UConn's Upset Adds to Rentschler Mystique

The message to UConn's opposition is clear : You don't want to visit the Rent at night. Since opening the building in 2003 the Huskies are an impressive 38-12 (.760) at home. When the lights go on, it gets even worse for the visitors.

In games starting at 3PM or later (all of which finished under darkness), the Huskies are 16-4 (.800) at home, and have not lost a night game since 2006 (West Virginia). UConn has won its last ten home night games.

Night games have always had a special feel at the Rent. Or maybe it's just the results that make the place special. Maybe it's both.

There was UConn's first ever Big East victory in 2004. A Thursday night thriller where Dan Orlovksy threw for 243 yards and Cornell Brockington rushed for 185 yards as the Huskies announced to the league, and to the nation that they had arrived by downing Pitt 29-17.

On a Friday night in 2005 the Huskies downed the storied Syracuse Orange for the first time ever, when D.J. Hernandez, in relief of an injured Matt Bonislawksi, rushed for 86 yards and a score. Later that year UConn defeated bowl-bound USF in the Huskies first ever appearance on ABC. Big Lou Allen ran for 101 yards, and a youthful Darius Butler returned a kick-off 90 yards for a score.

Against Pittsburgh in 2006, with the Huskies trailing 31-17 heading into the fourth quarter, and the stadium starting to empty, D.J. Hernandez and Donald Brown led the Huskies to 14 fourth quarter points and a scintillating 46-45 double overtime come-from-behind victory. Randy Edsall's call to go for two and the win was the difference and the Husky faithful once again celebrated into the night.

Who could forget 2007? Larry Taylor's fair catch punt return touchdown and Andre Dixon's game winning touchdown run with under two minutes to play, as the Huskies knocked off Brian Brohm's Louisville Cardinals for the first time ever. And what about UConn's first ever win over a ranked opponent the following week? Linebacker Greg Robinson's sack of Matt Grothe on a third and goal play and Grothe's fourth down pass sailing out of the back of the end zone. Moments later thousands of fans flooded the field.

This season the ghosts of the Rent haven't disappointed. There was UConn's first ever win over West Virginia in front of a spirited Friday night crowd, and then there was Thursday night's classic back and forth match-up between Pitt and UConn; two teams that had battled to a 3-3 head to head record over the past six seasons. Fueled by Nick Williams' 95 yard kickoff return touchdown, Jordan Todman's 222 yards rushing and Randy Edsall's gutsy fourth and one call from his own 19 yard line, the Huskies ran their night game home winning streak to ten.

16-4, and ten in row. That's not a trend, it's rock solid evidence. When the sun sets in East Hartford, special things happen for the Huskies. Special things indeed.


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