Dec. 1, 2009
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Edsall Press Conference Quotes
STORRS, Conn. - Coming off of back-to-back wins, the University of Connecticut football team enters its final regular season game against South Florida on Saturday, December 5 at Rentschler Field at 8 p.m.
UConn's 16 seniors will be honored before the game, which will be broadcasted live on ESPN2.
CONNECTICUT HEAD COACH Randy Edsall
UConn Randy Edsall has tackled the challenge of bringing a former NCAA Division I-AA team up to par with the BIG EAST in a 10-year span head on, guiding the Huskies to the 2007 BIG EAST Championship, three bowl games in the past five years with two bowl wins.
He has compiled a 64-65 career record and is in his 11th season at UConn, including wins in 53 of UConn’s last 88 games dating back to the ninth game of the 2002 season. He has a 55-41 (.573) mark through the first 96 games of UConn’s tenure at the FBS (Division I-A) level.
Saturday’s game against Syracuse will be the 130th of his UConn career -- the most of any coach in UConn history. He topped the mark of 121 set by J.O. Christian (1934-49).
Immediately prior to becoming UConn’s head coach in 1998, Edsall served as defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech in 1998 under George O’Leary. Edsall began his coaching career at his alma mater, Syracuse, from 1980-1990, working under Frank Maloney and Dick MacPherson in a variety of capacities. Edsall moved on to Boston College where he coached defensive backs under Tom Coughlin from 1991-93 before following Coughlin to the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, staying on the First Coast through the 1997 season.
Edsall is a native of Glen Rock, Pa., and graduated from Susquehannock High School. He was inducted into the York Area Sports Hall of Fame.
USF HEAD COACH JIM LEAVITT
Jim Leavitt is the only coach in the history of the South Florida program since the team starting playing football in 1997. He has led the Bulls to appearances in four bowl games. Prior to starting the South Florida program, he was an assistant coach at Kansas from 1990-95.
He is a 1978 graduate from Missouri and played defensive back at the school. He also worked at Iowa (1988 and ‘89), Morningside (1982-87) and Dubuque (1980-81).
RADIO & TV COVERAGE
Saturday’s game wil be televised nationally by ESPN2. Mark Jones is on playby-play while Bob Davie is on color and Kim Belton is the producer.
For the 18th consecutive season, WTIC 1080-AM in Hartford serves as the flagship station for the UConn Radio Network. WTIC is the state’s only 50,000 watt signal and can be heard in 23 states and parts of Canada.
Veteran UConn announcers Joe D’Ambrosio (play-by-play) and Wayne Norman (color commentary) return to call the action with Kevin Nathan on the sidelines and Eric Davis on production.
The UConn pregame show begins 90 minutes prior to kickoff, while home games, the UConn Tailgate Show will air two and a half hours prior to the game with Arnold Dean.
The UConn Football Radio Network also includes WILI 1400-AM in Willimantic, WLIS 1420-AM in Old Saybrook and WMRD-1150 AM in Middletown. UConn football games are also broadcast over the internet at WTIC.com.
HUSKIES VS. USF ALL-TIME
Saturday’s game is the sixth meeting between UConn and South Florida with USF holding a 4-2 edge while the two teams have split their four BIG EAST meetings -- with the home team winning each one. Last year, USF defeated UConn by a 17-13 score at Raymond James Stadium on Nov. 23, 2008. Matt Grothe was nine of 18 in the game for 124 yards and the Bulls had 142 yards on four kickoff returns. USF led 10-3 at the half and UConn tied the game at 17-17 with a 43-yard TD pass from Tyler Lorenzen to Ellis Gaulden. USF scored a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, while Dave Teggart kicked a 35-yard FG with 9:19 to go. UConn fumbled the ball on a drive late in the game to seal the win for USF.
The last meeting at Rentschler Field was a 22-15 UConn win on Oct. 27, 2007. South Florida was ranked 11th in the country at the time of the game and it marked UConn’s first win over an Associated Press ranked team at the time of the game. The win propelled UConn to a #16 national ranking the following week -- the first in UConn history. The only previous game between the schools in East Hartford was UConn’s other win, a 15-10 decision on Nov. 26, 2005. The teams met for the first time on Oct. 28, 2000 at Memorial Stadium in Storrs with the Bulls taking a 21-13 victory. UConn returned the trip on Oct. 13, 2001 and faced the Bulls at Raymond James Stadium during USF’s inaugural I-A season. The Huskies, still transitioning to I-A, fell 40-21. In 2006, Grothe’s 228 total yards helped the Bulls to a 38-16 win at RJS.
UCONN AND USF CONN-ECTIONS
UConn has four players from Florida on its roster...Dwayne Difton of Ft. Lauderdale, Mike Lang of Largo, Greg Lloyd of Clermont and Twyon Martin of Parkland...the late Jasper Howard was a Miami native and attended Miami Edison High School.
At UConn home games, FanFest takes place from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. outside the stadium between Gates C and D and features entertainment and family activities...the “Husky Walk” is a chance for fans to welcome the UConn team as they get off the team buses and head to the stadium. That takes place at approximately 5:45 a.m. between Gates A and B.
EDSALL HAS LONGEVITY AT UCONN
UConn head coach Randy Edsall is in his 11th season in charge of the Huskies and he is tied for the ninth-longest tenured FBS coach at his current job. In addition to Edsall, Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz (a UConn graduate) and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops were all hired for their current jobs heading into the 1999 season. Joe Paterno is in his 44th season at Penn State to lead the way.
Edsall has now coached 129 games – the most by any UConn coach in history. He broke the record of 121 set by J.O. Christian (1934-49) earlier this season against Rhode Island. Edsall is the fourth coach to lead the Huskies into 100 career games, joining Christian (121), Tom Jackson (119 from 1983-93) and Robert Ingalls (106 from 1952-63).
Edsall’s 64 career wins is second in UConn history behind Christian who has 66 wins.
A total of 16 UConn seniors will be honored before Saturday’s game vs. USF for their final appearance as a Husky at Rentschler Field. They are: DT Brandon Dillon, TB Andre Dixon, WR Marcus Easley, OT Mike Hicks, WR Brad Kanuch, OG Alex LaMagdelaine, WR Alex Molina, OG Mathieu Olivier, WR Kevin Poles, LB Greg Robinson, OT Dan Ryan, FB Joss Tillard, FS Robert Vaughn, DE Lindsey Witten and captains P Desi Cullen and DB Robert McClain. Also being honored will be 2009 summer graduate and former LB Matt Ashmead and student managers Christopher Blanchette of Waterbury, Conn., and Patrick Maguire of Ridgefield, Conn.
UConn’s five losses this year have been by a combined 15 points and the Huskies have held fourth quarter leads in four of the five of the game.
* Sept. 12 vs. North Carolina: UConn led 10-0 after three quarters, but gave up 12 fourth quarter points for the loss. The Tar Heels scored the winning points on a safety when UConn was called for holding in the endzone.
* Oct. 10 vs. Pittsburgh: UConn led 21-3 late in the third quarter. Pittsburgh scored a TD with 12 seconds left in the third quarter and added a TD and field goal as time expired for the win.
* Oct. 24 vs. West Virginia: UConn led 17-14 at halftime and took a 24-21 lead with 3:50 to go in the fourth on an 88-yard TD play. West Virginia came right back and scored on a 56-yard running play with 2:10 to go for the win.
* Oct. 31 vs. Rutgers: UConn led 24-21 after taking their first lead of the game with 38 seconds to go. Rutgers scored on an 81-yard pass play for the 28-24 win.
* Nov. 7 vs. Cincinnati: This time a UConn comeback falls short. UConn trailed 30-10 at the half and 37-17 with 7:03 to go in the third. UConn then outscored the Bearcats 19-3, but failed on a two-point conversation with 5:03 to go that would have tied the game at 40-40. The two teams then traded touchdowns for the 47-45 final.
1,000 AND COUNTING
UConn’s game against Rhode Island on Sept. 26 was the 1,000 game in program history dating back to the first team in 1896. UConn now has an overall program record of 471-498-38 in 1,007 games.
HOT ON THE ROAD IN SEPTEMBER
With UConn’s wins at Ohio and Baylor during September of 2009, the Huskies have now won seven-straight road games during September. UConn topped Temple and Louisville last year, Duke and Pittsburgh in 2007 and Indiana in 2006.
UConn’s last September road loss was a 28-13 loss at 16th-ranked Georgia Tech on Sept. 17, 2005.
HUSKIES HAVE GONE BOWL-ING AND ARE ELIGIBLE AGAIN
Saturday’s win over Syracuse was the sixth of the season for the Huskies and makes them “bowl eligible” for the 2009 season. UConn makes the mark for the fifth time in the past seven seasons. UConn’s trip to and victory in the 2009 International Bowl marked the third time in school history that the Huskies had gone to a bowl and the second consecutive. With UConn’s win over Cincinnati on Oct. 25, UConn won its sixth game of the season and was “bowl eligible”. UConn made the mark for the fourth time in the past six seasons. In 2003, UConn was 9-3, but did not go to a bowl because of its independent status. In 2004, the Huskies went 7-4 in the regular season and won the Motor City Bowl and in 2007, UConn was 9-3 in the regular season and went on to the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
HUSKIES ON WATCH LISTS
A number of members of the 2009 Huskies have been named to preseason “Watch Lists” for the upcoming year. They are:
*Senior Tailback Andre Dixon (New Brunswick, N.J.) Doak Walker Award Candidate
*Junior Linebacker Scott Lutrus (Brookfield, Conn.) Chuck Bednarik Defensive Player of the Year Preseason Watch List
*Sophomore Kicker Dave Teggart (Northborough, Mass.) Lou Groza Award Preseason Watch List
*Sophomore Tailback Jordan Todman (North Dartmouth, Mass.) Doak Walker Award Candidate
*Senior Defensive End Lindsey Witten (Cleveland, Ohio) Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award Preseason Candidate
Chuck Bednarik Defensive Player of the Year Preseason Watch List (mid-season addition)
HUSKIES MAKE NATIONAL POLLS
Connecticut earned a spot in both national polls on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2008 following its win at Louisville. UConn was ranked 23rd in the USA Today coaches’ poll and 24th in the Associated Press poll. The Huskies fell out of both polls following a loss to North Carolina. During the 2008 season, UConn was ranked in the AP top 25 one week and received votes in ten of the other 16 polls. In the USA Today poll, UConn was ARV in every week but two.
UConn earned its first national rankings in 2007 as it appeared in four AP polls: 16 on Oct. 28, 16 on Nov. 14, 25 on Nov. 11 and 20 on Nov. 18. It also appeared in three USA Today polls: 20 on Oct. 28, 16 on Nov. 4 and 21 on Nov. 18.
UCONN VS. RANKED TEAMS
The November 7th game vs. Cincinnati marked the 16th time in school history that the Huskies faced a team ranked in the Associated Press poll at the time of the game. UConn’s only win in those 16 games came on Oct. 27, 2007 with a 22-15 win over No. 11 South Florida. UConn first played a ranked team in the 2001 season opener at No. 9 Virginia Tech. UConn has played the country’s top ranked team once when it travelled to Miami on Oct. 5, 2002.
FASTEST FROM DIVISION I-AA TO THE POLLS
SCHOOL I-A DEBUT FIRST RANKING
Marshall 1997 Two years, four weeks (9/12/99)
CONNECTICUT 2002 Five years, 10 weeks (10/28/07)
South Florida 2001 Six years, three weeks (9/9/07)
Boise State 1996 Six years, 13 weeks (11/10/02)
UCONN FOOTBALL A LEADER IN ACADEMICS
The UConn football program continues to be a leader in the BIG EAST Conference in terms of academic performance by its student-athletes. In the latest release of the NCAA Academic Performance Rate (APR) results, UConn was third among the eight football schools in the BIG EAST Conference with a mark of 951 - and just five points behind the second-highest team.
For the second-straight year, UConn was the top BIG EAST team in the NCAA's Graduation Success Rate (GSR) survey which released last week as it graduated 82 percent of incoming freshman enrolled from 1999-2002 using the NCAA's formula. The UConn football program also had the highest 2008 NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) for African-American student-athletes among all state universities that participated in a bowl game following the 2008 season.
Last year, the program was honored by the American Football Coaches Association for its graduation of student-athletes as part of its Academic Achievement Award program. This recognition was the fourth time in the past six years that the UConn program has been honored. UConn was also recognized by the AFCA in 2003, ’05 and ’07.
HUSKIES VS. THE BIG EAST
UConn owns an all-time mark of 16-24 in BIG EAST Conference games since joining the league for football in 2004.
The Huskies posted their best conference record with a 5-2 mark in 2007 after tallying a combined mark of 6-14 over their first three seasons in the league.
TWO BIG EAST ROAD WINS IS A SEASON HIGH
UConn owns an all-time mark of 4-16 in BIG EAST Conference road games, since joining the league in 2004, after the wins at Louisville and Syracuse and the losses at Rutgers and South Florida. The 2008 season marked the first time that UConn won more than one BIG EAST road game.
HUSKIES ON THE ROAD SINCE 2002
The Huskies have put together a 19-25 road record since 2002. In non-conference road affairs over that same span, Connecticut has posted a mark of 16-9 and has won eight of its last 10 such games, including this year’s wins over Ohio, Baylor and Notre Dame
HUSKIES VS. NON-CONFERENCE FOES SINCE 2002
Connecticut boasts a 37-16 record against non-conference opponents in the regular season since making the move to the FBS in 2002. The Huskies have won 12 of their last 15 regular season non-league games overall with the only blemishes coming via a one-point loss at Virginia (17-16) in 2007 and losses to North Carolina in 2008 and 2009.
UConn has posted the following records in non-conference games: 6-6 (2002), 9-3 (2003), 4-1 (2004), 3-1 (2005), 3-2 (2006), 4-1 (2007), 4-1 (2008), 4-1 (2009).
HUSKIES IN TEAM NCAA STATISTICS
Here are the categories where UConn is in the top 30 in the 2009 NCAA statistics:
Rushing Offense 39th at 176.91 (Third in BIG EAST)
Scoring Offense 20th at 32.36 (Second in BIG EAST)
Net Punting 15th at 38.21 (Second in BIG EAST)
Punt Returns 31st at 11.53 (Second in BIG EAST)
Kickoff Returns 6th at 26.72 (Second in BIG EAST)
Sacks 30th at 2.45 (Fifth in BIG EAST)
In addition, Jordan Todman is 25th in the country in rushing yards per game at 98.09 while Andre Dixon is 47th at 83.36. Robert McClain is tied for 32nd in interceptions at 0.36 per game along with teammate Robert Vaughn. Desi Cullen is 22nd in punting, and third in the BIG EAST, at 43.26 yards. Lindsey Witten is fifth in sacks at 1.05 per game. Lawrence Wilson is third in tackles.
TOUGH SLATE IN 2009 FOR HUSKIES
Three of UConn’s five non-conference opponents this fall are members of the BCS as the Huskies play North Carolina of the ACC, Baylor of the Big 12 and independent Notre Dame. UConn is one of just three schools who are members of a BCS conference to play three fellow BCS conference members out of league, joining Syracuse and Georgia.
HUSKIES IN THE NFL
UConn currently has 11 former players that are currently on NFL rosters as training camps continue. Last year, a total of six former Huskies were on active NFL rosters -- an all-time high for UConn. The 2009 NFL Draft made history again for the Huskies as four UConn players were selected in the first 63 selections. UConn is the only BIG EAST school to have four players picked that early since the league was reorganized in 2005. The veterans of the UConn group are both entering their fifth year in the league. Quarterback Dan Orlovsky is in his first season with the Houston Texans after spending his first four with the Detroit Lions.
Fullback Deon Anderson is in his third year with the Dallas Cowboys.
UConn currently has two second-year players on NFL rosters: offensive lineman Donald Thomas with the Miami Dolphins – a 2008 sixth round draft and defensive back Tyvon Branch of the Oakland Raiders – a fourth round pick. Danny Lansanah is on the practice squad for the Dolphins after being a free agent signee of the Green Bay Packers in 2008 and was placed on the 53-man roster in early October ‘08; UConn’s five NFL Rookies are: Donald Brown, a running back who was UConn’s first All-American in the BCS era and the Huskies’ first NFL First Round Draft Pick. He’s with the Indianapolis Colts.
There are three Huskies who were picked in the second round: Darius Butler with the New England Patriots, William Beatty with the New York Giants and Cody Brown with the Arizona Cardinals. Brown has already suffered a season-ending wrist injury. Julius Williams signed a free agent contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars last spring and made the team. Tyler Lorenzen also signed a free agent contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars and after being cut by the team has been picked up the New Orleans Saints and is on their practice squad.
Former UConn players released in 2009 are: Linebacker Alfred Fincher was in his second year with the Washington Redskins after playing his first three years with New Orleans; Fincher has since signed with the New York Sentinels of the United Football League. Also cut were ‘09 free agent signees: Keith Gray with the Carolina Panthers and Dahna Deleston by the Chicago Bears.
HUSKIES IN THE CFL
In addition, there are seven former Huskies that are playing in the Canadian Football League this year – O’Neill Wilson (British Columbia Lions) and Jordan Younger (Toronto Argonauts), are both six-year players in the league. Maurice Lloyd (Edmonton Eskimos) is in his fourth year in the league while Terry Caulley (Hamilton Tiger-Cats) is in his third; Shawn Mayne (Winnipeg Blue Bombers), in his third year, Larry Taylor (Montreal Alouettes) is in his second year while Martin Bedard (Montreal Alouettes) is a rookie.
Taylor played in the Grey Cup final last year and was named the CFL Special Team Player of the Week earlier this season.
SCOUT TEAM PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Each week head coach Randy Edsall issues an award for the Scout Team Players of the Week.
In recognition of their often-overlooked hard work, those players earn a spot on the Husky travel squad and the dress list for that week’s game.
Steve Greene (offense), Jerome Wiliams (defense), Matt Edwards (special teams)
Nick Williams (offense), Shamar Stephen (defense), Mark Hinkley (special teams)
Brian Parker (offense), David Kenney (defense), Malik Generett (special teams)
Malik Generett (offense), Chris Lopes (defense), Cole Wagner (special teams)
Malik Generett (offense), Tevrin Brandon (defense), Mark Hinkley (special teams)
Kevin Friend (offense), A.J. Portee (defense), Joss Tillard (special teams)
Kevin Poles (offense), Shamar Stephen (defense), Alex Folson (special teams)
Martin Hyppolite (offense), Emmanuel Omokaro (defense), Tim Willman (special teams)
Michael Box (offense), Tevrin Brandon (defense), James Healy (special teams)
Steve Greene (offense), Tevrin Brandon (defense), Marcus Aiken (special teams)
Steve Greene (offense), Shamar Stephen (defense), Mark Hinkley (special teams)
After each UConn victory, head coach Randy Edsall awards game balls for the team’s top performer on offense, defense and special teams. Here are this season’s game ball winners:
Andre Dixon (offense), Lindsey Witten (defense), Robbie Frey (special teams).
Andre Dixon (offense), Lawrence Wilson (defense), Desi Cullen, Japser Howard (special teams).
Cody Endres (offense), Robert McClain (defense), Trevardo Williams (special teams).
Marcus Easley (offense), Jasper Howard (defense), Desi Cullen (special teams).
Offensive line: M. Ryan, Kuraczea, Olivier, Petrus, Hurd, Hicks (offense), Kendall Reyes (defense), Jordan Todman (special teams)
Marcus Easley (offense), Lawrence Wilson (defense), Mike Lang, Anthony Sherman (special teams)
ACTIVE CAREER LEADERS:
Andre Dixon (5), Desi Cullen (4), Robbie Frey (4), Jasper Howard (4), Lawrence Wilson (4), Mike Hicks (3), Scott Lutrus (3), Marcus Easley (2), Robert McClain (2), Moe Petrus (2), Anthony Sherman (2), Anthony Davis, Cody Endres, Zach Hurd, Eric Kurzczea, Alex LaMagdelaine, Mke Lang, Mathieu Olivier, Kendall Reyes, Mike Ryan, Dave Teggart, Jordan Todman, Trevardo Williams, Lindsey Witten.
HUSKIES ON THE REBOUND
UConn is 23-14 in games following a loss since Oct. 26, 2002, including the Sept. 19 win over Baylor and the Oct. 17 game vs. Louisville and the losses to Rutgers and Cincinnati in the past two games.
BALL CONTROL IS THE KEY
A telling sign of UConn’s strong performance on both sides of the ball during its tenure as a FBS program has been its ability to both record and prevent long drives. Since the start of the 2002 season, UConn’s offense has strung together 71 scoring drives of at least 80 yards while the Husky defense has surrendered just 48 such marches – including two vs. West Virginia, Rutgers, and Syracuse and three vs. Cincinnati this season.
UConn also holds an 19-5 advantage over its opponents in the number of 90-yard and over drives since becoming a I-A program including a 91-yarder in the opener at Ohio, a 92-yarder vs. Rhode Island and a 90-yard vs. West Virginia) since becoming a I-A program.
HUSKIES DOMINATING ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BALL
Over the past 87 games, UConn has outgained its opponent 57 times, including the 2009 wins vs. Ohio, Baylor, Rhode Island and Louisville and the losses to West Virginia and Rutgers and 10 of 13 games in 2008.
This stretch, like many UConn trends, dates back to a 28-24 loss at Vanderbilt on Oct. 26, 2002.
CONNECTICUT’S FOUR CAPTAINS
The UConn team selected four team captains for the 2009 season, Desi Cullen, Robert McClain, Scott Lutrus and Anthony Sherman.
TODMAN AND DIXON ARE RUSHING DUO
Obviously, the UConn offense lost a lot of rushing power from last year with the departure of Donald Brown, who had 2,083 yards last year, in addition to Tyler Lorenzen with 284. However, the Huskies have seemed to not miss a beat in the rushing game. Sophomore Jordan Todman currently has 1079 yards of rushing this year and went over the 1,000 mark for 2009 with 123 vs. Syracuse on Saturday. He became the 11th Husky in history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. His 1,079 yards is currently ninth in school single-season history. Brown leads with 2,083 in 2008 while No. 8 is Billy Parks with 1,095 in 1983 and No. 7 is Wilbur Gilliard with 1,099 in 1993.
Todman’s 210 carries this season is ninth in school history (Brown leads again with 367 last year) and his 14 rushing TDs is tied for fifth.
Todman had an outstanding opening night against Ohio with 157 yards on 25 carries with a TD. The 157 yards was a careerhigh and the first 100-yard rushing game of his career.
For his efforts, Todman was named to the weekly BIG EAST Honor Roll.
Todman had 21 carries for 103 yards in the win over Baylor for his second career 100-yard game. Against West Virginia on Oct. 24, he was the team’s leading rusher as he had 20 carries for 94 yards and a TD.
He had a career-high 162 yards of rushing and a career-high with four TD vs. Cincinnati. He was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for his efforts against the Bearcats.
He was UConn’s top rusher in the win over Notre Dame with 26 carries for 130 yards, including a 43-yard TD run in the second quarter. Todman also had his first career kickoff return for a TD on Nov. 21 vs. Notre Dame with a 96-yard return in the third quarter. He was named the BIG EAST Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance.
Senior Andre Dixon rushed for 100 yards in the opening win over Ohio on 19 carries. He had a terrific game at Baylor when he had 149 yards on 31 carries for three touchdowns.
The three rushing touchdowns doubled his career total to six and were also the first rushing TDs of his collegiate career since 2007.
Dixon was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for his efforts against Baylor and again against Louisville on Oct. 17.
The Ohio game for Dixon was the most rushing yards in a single-game since he went for 167 in a win over South Florida on Oct. 27, 2007.
Dixon had 20 carries for 130 yards against Notre Dame on Nov. 21, includng the game-winning TD in overtime. Dixon now has eight career 100-yard rushing games. Dixon has 917 yards of rushing this season, for an average of 83.4 yards per game. Dixon needs 83 more yards to reach the 1,000 yard mark for the season.
UConn has had 11 rushers reach the 1,000 yard mark for the season in its history -- including Todman. The Huskies have never had two 1,000-yard rushers in the same season.
The Ohio, Baylor and Notre Dame performances marked the first time UConn had two 100-yard rushers in a game since Brown and D.J. Hernandez did it in an overtime win vs. Pittsburgh on Nov. 11, 2006.
YOUNG GUYS MAKE RECEPTIONS
Three different receivers led the way for UConn in the opener vs. Ohio with each one making two receptions. Two of those three players were in their first collegiate game.
Senior Andre Dixon had two for 26 yards -- while redshirt freshman Ryan Griffin had two for 20 and true freshman Dwayne Difton had two for seven.
Against Baylor, redshirt sophomore Isiah Moore had a career high four receptions for 76 yards and is now the leading Husky receiver on the season with seven grabs for 107 yards.
In the Rhode Island win, sophomore Michael Smith stepped up and made a career-high eight receptions for 82 yards.
Moore was again the leading receiver for the Huskies in terms of receptions vs. Pittsburgh with four catches for 36 yards. On Saturday, Moore had two catches for 44 yards vs. West Virginia -- including a 29-yarder.
Redshirt freshman Ryan Griffin led the Huskies in receptions vs. Rutgers on Saturday with six grabs for 80 yards.
EASLEY MAKING MOST OF SENIOR YEAR
UConn senior wide receiver Marcus Easley entered the Pittsburgh game on Oct. 10 with 130 career receiving yards -- and just 26 this season. He did not have a single receiving TD in his first 26 career games dating from 2007 through the first four games of 2009.
Over the last seven games, he has 705 yards of receiving and has seven TDs. He became the first Husky to have threestraight 100-yard receiving games in a row since Carl Bond in 1998.
Against Pitt, he had two receptions for 100 yards -- almost matching his career total.
The bulk of the yards came on a 79-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter from Cody Endres. The 79-yard pass was the longest for the Huskies since the 2004 season when they had a pair of 80-yard passes during the campaign.
Easley also had a 21-yard reception during the second half of the Pittsburgh game. On Oct. 17 vs. Louisville, he was back at it again with six receptions for 108 yards and one TD.
On Oct. 24 against West Virginia, he made five catches for 157 yards (a career-high) -- including an 88-yard TD reception in the fourth quarter.
On Oct. 31 against Rutgers, he had five catches for 81 yards with a 32-yard TD grab. On Nov. 7 vs. Cincinnati, he had six catches for 87 yards and a TD.
Over the last five games, he has 533 yards of receiving and has five TDs. He became the first Husky to have three-straight 100-yard receiving games in a row since Carl Bond in 1998.
In Saturday’s win over Notre Dame, he was the team’s leading receiver with four receptions for 67 yards.
On Saturday vs. Syracuse, he led the Huskies with six receptions for 105 yards with two TDs.
ENDRES HAS INJURY TO END SEASON
Cody Endres made his first collegiate start in a win over Cincinnati on October 25, 2008 at quarterback. The sophomore became UConn’s third starting quarterback of 2008 after injuries to Tyler Lorenzen (foot) and Zach Frazer (head).
Endres was 18 of 42 in the air for 196 yards and did not throw an interception. He also started the West Virginia game and was 17 of 37 for 166 yards.
Endres was called into action on Sept. 12 against North Carolina as Frazer was injured and was three-for-seven in the air for 30 yards.
He made his third career start on Saturday vs. Baylor and was an effective 12 of 23 for 147 yards and his fourth start against Rhode Island, where he was 23 for 30 for 289 yards and two TDs.
Endres continued to be the starting quarterback for UConn and was 17-of-23 vs. Pittsburgh for 197 yards -- including a 79-yard TD pass -- and was 14 of 21 for 273 yards and a TD vs. Louisville.
On Oct. 24 vs. West Virginia, he logged a career-best 25 completions with 378 yards -- another career-high. He had thrown for 40 yards on four completions before being injured in UConn’s game vs. Rutgers and is expected to miss the rest of the season.
FRAZER BACK ON THE FIELD
Zach Frazer made his collegiate debut in UConn’s win over Louisville in 2008 at quarterback for the Huskies. He came into the game late in the first half after starting QB Tyler Lorenzen suffered a broken foot.
Frazer was 11 of 24 in the air with two TDs and three interceptions in the opening night win over Ohio. The two TD passes match his entire number for all of 2008 as the Huskies had a total of five last year.
Frazer started the North Carolina and Rutgers games in 2007 for the Huskies at quarterback before suffering a head injury. He originally attended Notre Dame in 2006 and did not play for the Fighting Irish. He sat out 2007 as a transfer at UConn and finally returned to the playing field against Louisville.
He was eight of 15 in the air for 90 yards and a touchdown -- despite not having played in an organized football game since his high school senior year of 2005 in Mechanicsburg, Pa.
He had his best passing numbers vs. Rutgers with 236 yards and a touchdown.
Frazer began the 2009 season as UConn’s starting QB and led the Huskies to a win at Ohio. He was injured in the loss to North Carolina and missed the Baylor and Rhode Island games. He dressed for the Pittsburgh, Louisville and West Virginia games. He was called into action on Oct. 31 vs. Rutgers when Endres went down and was 21 of 46 for 333 yards, one TD and three interceptions.
He was back in the starting lineup on Nov. 7 vs. Cincinnati and was 19 of 32 for 261 yards and one TD. Against his former team on Nov. 21, Frazer was 12 of 25 with one interception and one TD pass for 141 yards in the win over Notre Dame.
Frazer was 13 of 21 for 173 yards with one interception and two TDs on Saturday vs. Syracuse.
DEFENSE AMONG THE NATION’S BEST
UConn’s defensive unit was amongst the best in the nation in 2007 and 2008. In 2008, the UConn scoring defense was ranked 22nd in the country and third in the BIG EAST at 19.77 points per game and was sixth in the nation and first in the BIG EAST in total defense, giving up just 278.00 yards per game. UConn was also first in the league in pass efficiency defense and ninth in the country.
VAUGHN HONORED BY BIG EAST
UConn senior safety Robert Vaughn was honored by the BIG EAST Conference this week as the league’s Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Pittsburgh game.
Vaughn had a pair of interceptions in the game, including one he returned 20 yards for a touchdown vs. Pittsburgh early in the second half.
Vaughn had his fourth interception of the season on Saturday vs. West Virginia, which gives him 13 for his career -- good for sixth place in Husky career history. Matt Latham is the leader with 18 from 1982-84.
WILSON LEADS THE WAY IN BIG EAST TACKLES
UConn junior linebacker Lawrence Wilson was honored by the BIG EAST Conference as the league’s Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Louisville as he had 16 tackles with half a sack and a tackle for a loss in the game.
Wilson is the leading tackler on the team with 130 stops and has 10 tackles for a loss and four sacks this year.
He leads the BIG EAST Conference in tackles this year at 11.8 per game.
Wilson was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll this week as he had 17 tackles with one sack in the win vs. Syracuse.
WITTEN FIFTH IN NATION IN SACKS
UConn senior Lindsey Witten has enjoyed outstanding games in the 2009 season. He had a strong-opening night for the Huskies against Ohio. He made his 10th career start and had three sacks for a total loss of 24 yards -- including a key defensive play that resulted in a safety to put the Huskies up 16-7.
For his efforts, Witten was named the BIG EAST Conference Defensive Player of the Week.
Witten had four sacks for a loss of 22 yards in the game vs. North Carolina on Sept. 12 and a sack in the win vs. Rhode Island.
He is currently fifth in the country in sacks per game. He was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll after the North Carolina game.
Witten had five tackles, including a sack against Notre Dame.
JOSEPH STARTS RIGHT AWAY
UConn freshman Jesse Joseph started his first career game for the Huskies on Saturday, Sept. 5 vs. Ohio at defensive end and made a pair of tackles. He became the first Husky to start as a true freshman in a season-opener since punter Shane Hussar in 2004.
Tailback Terry Caulley and fullback Deon Anderson both started the season-opener as true freshmen in 2005. Joseph became the first player to start the opening game as a true freshman on defense in the UConn FBS era – since 2002. Joseph was a January 2009 enrollee and had eight tackles in his second career game on Saturday vs. North Carolina. The defensive end spot on the left side is an inexperienced one as freshman Trevardo Williams is behind Joseph. Williams, also a January 2009 enrollee, made four tackles in his collegiate debut vs. Ohio with a sack and had a tackle vs. UNC.
LUTRUS LEADS THE WAY
UConn sophomore Scott Lutrus led the Huskies in tackles with 106 in 2008 and also had an interception and five pass break-ups. He missed the North Carolina game with an injury sustained vs. Ohio.
Lutrus was cleared to play in the Pittsburgh game and made three tackles before leaving the game in the first half with an injury. He missed the Louisville and West Virginia games. Lutrus returned to the Huskies starting lineup on Saturday vs. Rutgers and had six tackles. He had nine tackles vs. Cincinnati and 14 vs. Notre Dame.
As a redshirt freshman in 2007, he make an immediate impact at the strongside linebacker post. He was third on the squad with 107 tackles, eight of which were for a loss.
McCLAIN HAS EIGHT INTERCEPTIONS
Husky senior cornerback Robert McClain made his first start of the 2008 season on Nov. 15 vs. Syracuse in place of the injured Darius Butler. McClain made the most of his opportunity as he returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter of the game.
He was the leading tackler in the win over Buffalo in the International Bowl with eight stops and 3.5 tackles for a loss.
McClain has six tackles vs. UNC in 2009 with his first interception of the season and posted two against Rhode Island a career total of 10.
He had his 10th career interception for Louisville on Saturday and is now tied for ninth in school history.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
TEGGART ALREADY IN RECORD BOOK
Dave Teggart made his collegiate debut on Oct. 25, 2008 as the Huskies’ kicker and was an impressive four-for-four on field goals and also made four extra point attempts. Teggart hit on field goals of 26, 47, 32 and 22 yards. The 47- yarder was even more impressive considering it was kicked into a strong Rentschler Field wind. The four field goals tied a UConn single-game record with five other Husky kickers -- the most recent being Matt Nuzie against Toledo in the 2004 Motor City Bowl. Teggart finished the 2008 campaign with a 13 for 15 mark in the field goal department. The 15 field goals are tied for the fourth-highest in school history in the single-season department. He also hit a pair of field goals against West Virginia of 36 and 38 yards and had three field goals vs. Syracuse of 23, 37 and 21 yards.
Teggart was a two-time BIG EAST Special Teams Player of the Week -- earning the honor after the Cincinnati and Syracuse games.
He made the first 11 field goal attempts of his collegiate career and the 11-straight is already the longest streak in school history. Matt Nuzie made 10-straight in 2004.
Teggart is the first kicker in school history to successfully convert his first 11 field goal attempts.
This season, Teggart is a perfect 43 for 43 in the extra point department. The 43 extra points this season is tied for fifth in single-season UConn history.
CULLEN SEMIFINALIST FOR GUY AWARD
Senior Desi Cullen is one of 10 national semifinalists for the Ray Guy Award. He entered the 2009 season as the leading punter in school history in terms of average at 43.3 yards per boot.
He has a 43.8 yard average this year through 11 games with 21 of 53 punts inside the 20-yard line.
THREE KO RETURNS FOR TDS IN FOUR GAMES
True freshman Mike Lang returns a Syracuse kickoff 80 yards for a TD on Saturday in the first quarter to give UConn its third KO return for a TD in the past four games. Sophomore Jordan Todman had a 96-yard kickoff return for a TD vs. Notre Dame and sophomore Robby Frey had a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown vs. Rutgers -- the third in school history.
The 2009 season marks the first time in school history that UConn has had three KO returns for touchdowns. UConn had two in 2007, 1998 and 1975.
The Huskies moved into brand new Rentschler Field in East Hartford for the 2003 season with the stadium opening its doors on August 30 when UConn defeated Indiana, 34-10. Conveniently located within miles of Interstates 91, 84 and 384, the home of the Huskies lies on 75 acres of land donated to the State of Connecticut from the historic Pratt & Whitney Airfield. The stadium, like the former airfield, is named for that company’s founder, Frederick Rentschler. The stadium boasts a capacity of 40,000 with 38 luxury suites in a massive press box tower which helps enclose the natural grass field. While UConn football serves as the primary tenant, the facility also attracts other prominent events to Hartford. Rentschler Field hosted two concerts by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, one by the Rolling Stones and one by The Police. Several prominent international soccer contests have been played on the pitch at Rentschler Field, most notably a World Cup Qualifier between the United States and Trinidad & Tobago on Aug. 17, 2005.
A HOT TICKET
Swelling interest in the Husky football program as it gradually moved up into BIG EAST play can perhaps be best evidenced by the rise in attendance.
UConn sold 28,000 season tickets in 2008 and sold its entire allotment of student season tickets at 4,700. The opening game against Hofstra saw over 5,000 Husky students attend the game.
These figures are staggering sums considering that the entire 2001 season ticket base was around 4,000. In 2002, the number reached 11,300 in the final season of Memorial Stadium. The burgeoning season ticket base more than doubled to 24,000 for the inaugural season at Rentschler Field and rose to 28,000 a year later in 2004. UConn reached an all-time high of 32,000 season tickets in 2005.
SELLOUTS THE NORM
The Huskies have sold out 26 of their first 44 dates at Rentschler Field, including a stretch of 12 in a row.
UConn has played to 96.5-pct. of capacity all-time there, drawing 1,698,336 fans, or an average of 38,598 per game.
RENTSCHLER FIELD PROVES FRIENDLY FOR HUSKIES
The Huskies went 7-0 at home in 2007 at Rentschler Field and 4-2 in 2005 after compiling a 6-1 home record in 2004.
UConn’s 3-4 mark at home in 2006 was its only sub-.500 record at Rentschler Field. The seven home wins in 2007 set a school record for a single season which was previously set in 2004. In the process, the Huskies joined the 1993 West Virginia Mountaineers as the only BIG EAST schools to ever post a perfect 7-0 home record. UConn presently stands at 32-12 all-time at Rentschler Field including a 19-4 mark in non-conference games.
MICHIGAN, TENNESSEE AMONG THOSE COMING TO RENTSCHLER FIELD IN THE FUTURE
UConn has recently finalized an agreement with the University of Michigan for a home-and-home football series in the 2010 and 2013 seasons. UConn will travel to Ann Arbor on Sept. 4, 2010 to play in Michigan Stadium while the Wolverines will come to Rentschler Field on Sept. 21, 2013 to take on the Huskies. UConn will also play a home-and-home series with Tennessee beginning in 2015 with the Volunteers coming to Rentschler Field on Sept. 26 with a return trip to Knoxville on Sept. 3, 2016. Other upcoming non-conference opponents coming to Rentschler Field include Vanderbilt (2010), Iowa State (2011), North Carolina State (2012) and Maryland (2013). By the conclusion of the 2010 season, UConn will have played host to non-conference opponents from the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 10, Big XII and Southeastern conference at Rentschler Field.