This has been a long and tumultuous season filled with ups and downs, ranging from the struggle of coming back from the murder of cornerback Jasper Howard to losing four consecutive games with the lead in the fourth quarter with only minutes on the clock, to beating Notre Dame in a major fourth quarter upset. UConn has seen it all this season, and now UConn is preparing vigorously for their Jan 2. Papajohns.com Bowl date against South Carolina in Birmingham Alabama. UConn wants to bring home a bowl victory for all the loyal fans who stuck by UConn this season and supported their team at Rentschler field.
Some memorable moments this season for the offense were of course Jourdan Todan’s performance in the Notre Dame game in which he went for 130 yards on 26 carries with a TD, not to mention his incredibly 96 yard kick off return for a TD. Todman had a lot to do with UConn’s win over Notre Dame. The UConn victory over Notre Dame was incredibly important as it pushed the momentum forward in order for them to win their next game and advance to a bowl game. According to Desmond Conner, there were quite a few teams this season that put up numbers against UConn but none like Cincinnati quarterback Zach Collaros who had 480 yards and TD passing, and 75 yards and two TD’s rushing. Cincinnati had 711 yards of total offense and netted nearly 10 yards a play.
The best defensive performances don’t have as much to report as their offense. Sadly, a major weakness UConn struggled with all season was their defense. It gave up too many numbers especially early and late in games when the score needed to be frozen. Conner notes the most notorious performance by UConn was Linsey Witten’s three sacks against North Carolina. In return Conner notes that there weren’t any “ lights out” performances against UConn either however Louisville’s John Dempsey had 16 tackles and a half sack in a 38 – 25 loss to UConn. This was one of the better however “Touchest to Tackle” this season goes out to Todman. And UConn’s hardest hitters draw a large number of players as Conner states, “You can put Jerome Junior, Scott Lutrus, Lawrence Wilson, Robbie Vaughn, Robert McClain and Greg Lloyd here and be in good shape. Much will be remembered from that double-overtime win at Notre Dame in November. Lloyd’s goal line blast that sent Armando Allen’s helmet flying was a collision for the ages.” UConn’s defense this season had some questionable components but overall got the job done.
The best coach UConn went up against this season was Brian Kelly and the worst coach this season is Steve Kragthorpe who has never beaten the Huskies in three seasons and was eventually fired at Louisville. Along with the coaches taking a look at the fields UConn played on, one could easily assume that Notre Dame’s was the worst, as the field looked a mess on the November 21st game. Cincinnati’s field was the best. The best fans we’ve seen this year according to Conner were from West Virginia who were extremely supportive about the Jasper Howard murder when UConn visited.
The best receiver this season Marcus Easley, a senior, who had 853 receiving yards and eight touchdowns, and the best corner back in absence of Jasper Howard goes out to Robert McClain who had four interceptions this season. Among the many teams UConn played this season, receiver Tim Brown of Rutgers put on the most impressive show rallying five catches for 162 yards and two TD’s including a 81 yard game breaker in the final seconds of the game giving Rutgers the 28-24 win over UConn, one of UConn’s disastrous fourth quarter incidents this season.
UConn overall had a very emotional and tumultuous season. In spite of their rocky start losing a very important player and beloved teammate, UConn did what they had to do and made it to a bowl game. Following UConn and Desmond Conner this semester has been an absolute pleasure as you really get to feel like you know the team and its players when you follow them. I have met just a handful of UConn football players but covering Desmond and the team this semester has made me feel like I know all of them personally. I look forward to the bowl game and next season. Good Luck Guys