Tag:Connecticut
Posted on: October 23, 2010 4:20 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2010 5:12 pm
 

Syracuse just turned the Big East upside down

Posted by Chip Patterson

And just like that, the Big East has been blown wide open.  

We figured that it could happen, just weren't all that positive that it would.  But with Syracuse's 19-14 victory, West Virginia has been knocked off their post as the Big East front runner and the conference is now up for grabs.  Syracuse forced West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith into three first half interceptions that the Orange turned into points, and the Mountaineers weren't able to climb back from the halftime deficit.  In fact, after a very exciting back and forth first half of play, neither team scored scored a point after the break.  

Syracuse dominated West Virginia on the ground, racking up 183 rushing yards on one of the best statistical defenses in the nation.  Running back Delone Carter left the game in the second quarter with a hip injury after racking up 75 yards, but backup Antwon Bailey was just as effective for the Orange.  Bailey carried 19 times for 94 yards, career high's in both categories, and Syracuse shed a new light on the Mountaineer squad that many had already penciled in for the conference title. 

Pittsburgh has now jumped into the conference lead with their 41-21 dismantling of Rutgers.  After the 2-0 Panthers stand Syracuse, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Rutgers, Connecticut and Louisville as teams with one loss.  That list will be shortened after the completion of the Huskies-Cardinals game, but the argument will still be valid for 3/4 of the conference to be considered legitimate contenders.

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Posted on: October 20, 2010 4:36 pm
 

UConn QB suspended 2010-2011 academic year

Posted by Chip Patterson

Connecticut quarterback Cody Endres had just settled into his new first-string role after his second start of the 2010 season in the 27-24 loss to Rutgers.  Endres took over in the middle of the Buffalo game, after another unsuccessful half by Zach Frazer.  Endres helped the Huskies rattle off two straight 40+ point performances before the loss at Rutgers.  But instead of spending this week preparing to take on Louisville, head coach Randy Edsall will be forced to do yet another quarterback shuffle.  

On Wednesday, the university announced that Endres had been suspended from the football team for a violation of University policies.  The suspension will last for the entire 2010-2011 academic year, which will last through spring practice as well.  Endres' suspension is rumored to be in relation to the school's substance abuse policy, but the neither the athletic department nor Edsall offered further comment on the issue.  

What does this mean for the Huskies offense?  Frazer could reclaim his starting role, but he is the third-string quarterback according to the current depth chart.  It could mean the first career start for redshirt freshman Michael Box.  Box has only attempted five passes on his career, all during mop-up duty against Texas Southern.  

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Posted on: October 11, 2010 9:02 am
Edited on: October 11, 2010 9:06 am
 

What I learned from the Big East (Oct. 9)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1. West Virginia...And Everyone Else - There were concerns regarding West Virginia's offensive capabilities with a banged-up Noel Devine in the lineup, but after the 445 yards of total offense amassed in the Mountaineers 49-10 victory over UNLV, many of those concerns have been laid to rest.  Quarterback Geno Smith completed 12 of 16 passes for 220 yards and connected with wide receiver Brad Starks for three touchdowns to lead the Mountaineers, and for the first time in eight games the offense did not commit a single turnover.  While the Mountaineers have yet to play a conference game, the eye test would suggest that Bill Stewart's squad is running at a different speed than the rest of the conference at this point in the season.
  
2. Rutgers Might Have A QB Controversy On Their Hands - Rutgers' seemingly annual nail-biter with Connecticut revealed a new hero in Piscataway in the likes of true freshman quarterback Chas Dodd.  With starting quarterback Tom Savage out with a hand injury, Dodd let if loose through the air for 322 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.  Savage led the offense for the most of his time at Rutgers, but has struggled so far in the 2010 season.  His only touchdown came in the Scarlet Knights' 31-0 season opening victory against Norfolk State.  Head coach Greg Schiano will have a difficult decision moving forward choosing between the two young signal callers.

3. (Hold Your Breath) Syracuse Is Leading The Big East - Granted, the Orange have yet to play much of anything that resembles a formidable opponent, but Syracuse is in first place nonetheless.  The 4-1 Orange held strong against B.J. Daniels and the South Florida Bulls, not allowing a single offensive touchdown in their 13-9 victory.  One of the reasons has been the success of the running game.  Running back Delone Carter is among the league's leading rushers at 104.8 yards per game, and against South Florida he and backup junior Antwon Bailey combined for 186 yards on the ground.  Syracuse may not be ready to start thinking Big East title, but they will have a very good shot to make their first postseason appearance since 1999. 

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Posted on: September 28, 2010 5:05 pm
 

UConn dealing with arrests, QB shake up

Posted by Chip Patterson

The Connecticut Huskies (2-2) are having trouble staying out of the headlines for the wrong things as they prepare to take on Vanderbilt on Saturday in East Hartford.  Head coach Randy Edsall was forced to make a midgame quarterback change against Buffalo, pulling two-year starter Zach Frazer after an unproductive first half that saw only 94 yards, one scoring drive, and an interception.  Edsall replaced him with junior Cody Endres, who led the Huskies to two quick scores and eventually a 45-21 win.

Now, preparing for Vanderbilt on Saturday, Endres has assumed the starting position and Frazer has found himself demoted to third string, with redshirt freshman Michael Box listed as the second string quarterback.  But the issues for the Huskies are not just on the field.

Junior kicker Dave Teggart and sophomore linebacker Jerome Williams were arrested early Tuesday morning for breach of security, according to reports the players were fighting each other.  

UConn police were called to a report of a fight in the parking lot of the French Building at the Hilltop Apartment complex on the Storrs campus just before 12:30 a.m.

Teggart and Williams were taken into custody and released on $500 bonds.

Edsall said in his Tuesday news conference that both players have a strong chance of playing against Vanderbilt on Saturday and the issue would be handled internally.  

"It will be handled internally and I hope they take that aggression on the field to the other people rather than themselves," Edsall said. "Nowadays, as well all know, when there's a little spat, they don't just tell you to go home or anything like that. Now you get arrested, written up for breach of peace."

The Huskies have backloaded their schedule, playing all seven of their conference games to finish the season.  So there is still plenty of time for them to hit the "reboot" button in East Hartford.  The way the Big East has performed so far this season, there could be an argument made for six or seven teams to all finish near the top of the conference.  Connecticut will need to find some consistency if they want to continue to be a part of that argument.

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Posted on: September 28, 2010 5:05 pm
 

UConn dealing with arrests, QB shake up

Posted by Chip Patterson

The Connecticut Huskies (2-2) are having trouble staying out of the headlines for the wrong things as they prepare to take on Vanderbilt on Saturday in East Hartford.  Head coach Randy Edsall was forced to make a midgame quarterback change against Buffalo, pulling two-year starter Zach Frazer after an unproductive first half that saw only 94 yards, one scoring drive, and an interception.  Edsall replaced him with junior Cody Endres, who led the Huskies to two quick scores and eventually a 45-21 win.

Now, preparing for Vanderbilt on Saturday, Endres has assumed the starting position and Frazer has found himself demoted to third string, with redshirt freshman Michael Box listed as the second string quarterback.  But the issues for the Huskies are not just on the field.

Junior kicker Dave Teggart and sophomore linebacker Jerome Williams were arrested early Tuesday morning for breach of security, according to reports the players were fighting each other.  

UConn police were called to a report of a fight in the parking lot of the French Building at the Hilltop Apartment complex on the Storrs campus just before 12:30 a.m.

Teggart and Williams were taken into custody and released on $500 bonds.

Edsall said in his Tuesday news conference that both players have a strong chance of playing against Vanderbilt on Saturday and the issue would be handled internally.  

"It will be handled internally and I hope they take that aggression on the field to the other people rather than themselves," Edsall said. "Nowadays, as well all know, when there's a little spat, they don't just tell you to go home or anything like that. Now you get arrested, written up for breach of peace."

The Huskies have backloaded their schedule, playing all seven of their conference games to finish the season.  So there is still plenty of time for them to hit the "reboot" button in East Hartford.  The way the Big East has performed so far this season, there could be an argument made for six or seven teams to all finish near the top of the conference.  Connecticut will need to find some consistency if they want to continue to be a part of that argument.

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Posted on: September 20, 2010 7:26 pm
 

Big East has one more week to justify existence

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Big East is an automatic BCS-qualifying conference, and as one of the six "power" conference, they are afforded a certain amount of respect. Thus, we owe it to the conference and its members to begin this entry with a compliment. So here it goes: The Big East is three games over .500 against all competition this year.

And that's about it. Because even that lackluster 12-9 record among the eight Big East teams is misleading. For one, every single team is 1-0 against FCS competition. So, good news, Big East: if the conference as a whole were to be relegated tomorrow (unlikely as that may be), they'd be very good all of a sudden. Against the FBS, though, not so much; the Big East is 4-9 overall, which includes a 3-3 record against teams that aren't even in automatic-qualifier conferences. For example, Connecticut lost to Temple last week. By 14 points.

That brings us to the meat of the Big East's resume, and that's play against quality competition. It almost couldn't possibly be worse. The conference is 1-8 against BCS conference teams. Only West Virginia -- who beat a truly miserable Maryland team last Saturday -- has such a win under its belt. That, friends, is poor performance nonpareil.

If that's all going to change in the Big East's favor at all this season, it's going to have to be this weekend; Miami visits Pitt on Thursday, Oklahoma travels to Cincinnati, West Virginia is at LSU, and Rutgers hosts North Carolina. Four difficult -- but winnable -- games against high-profile competition. Among the four listed games, WhatIfSports.com only gives Pitt better than even odds to come away with a victory, so don't be terribly surprised if the conference can't break even against its "real" competition this weekend.

If there's one saving grace to all of this, it's that a conference is usually judged by its highest achievers. The SEC has always been able to rest its laurels on the members who would run through the conference undefeated, for example, because those teams almost always win their national championship games that await. Nobody would demean a conference that could produce a 14-0 Alabama team if that Crimson Tide runs through 14-0 Texas as happened last year, after all. So, West Virginia now has a similar opportunity. While we're not positive that even an undefeated Mountaineers team is guaranteed a BCS Championship berth, they will certainly face high competition during bowl season when that time comes (even if they drop a game between now and then). Win that matchup, and people will pay less and less attention to the cupcakes littering the Mountaineers' conference path.

Posted on: September 5, 2010 5:23 pm
Edited on: September 5, 2010 7:21 pm
 

GOATs and Goats, Week 1

Posted by Adam Jacobi

GOAT*: Denard Robinson. Michigan's electric quarterback Denard Robinson thrilled fans at the Big House, completing 19 of 22 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 197 more yards and another score. Robinson even shook off a third-quarter hip injury, returning after just one series. Robinson's performance was downright seismic: it likely drove backup Tate Forcier to transfer, and it's the type of on-field brilliance around which Heisman candidacies are built. Of course, it was against UConn, and Michigan will not play UConn for every game; if they did, Jim Delany would be fired immediately. But it's hardly a guarantee that Terrelle Pryor can outperform Robinson over the course of the season, and last we checked, Terrelle Pryor was basically the nation's best Heisman candidate coming into week 1.

Goat: Mike Pouncey. Florida's season debut against Miami University--the one that's in Ohio, mind you, and went 1-11 last year--was almost a disaster of the highest order. Yes, Florida won 34-12, but that was a rather deceptive final score--Florida converted a 4th and 21 touchdown near the end of the game to push the margin to 22, and Miami was within 9 points in the 4th quarter (and that's without scoring a single touchdown).

Don't let the 34-point tally fool you: Florida struggled mightily on offense, and the primary culprit was Mike Pouncey, who had moved from guard to center to take over for his brother Maurkice, a first round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers this spring. Pouncey was an unmitigated disaster at center: ESPN announcers counted over a dozen botched snaps, usually out of the shotgun, and the dropped snaps usually killed whatever momentum Florida was trying to sustain against a young but aggressive defense.

Pouncey's unlikely to last more than one more game at center; if he even makes it to the South Florida game, it's because his inevitable replacement needs another week to work on his timing with QB John Brantley. But Pouncey's struggles were some of the worst we've ever seen from a center, and Urban Meyer has never been patient with ineptitude from his players.

GOAT: Jack Crowe. The Jacksonville State Gamecocks pulled one of the most unlikely upsets in years with a 49-48 comeback stunner at Ole Miss, and for head coach Jack Crowe, the irony must have been delicious. 18 years ago, Crowe was on the other end of the "I-AA team beats SEC team" when his Arkansas Razorbacks were upset by the Citadel, 10-3. Crowe was fired just the next day.

Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt probably won't suffer the same immediate indignity as Crowe did 18 years ago, mainly because I-AA teams are far more capable of beating their I-A opponents than 18 years ago, when these types of games were such mere formalities en route to 60-point margins that they didn't even count toward bowl eligibility. But this loss--especially after Jeremiah Masoli was granted eligibility the day prior--may prove fatal to Nutt's career in Oxford at season's end.

Goat: the Oklahoma secondary. Any talk of Oklahoma as a national title contender should be tabled indefinitely, if the Sooners's disturbing 31-24 victory over Utah State is any indication of how they'll perform this season. The USU Aggies--generally considered a middle-of-the-road WAC team--rode a 341-yard, 2 TD performance by quarterback Diondre Borel to rack up 421 yards of offense. The Aggies even had the ball in Oklahoma territory midway through the fourth quarter, but the Sooners defense stiffened and pushed USU back to the 33 before the Aggies missed a 50-yard field goal. Still, this is Utah State we're talking about here.

Oklahoma has Florida State coming to Norman next week, and while it's not like Christian Ponder's about to throw 4 TDs in a half again like he did to Samford this week, it sure seems like he's going to find a porous secondary to shred--not the stout defense that typifies a BCS champion. So, Sooners. It's either shut down Ponder or watch your title dreams get eaten by scorpions. No pressure.


*Greatest Of All Time, natch.

 
 
 
 
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