by: Jimmy St. Louis
UCONN game and game week two We prepared for the University of Connecticut this week. They are a good team with NFL prospects all over the field. Apparently, ESPN said that they would be one of the surprise teams to watch this season. They have a great defensive end and a couple of good linebackers. Our game plan was to come out at them hard with some different plays, and then get back to our basics. As a result, we had a solid week of focused practice going into the game.
We flew into Hartford, Connecticut, early on Friday. That gave us plenty of down time, which was great in preparation for the game. We arrived at the stadium two hours before the game to go through our individual pre-game rituals.
We played really hard in the first half. They got the ball first, and our defense played them hard. They still managed to put a drive together and score on us first; however, we answered back with a couple of good plays down the field. On the second play of the game, I caught a long corner route right on our sidelines before stepping out of bounds. A couple of plays later, Danny Rumley caught a long ball all the way down field over two defenders. It was another awesome catch that helped us march down the field. We punched it in on the next play.
Our defense played great the whole game except for a couple of plays. They held UCONN to 14 points in the first half, which was good considering the quarterback that they have. Nick Turner returned another kick for a touchdown, but this one was on a kickoff return. Once again, he showed some wheels.
Our defensive line played their hearts out, and I was really proud of them. Marcus White played well along with our defensive tackle, Greg Archer (who played the game of his life).
The second half was a different story. UCONN came out ready to roll, and it looked like we were almost too satisfied with the first half. Their quarterback really showed that he is one of the best in the country. They had four great plays in the second half that set them apart from us. They were all long plays, from 60 to 80 yards. If you take out those four plays, the defense played great. They forced the quarterback to throw two interceptions, and he made several other passes off balance; however, we ended up losing 52-14 despite our 14-14 tie at half time. I think that we just ran out of steam, but that happens when you have fewer guys on scholarship.
On an individual note, I played very well against one of the best defensive ends and some of the best linebackers in the country. I feel like I really proved I could be one of the best tight ends in the country regardless of the division. I played a hard, physical game. I was really happy that I stepped up and met the challenge head on. I had several knockdowns, and I played to the whistle and beyond every single play. I feel like I really made some huge strides, and I am coming closer to accomplishing my goal of establishing myself as one of the best 5 tight ends in the country.
All in all, we really showed some sparks in this game. If we can play every game like we did the first half of this one, we will win many games."