CHARGING INTO BUFFALO
Huskies ready to hit the road to take on the Bulls
Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 00:09
After a crushing loss in the late stages to then-No. 15 Michigan, the UConn football team is back at work as they continue to push for the season’s first victory.
Next up: the Huskies’ first road game of the season, at Buffalo.
For many of the players on the traveling squad, including some starters such as fullback Matt Walsh and safety Obi Melifonwu, this will be the first road game of their careers. That abundance of youth and inexperience is cause for “concern about how (UConn) will travel,” according to head coach Paul Pasqualoni.
Of course, those players unaccustomed to being on the road have the benefit of the advice of their more veteran teammates.
“All I can tell them is that it’s the same thing,” redshirt junior running back Lyle McCombs said. “You know, even though we’re traveling, at the end of the day it’s all football. So keep doing what you’re doing, keep working hard.”
Redshirt junior safety Ty-Meer Brown added: “(It’s important) for the young guys to know that the older guys are going to be in their corner, so they can go out and play with the utmost confidence on the field and don’t hesitate and don’t slow down for anyone.”
Optimism in the face of defeat
Despite the fact that Michigan’s come-from-behind victory robbed UConn of a chance to grab its first win and a potential cornerstone game for the program, the Huskies have remained upbeat throughout the early part of the week.
In part, that’s been aided by the fact that they can draw so many positives from the close call.
“We have the right mindset,” McCombs said. “We know that even though we just suffered a tough loss and we are 0-3, we still have everything to accomplish this season.”
The fact that UConn has Buffalo, which enters the weekend 1-2, and South Florida, which sits at 0-3, as the next two lines on its schedule is encouraging as well.
A pair of victories in those winnable games – the Huskies are 16-4 against the Buffalo and have beaten USF three of the past four years – could bring the Huskies back to within reach of a postseason berth.
“It’s definitely a great feeling to know that we can still turn the season around,” Brown said. “Because it’s still early in the season, we have nine games to play and to know that we still can make a run to a bowl game is good.”
Right tackle Kevin Friend, wide receiver Shakim Phillips and linebacker Graham Stewart all missed the loss against Michigan due to injury. Cornerback Taylor Mack also left the game early with a stinger.
While Pasqualoni was not willing to say whether or not each player will be back in the lineup on Saturday, he did say that he is “optimistic on all of them.”
“We’re going to find out more this afternoon,” he said. “And we’ll find out more as the week moves on.”
Pasqualoni did add that there have been no new injuries either as a result of the Michigan game or in practice early this week.