IT'S A JERSEY THING
UConn football team heads to New Jersey to take on Rutgers
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012 22:10
The non-conference portion of UConn’s schedule ended last week with a 24-17 win over Buffalo.
This week, the Huskies’ conference schedule begins with a game on the road against rival Rutgers.
Against Buffalo, UConn got off to exactly the kind of start that head coach Paul Pasqualoni had been looking for all season, but was never able to get out of his team. On their first three possessions, the Huskies scored three times.
On the first, UConn started on its own 31-yard line and scored a field goal. On the second, UConn started on its own 7-yard line and drove down the field on ten plays to score a touchdown. Then on their third possession, the Huskies started on their own 25-yard line and and went down the field on five plays, adding another touchdown, this time from the ground.
For the rest of the game, Buffalo was playing catch-up, which is a position that Pasqualoni said UConn has been in too many times this season and he found it refreshing to be on the other end of it for a change.
He said during the team’s weekly press conference on Tuesday that they were able to run the ball with a little more consistency last week, which opened up a few more things for UConn’s passing game.
Last week’s win was crucial for UConn’s momentum as the non-conference portion of its schedule came to an end. Going into the Rutgers game 3-2 instead of 2-3 has made the Huskies a lot more comfortable about the rest of their season.
But the Rutgers game is going to be a challenge. Not only are the Scarlet Knights ranked as the No. 22 team in the country, but games in Piscataway, NJ are never easy. Pasqualoni remarked that Rutgers has a very tough gameday environment and its rare to see the stands not empty on the day of an important game.
When asked about the rivalry between the two teams on Tuesday, Pasqualoni acknowledged that he hasn’t been around UConn for too long. But he went on to say that he can tell by the way the players on both teams act and the way the fans act on game day that this rivalry is a big deal for both schools, making it a great thing for football in the Big East.
The Scarlet Knights’ offense goes through the legs of junior running back Jawan Jamison. On the season, Jamison has 491 yards rushing through four games and averages just over four yards per carry.
Pasqualoni is afraid of Jamison having a big day because when he gets going, it’s not only Jamison that will be rolling, but things will be opened up for the Scarlet Knights’ talented corps of receivers.
On UConn’s defensive side, the line’s production in terms of statistics as a unit has been a topic of question. But Pasuqaloni said that he’s been pleased with what he’s seen from thus far.
“They’re doing what we’ve asked them to do and it’s going to vary,” he said.
A win against a ranked team on the road would be a huge boost for UConn exactly halfway through the season. If the Huskies win, they would start 4-2, putting themselves in a great position to go to a bowl game.
While Pasqualoni shied away from any big picture implications about the game, he did say that it’s a crucial one for UConn.
“We’d by naive to think that it’s not an important game,” he said.