Game Notes (PDF)
THIS WEEK'S GAME:
The University of Connecticut Football
team finishes the 2000 season with a Saturday, November 18
contest at Ball State University in Muncie, IN. Game time is
1:00 p.m. The Huskies enter the contest with a record of 3-
7 and come off a 26-21 loss to the University of Rhode island.
Ball State enters the contest at 4-6 following a 31-3 loss to
The Huskies and Cardinals will meet for the
first time in the sport of football.
CONNECTICUT HEAD COACH RANDY EDSALL:
Randy Edsall (7-
14 overall record in two seasons) became the 27th head
coach in UConn Football history on December 21, 1998.
Edsall, 42, brings 20 years of coaching experience to the
UConn program, including 16 seasons at the Division I-A level
and three seasons in the NFL. He came to UConn after
spending one season as the defensive coordinator at
Georgia Tech. Prior to that he spent three seasons as the
secondary coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He began his
coaching career in 1980 at his alma mater, Syracuse, where
he spent 11 seasons before moving on to Boston College,
where he coached for three seasons before going with
coach Tom Coughlin to the Jaguars.
WEEK TEN RECAP:
UConn scored 21 second half points, but
were unable to overcome a 13-point halftime deficit and fell
to Rhode Island by a score of 26-21. Junior tailback Taber
Small ran for 107 yards and a touchdown and senior John
Fitzsimmons caught a pass for a school-record 36th
consecutive game, including his ninth TD catch of the
season. Sophomore linebacker Razul Wallace led the
defensive effort with a career-best 18 tackles, four for a loss.
WEEK NINE RECAP:
Middle Tennessee scored on its first
eight possessions of the game and rolled to a 66-10 decision
over UConn at Memorial Stadium. For the second straight
week, UConn lost its starting quarterback to an injury with
junior Luke Richmond suffering a hand injury in the first
half. Sophomore Chris Willis had his first significant playing
time at UConn and was 16-of-26 for 163 yards. Senior John
Fitzsimmons caught four balls for 108 yards and a TD.
Sophomore Jamal Lundy had 13 tackles.
WEEK EIGHT RECAP:
South Florida scored a pair of fourth
quarter touchdowns and UConn was unable to overcome
high winds and a devastating injury, falling to the Bulls by a
21-13 count. UConn entered the final quarter with a 13-7
lead, but the Bulls had the 40 mph winds at their back in the
fourth and parlayed that edge into a pair of TD's for the win.
UConn junior QB Ryan Tracey left the game in the second
quarter with a serious injury to his left knee and did not
return. Freshman Evan Benson made his first career start at
tailback and ran for 119 yards and a score. Sophomore kicker
Geoff Heyl made a pair of field goals to account for the
other Husky scoring.
ATTENDANCE RECORD FALLS:
With the crowd of 9,951 vs. URI
on Saturday, UConn finished the 2000 home season with an
average attendance total of 14,166 to set a single season
average attendance record. The previous record was 13,345
set in 1970. The Huskies total of 70,832 for five games is the
second highest season total in school history, but the
highest for a five-game schedule. The overall record is
71,974 in 1994, set over six games.
THE STREAK IS NOW A RECORD:
Senior flanker John
Fitzsimmons set a new UConn record in the Rhode Island
game by making a catch in his 36th consecutive game,
dating back to his freshman season of 1996. The previous
record for consecutive games with a catch was 35, held by
Alex Davis (1989-92).
Connecticut Football Record Book Consecutive Games w/Reception
|| John Fitzsimmons
COLES CHALLENGES SEASON MARK:
Freshman punter Adam
Coles has had a very impressive first season as the Husky
punter. Coles, a 24-year old former Australian Rules Football
player, is averaging 41.2 yards per punt, including a career-
best 64-yarder vs. URI last week. He had a long of 56 yards
vs. Colgate and had kicks of 53 and 54 yards against Akron.
The UConn single season mark for punting average is 41.0,
set by Jim Carriere in 1988 and Mike Morelli in 1999.
WILKINS BREAKS RECORD:
Senior defensive end Jamar
Wilkins became the UConn career record holder for tackles-
for-loss during the loss to South Florida. Wilkins now has 30
career TFL's, surpassing the record of 26 held by former All-
American and Green Bay Packers standout John Dorsey (1980-
83). Wilkins had tied Dorsey when he snuffed out a fake field
goal attempt by Akron on October 21. Wilkins has 15 tackles
for a loss in 2000, third on the single season list.
WALLACE TOPS RECORD:
Sophomore linebacker Razul
Wallace recorded four tackles for a loss in the game vs. URI,
running his season total to 19 and setting a new single
season UConn record. The previous mark of 18 was set by
Khalid Riley in 1998. Senior Jamar Wilkins is not far behind
Wallace and Riley with his 15 in 2000.
LUNDY LEADS A YOUNG SECONDARY:
Sophomore safety Jamal Lundy leads the Huskies with 91 tackles, nine for a
loss, and has one interception. Lundy is in his second college
season, but is already a grizzled veteran by UConn standards
on the defensive unit. Lundy has started 17 consecutive
games, including the final seven as a true freshman in 1999.
The other seven players in the Husky two-deep in the
secondary have a total of 31 career starts between them.
Three key defensive performers and
starters for the Husky defense were lost for the season due
to injury. Junior linebacker Jamie Lenkaitis suffered a torn
right MCL in the loss to Northeastern and junior cornerback
Roy Hopkins suffered a torn MCL in his left knee against
Eastern Michigan. Hopkins will apply for a medical redshirt
at the end of the season and is expected to return in 2001
with two years of eligibility remaining. Senior linebacker
Brandon Smith, the 1999 Team Defensive MVP, suffered a
concussion during pre-season and has decided to end his
playing career rather than risk further serious injury. On
offense, junior quarterback Ryan Tracey suffered a season
ending knee injury vs. South Florida. Tracey torn the ACL and
MCL in his left knee and underwent surgery.
TRUE FRESHMEN DEBUTS:
A total of 12 true freshmen have seen action in 2000, five earning starts on defense and one
on offense. Ten saw action for the Huskies vs. Eastern
Michigan, marking the second straight season that UConn
has had ten or more true frosh see action in the opener.
Last season, 12 true freshmen played in the opener vs.
Hofstra. In 2000, the following first-year Huskies have seen
game action: Evan Benson (two starts), Chris Clarke, Adam
Coles, Jason Dellaselva (three starts), Davion Dixon, Trenton
Jones (five starts), Terry McClowry, Chris Meyer (four starts),
Sean Mulcahy (five starts), Chandler Poole, Terrance Smith
(six starts) and Michael Ziccardi. UConn had 17 true
freshmen see action in 1999.
Sophomore linebacker Uyi Osunde
has totaled four double-digit tackle efforts on the season.
Osunde leads the team in that category with his efforts
against Eastern Michigan (ten tackles), Boston College (11),
Akron (ten) and South Florida (ten). Sophomore Jamal Lundy,
the team's leading tackler, has three double-digit efforts, as
does sophomore linebacker Razul Wallace. Junior linebacker
Justin Cook has two, while senior defensive end Jamar
Wilkins and true freshmen defensive backs Terrance Smith
and Chris Meyer each have one.
BENSON MAKES HIS MARK:
True freshman tailback Evan
Benson entered the game with Akron with five carries for
five yards on the season. In the three games since, he has
225 yards on 61 carries. Against USF, Benson cracked the 100-
yard mark in his first career start, totaling 119 yards and a
touchdown. Against Akron, Benson took advantage of a
second half injury to junior Taber Small and ran through
Akron to the tune of 70 yards on 19 carries, 51 of those
yards coming in UConn's 17-point fourth quarter.
TRUE FROSH OVER 100:
Freshman tailback Evan Benson
became the seventh true freshman in UConn history to hit
the 100-yard mark in a game and the first since Barry
Chandler had 118 yards vs. Boston University on November 1,
1997. Tory Taylor holds the true freshman record with five
100-yard games in 1995. Ed Long had four in 1991, Chandler
(1997), Jeffrey Gallaher (1985) and Tony Jordan (1978) each
had two, while Joe Markus had one in 1979.
WELCOME TO RENTSCHLER FIELD:
Stadium site work has
begun at the future home of Connecticut Football, now
known officially as Rentschler Field. An official
groundbreaking was held on October 20, 2000. The name
commemorates the history of Pratt & Whitney Aircraft
Company and its founder, Frederick B. Rentschler. The
stadium address is 615 Silver Lane in East Hartford, CT.
name Rentschler Field will remain on the stadium for a 15-
year period beginning with the first event in the stadium.
The name can then be sold with stipulations. The first
football game at Rentschler Field is scheduled for August 30,
2003 when Connecticut hosts Rutgers University.
SPREADING THE WEALTH:
A trademark of the Husky offense
in 2000 has been the ability of the Husky quarterback to use
all of his available options. The Huskies have 12 different
players with a reception and nine of those 12 have caught
at least 12 passes. Senior John Fitzsimmons (42 catches, 676
yards, nine TD) and junior Steve O'Connor (45 catches, 604
yards, two TD's) lead the unit.
HEYL CONTINUES SOLID KICKING:
Sophomore Geoff Heyl won
the placekicking job with a solid pre-season and has
continued his stellar play throughout the season. Heyl hit
the game-winning 30-yard field goal with four seconds
remaining in the win over Akron and has hit on 10-of-15 FG's
in 2000 and 22-of-24 PAT's. He made a career-best 48-yard FG
in the loss to Boston College. With Heyl handling the
placekicking duties in 2000, he has become the eighth
placekicker in the last six seasons to handle the starting
kicker role. The Husky kicking carousel looks this way: 1995--
David DeArmas, 1996-- Jon Cohen, Mike Morelli, 1997-- Robb
Myers, 1998-- Jim McManus, 1999-- Jeff Cammuso, Marc
Hickok, 2000-- Geoff Heyl.
TRACEY PILES UP THE 300'S:
Junior QB Ryan Tracey had a
tremendous debut season as the Husky signal caller, despite
suffering a season-ending knee injury vs. South Florida. His
eight-game totals were 159-for-292 for 1,984 yards and 15
touchdowns. He only threw five interceptions. With four
300-yard passing games, Tracey neared uncharted territory
for UConn QB's. He tied the single season record for 300-
yard games and will be only two off the career mark
entering his senior season.
All-Time 300-Yard Passing Game Leaders
TOP PASSERS THROUGH FIVE GAMES:
Junior QB Ryan Tracey
now holds the mark for passing yards in the first five games
of a season with 1,493, breaking the mark of Cornelius
Benton, who threw for 1,474 yards to start the 1991 season.
Benton had a pair of 400-yard games and one 300-yard effort
in that stretch. Tracey's 14 TD's are also a five-game best.
1998, Shane Stafford had 12 TD passes through five games.
Tracey fell just short of the six-game mark with his total of
1,668. The six-game mark for passing yards is 1,692, held by
Benton in 1991. Tracey's 14 TD's in six games also surpasses
any six-game total in school history.
TRACEY TIES SINGLE GAME TD MARK:
Ryan Tracey's four TD
passes against Northeastern tied a single game UConn mark,
held by five other QB's. Shane Stafford threw four TD's in a
game four times in his career, Matt DeGennaro did it twice,
and Brian Hoffmann, Larry Corn and Ken Sweitzer also tossed
four TD passes in one game at UConn.
TRACEY VS. EASTERN MICHIGAN:
Junior quarterback Ryan
Tracey made his first appearance as a Husky vs. Eastern
Michigan and, statistically, his debut was among the top
quarterbacking performances in school history. His 340
passing yards were the ninth highest single game total in
UConn history and the most-ever by a QB in his first game.
His 49 pass attempts were the fifth most by a Husky QB and
his 55 total plays rank tenth in school history. Tracey
completed 23-of-49 passes, threw three TD passes and had
Junior tailback Taber Small has 533 yards and
eight touchdowns in the 2000 season. In his career, Small has
1,309 rushing yards, 22 rushing TD's (tied for sixth all-time at
UConn) and he has had six multiple TD games in his career.
He has cracked the 100-yard mark in a game on three
occasions. In 1999, Small had a school record streak of eight
straight games with a rushing touchdown and he finished
the year with 757 yards on the season and 14 rushing
touchdowns. He had 15 touchdowns overall. He averaged 8.2
points per game, placing him tied for 27th in the country in
the final Division I-AA statistics. His 14 rushing touchdowns
and 15 total TD's are both tied for third on the UConn single
season list. Walt Trojanowski totaled 22 TD's in 1945, all
rushing and Wilbur Gilliard's 17 rushing TD's in 1993 was the
best I-AA total in Husky history.
THE OTHER STREAK ENDS FOR FITZ:
Senior John Fitzsimmons
went scoreless against BC, snapping his streak of games
with a TD catch at five. He had a TD catch in each of the first
five games in 2000, the second such streak for Fitz in his
Husky career and one that matches the school record. Alex
Davis is the only other Husky to catch a TD pass in five
straight games, doing so in the 1992 season. Fitzsimmons
also had a TD catch in the first five games of the 1998 season.
UConn set a single game attendance
record of 16,632 in the win over Colgate, breaking the old
mark of 16,464 set in 1970 vs. Rhode Island. The game was
the first advance sellout in UConn Football history. The game
vs. Northeastern was the second straight advance sellout
and the attendance of 16,549 is the third largest crowd in
school history. The homecoming contest vs. South Florida
was the third straight advance sellout and the attendance
total of 16,585 is the second biggest home crowd in UConn
PLAYING THE NICKNAME GAME:
UConn's 2000 schedule is
noteworthy in part because of the team nicknames their
opponents seem to share. UConn plays two Eagles (Eastern
Michigan & Boston College), two Cardinals (Louisville & Ball
State), two Bulls (Buffalo & South Florida), the Red Raiders
and Blue Raiders (Colgate & Middle Tennessee) and also has
the always popular battle of the Huskies with Northeastern.
Akron (Zips) and Rhode Island (Rams) lend little to this note,
but both do have four letters in their nickname.
UCONN ON TV IN 2000:
The Huskies had five games
televised during the 2000 season. The opener at Eastern
Michigan was carried by Connecticut Public Television, as
was the week three match-up at Buffalo. The contest at
Boston College on October 7 was carried throughout the
New England region on NESN. The October 28 game vs. South
Florida will be broadcast by ESPN Regional, seen locally on
NESN and in Florida on Fox Sports Net and WMOR-TV in
Tampa. The game vs. Rhode Island on November 11 was
broadcast by Cox Communications of Rhode Island, with local
television on Connecticut Public Television.
WELCOME TO DIVISION I-A:
UConn moves into a new era of
Division I-A football during the 2000 season. The Huskies will
spend the 2000, 2001 and 2002 seasons playing I-A football
with Memorial Stadium (cap. 16,200) as their home field. The
2003 season will bring the opening of the Stadium at
Rentschler Field (cap. 40,000) in East Hartford, CT. UConn is
scheduled to compete as an independent for five seasons
and in 2005 begin play in the BIG EAST Football Conference.
RANDY ON RADIO-- During the 2000 season, UConn head
football coach Randy Edsall will join Joe D'Ambrosio for a
weekly radio show on WTIC-AM 1080. The show will be on
Monday nights, beginning at 6:00 p.m. and all of the shows
will be held at Rookies Sports Bar in Cromwell.
WEEK SEVEN RECAP-- UConn overcame a 14-point first
quarter deficit and used a 17-point fourth quarter to post a
stunning 38-35 win over Akron. Sophomore kicker Geoff
Heyl's 30-yard FG with four seconds remaining provided the
final margin of victory. UConn finally got its running game in
gear, as junior Taber Small scored three touchdowns and
true freshman back-up Evan Benson gained a career-high 70
yards, including 51 in the fourth quarter. Junior QB Ryan
Tracey threw for 293 yards and one TD, while rushing for
WEEK SIX RECAP:
Boston College scored on seven of eight
first half possessions en route to a 41-3 halftime lead and an
eventual 55-3 decision over the Huskies. UConn turned it
over on its first two possessions and got a career-long 48-
yard field goal by Geoff Heyl with 11 seconds left in the first
quarter for its only points of the day. Junior QB Ryan Tracey
had a tough outing, throwing interceptions on the first two
Husky drives of the day and finishing 17-of-33 for 175 yards.
Junior WR Steve O'Connor had career-best totals of nine
catches for 129 yards, while sophomore linebackers Razul
Wallace and Uyi Osunde each totaled 11 tackles.
WEEK FIVE RECAP:
The Huskies put together a gritty effort
against the heavily favored Cardinals, but a big Louisville
third quarter was the difference in a 41-22 victory. UConn
trailed only 10-9 at the half, but the Cardinals outscored the
Huskies 17-0 in the third to pull away. Junior QB Ryan Tracey
continued to put up big numbers, going over the 300-yard
mark for the fourth time in five games. Senior John
Fitzsimmons caught his seventh TD pass of the season and
junior Rashad Drayton had five catches and a TD reception.
WEEK FOUR RECAP:
It was a tale of two halves in the battle
of the Huskies and UConn came up on the short end of a 35-
27 score after going into halftime with a 27-15 lead.
Connecticut junior QB Ryan Tracey was clicking on all
cylinders in the first half, throwing four TD passes, two to
senior John Fitzsimmons. But the Northeastern defense
stiffened in the second half and tailback L.J. McKanas
churned out 225 rushing yards on a school-record 47 carries.
WEEK THREE RECAP:
The Huskies extended Buffalo's winless
streak to 18 games by holding off the Bulls for a 24-21 win in
Buffalo. Junior tailback Taber Small gained a bruising 137
yards and scored a TD, while senior wideout John
Fitzsimmons had four catches and a touchdown. Senior
defensive tackle Ronel Jumpp's sack with under 20 seconds
remaining forced the Bulls to attempt a 58-yard field goal at
the buzzer, which fell well short.
WEEK TWO RECAP:
UConn earned its first win of the Division
I-A era in convincing fashion by routing I-AA Colgate 37-7 in
front of a sellout and UConn record crowd of 16,632. Junior
QB Ryan Tracey put up big numbers for the second straight
week, throwing for 327 yards, while junior tailback Taber
Small rushed for 82 yards and three TD's. Senior wideout
John Fitzsimmons caught a TD pass and senior defensive end
Jamar Wilkins led the defense with a pair of sacks on the
WEEK ONE RECAP:
UConn's Division I-A debut went down to
the wire and ended in a heartbreaking 32-25 loss to Eastern
Michigan. The Eagles capitalized on a mistake in the Husky
punting game and scored the game-winning TD with under
two minutes to go. The Huskies had rallied from a 24-10
second half deficit to take a 25-24 lead. Senior John
Fitzsimmons caught four passes for 124 yards and two
scores, while junior Ryan Tracey's debut at the QB position
was stellar, as he threw for 340 yards and three TD's on the
night. Defensively, sophomore linebackers Razul Wallace and
Uyi Osunde both recorded ten tackles and seven of Wallace's
were for a loss.