the game.
Bryant Shirreffs became the first UConn quarterback to throw for more than 400 yards in back to back games and just the second to have two 400-yard efforts in the same season (Cornelius Benton did it against New Hampshire and Yale in 1991). With 406 and 408 yards against ECU and SMU, he broke Casey Cochran's program record for passing yards in consecutive games as Cochran had 311 against Rutgers on Nov. 30, 2013 followed by a program record 461 yards the next week against Memphis. Shirreffs completed 78.6 percent of his passes against the Mustangs, the fifth highest total in program history. Shirreffs set the mark with a completion percentage of 88.6 last year against Navy.
It's been encouraging to see Shirreffs spread the ball around. One of the knocks on him and UConn's offense in the past is that once he developed a connection with a certain receiver he will zero in on that one target. That has not been the case this season.
UConn already has seven players with at least 100 receiving yards matching their total for the entire 2012 and 2014 seasons. In 2008 and 2009, UConn had eight receivers with more than 100 receiving yards. With Aaron McLean having a career-high 122 receiving yards, he is the fourth Husky with a 100-yard receiving game. UConn's media guide lists players with 100-yard rushing and receiving games dating back to 1970 and while I found multiple occasions with three players hitting triple digits in receiving yards in the same season, I never found four of them and certainly it didn't happen in a four-game span.
I also did some checking and couldn't find another true freshman with a two-sack game during time that UConn has played at the FBS level so Darrian Beavers has that going for him. As for redshirt freshman cornerback Tahj Herring-Wilson, there can't be better on the job training than being matched up with the dynamic Courtland Sutton for most of the game. Sutton caught seven passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns and for stretches I thought Herring-Wilson held his own.
When I asked Edsall about his performance, he termed it as being "average."
"I thought he did some good things," Edsall said. "He got beat for a touchdown, he is not supposed to be up and pressing the guy, understand who you are going against, understand those things. He competed, he tried. He has a chance to be a good player if he just works real hard each and every day, he comprehends, he listens and he understands the little ins and outs, the nuances of playing the position then I think he will get that much better that much quicker."
The UConn secondary was much more aggressive than they have been in recent weeks and with another top-notch receiver in Memphis' Anthony Miller up next, the secondary figures to be tested once again Friday night.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Huskies were credited with negative eight yards rushing in the game. It is the worst mark of the FBS era for the Huskies, surpassing the negative six yards a season ago against Boston College. It is not, however, the worst total in program history as UConn had - 29 yards on 20 carries in a 1985 game against Delaware State. Rushing totals in the collegiate level can be deceiving because sacks are included so the 45 yards on 28 carries by running backs Nate Hopkins, Kevin Mensah, Arkeel Newsome and Jason Thompson might be nothing to write home about, it looks better than the 36 carries netting a negative 8 yards.
The special teams performance was anything less. A missed field goal ended a promising opening drive, a roughing the punter penalty extended a touchdown-scoring drive for SMU and a blocked punt was turned into another TD so that's 17 points than either were given up or not scored due to special-teams breakdowns.
The eight sacks is a cause for concern but considering that it was the first game without reliable center Ryan Crozier and also the first game started by true freshman tackle Ryan Van Demark, it isn't a stunning turn of events. Many of the sacks came with UConn down and with no threat of a running game, SMU cut their pass rushers loose. Same of the sacks were also a result of Shirreffs holding onto the ball trying to look down the field for an open receiver.
Edsall said that despite a third loss in a row and the fact that the Huskies will play on a short week for the second consecutive game, he does see progress.
"It is still not close to where I want it to be," Edsall said. "When it gets to be where I want it to be then I won't see the inconsistencies that I see on the field because I am a firm believe that what happens on the practice field then carries over to the game field. The things I am seeing in practice, I am seeing in the games. That is that inconsistency.
"Look at how guys are running to the ball that much better, big improvement that should be a given, it should be something you don't even have to talk about. We are getting closer but we are not close enough. We've got them playing had, playing for 60 minutes. We are not playing as sharp, as consistent, as fundamentally and technically sound as I would like but at least we are giving ourselves a chance."
On a personal note, I'm scheduled for jury duty on Tuesday so unless I am told not to come in when I call in tomorrow night, I won't be providing updates from Tuesday's media availability session but hopefully I will be able to cover Friday's home game against Memphis.