Column: Any given Saturday
Published: Monday, September 23, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 23, 2013 00:09
If you were listening closely on Saturday night at Rentschler Field, you could have almost heard the collective sigh of relief from the thousands of Michigan fans in attendance.
The UConn Huskies came within four points of pulling off one of the most improbable wins in college football history. A victory could have been what the Huskies needed to jump start their sluggish and dismal season after dropping their first two games to Towson and Maryland.
Yes, a team that lost to Towson nearly upset Michigan.
That is what’s great about college football, that any given Saturday feeling. While some games on paper are just completely one sided, every once in a while you’ll get one team who wants the victory more than the other. This is exactly what happened on Saturday in East Hartford.
Michigan came into the game after narrowly escaping defeat at the hands of Akron in the Big House. UConn was coming off a touch loss to Maryland and their former skipper, Randy Edsall. One team wanted it more. It didn’t matter that Michigan’s players had advantages that Huskies would never be able to compensate for.
When the staff of The Daily Campus sat down to do our staff predictions for the game, not a single person, including myself gave UConn a chance to win. We we’re not the only ones in the media to have the same sentiment.
After the game UConn linebacker Yawin Smallwood made an interesting point.
“They put their helmets and cleats on the same way we do,” Smallwood said.
It’s statements like this one that gave the UConn locker room the morale they needed to potentially knock off Michigan.
So where do the Huskies go from here? UConn travels to Buffalo next weekend and will face a tough opponent. Last year at home the Huskies hung on for 24-17 win over the Bulls. This will not be a walk in the park next Saturday. It’s a real possibility that UConn could start the season a disappointing 0-4.
While you can’t walk away from a loss with a sense of a moral victory, there is one thing UConn fans should walk away with.
It has been years since I have heard The Rent that loud. The fans showed up and they stayed to cheer on the Huskies right to the very end. When Michigan knelled the ball down for the final time, cheers rained down from the record breaking crowd still in attendance.
For the first time in a long time this team showed heart, something I did not think they were capable of. If this team starts the season 0-4 or 1-5, there is no excuse. When motivated, these Huskies can accomplish great things, I’m convinced of that. However, the key moving forward is to find that motivation when conference play begins. UConn will not be lining up against Michigan, on national TV every week. In order to salvage what’s left of this season, they will need to dig deep and put their helmets on like every other team remaining on their schedule.
The outlook on the season looks bleak and confidence in the team remains low, but the players and fans across Connecticut should hold their heads up high. The Huskies did not roll over and die for a superior opponent, because in a season like this one sometimes that is all you can ask for.
Follow Tyler on Twitter @TylerRMorrissey