Run game will be key for Huskies against Rutgers
Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 22:10
The run game will be key to the UConn football team’s performance when they take on the No. 22 team in the country, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
Last weekend against Buffalo, the Huskies rushed for 133 yards on 42 carries en route to a 24-17 victory over the Bulls. Sophomore running back Lyle McCombs rushed for 97 yards and scored one touchdown in the UConn victory. McCombs has rushed for 452 yards so far on the season and has scored four touchdowns. Head coach Paul Pasqualoni has attributed McCombs recent success to an improvement in the offensive lines’ ability to run block.
“I thought we had some very good execution last week,” said Pasqualoni. “At the end of the game and were up and running the ball you have to understand you have nine guys in there sometimes. You can try to get the eight guy, but there’s no way you’re getting the ninth guy. I think our run blocking has improved more so in effort than the game might have indicated.”
Last weekend junior running back Martin Hyppolite made quite the impact with his first carry of the 2012 season to the end zone for 50 yards and a UConn touchdown. With Hyppolite in the Husky backfield, McCombs should get the necessary rest to avoid fatigue and give the UConn running game an added spark. As the Huskies enter Big East play, Pasqualoni believes the run game will be crucial moving forward. “As you enter Big East play you got to be able to run the ball with more consistency,” said Pasqualoni.
Ryan Wirth surprise player of the season
Defensive tackle Ryan Wirth has been an asset to a defensive line that has been plagued by injuries and the graduation of key players like Kendal Reyes. Last year Wirth played on both the defensive line and special teams where he made three tackles in the nine games he played in. This season Wirth has recorded 18 tackles in five games for the Huskies. When asked at Tuesday’s press conference on who has been a surprise player this season, Pasqualoni looked to Wirth’s contributions on the defensive side of the ball.
“Ryan Wirth having not been a starter has come in and has tried to fill the shoes of a high second round draft pick,” said Pasqualoni. “I think he’s done a heck of a job trying to help us there, in addition to the leadership department, I think Ryan has done a good job.”
Huskies Begin Conference Play With Rival
This Saturday marks the beginning of Big East play for the UConn. The Huskies will face their longtime rival Rutgers, to begin their quest for a Big East title. The Scarlet Knights hold a 21-10 advantage in the all-time series and have won five out of the last seven meetings between the two teams. However, it was the Huskies who spoiled the party for Rutgers last season with a 40-22 victory at Rentschler Field, which denied the Scarlet Knights from sharing the Big East crown.
The Quotable Paul Pasqualoni
“This game is important, it’s a conference game, whether it’s the first one, the second one or the third one, it has a huge impact on the conference standings, as we are all after the same thing. It would be naive to think it’s not important.” Pasqualoni on the importance of starting the Big East portion of the 2012 season against a rival opponent like Rutgers.