Maybe that has something to do with McCombs' 3.3 yards per carry in this game, too. Maybe it's not all bad run blocking.
The stat sheet will show, three sacks, but the offensive line did do a better job of pass protection. There were several plays when Whitmer had loads of time in the pocket. One big-gainer across the middle to McCombs in the first half came off his third check-down in his progression.
"You saw what happened when they gave him time," McCombs said. "He made the throws. It made for a great day for him statistically."
With no touchdown passes and six interceptions through the early going in Western Michigan, Whitmer insisted his confidence was not dented.
"Absolutely not," Whitmer said.
He has four touchdowns and no interceptions in the past seven quarters. In the first half, he engineered a 10-play, 92-yard drive that was the best of the season.
"I don't see any more confidence in him than in the previous four games," McCombs said. "He's always confident. That's what I like about him. That confidence circulates around the huddle. We trust him. What I see different in him is he actually has some time back there. He's a little more relaxed in the pocket."
Pasqualoni's words read more upbeat than his body posture. He looked less pleased than his adjectives.
"There were a couple of opportunities there, where maybe we could have taken advantage of a little field position, but they came back with a trick play and they got us," Pasqualoni said. "They fought their way back into it."
Outmanned on the road, Jeff Quinn had a few moments of inspiration. On fourth-and-5 at the UConn 34 early on, Buffalo went for it and smelled the UConn defensive heat. A screen pass went for 30 yards. After the ensuing touchdown, the Bulls recovered an onside quick. And when they fell behind 24-7, Brandon Murie scored on a 50-yard hook-and-lateral.
"In the second half, we played a solid game," Pasqualoni said. "Overall, it was a complementary win for us, offense, defense, special teams."
This was supposed to be a day when the Huskies, 17-point favorites, gained a convincing head of steam into Rutgers and the Big East season. What we got were no turnovers. And no mocking here. Complementary win? OK. But not a complimentary win.