UConn Hoping to Avoid Roadblock

UConn has thrust itself back into the Big East race with home victories over West Virginia and Pittsburgh, but must now go on the road where historically the sledding has been tough.

Since conference realignment in 2005, UConn is 13-7 (.650) at home in Big East play, but a paltry 3-16 (.158) on the road. That's a difference of .492 percentage points, which is by far and away the largest disparity in the conference. Louisville is next at -.300 (.600 home, .300 away), followed by South Florida at -.251 (.632,.381), West Virginia at -.192 (.842,.650), Pitt at -.176 (.650,.474), Rutgers at -.132 (.632,.500), and Cincinnati at -.032 (.632,.600).

Only Syracuse has a higher winning percentage on the road (.238) than at home (.150). Perhaps that's some good news for the Huskies to hang their hats on this week. It's also worth noting that Syracuse is 4-2 in conference this season, but all four wins have come on the road. Furthermore, UConn's last road Big East victory came on November 15th, 2008, vs none other than Syracuse. The Huskies have won in the dome before.

Overall on the season UConn is 5-0 at home and 0-4 on the road, including a couple of ugly losses to last place Rutgers and MAC member Temple. Randy Edsall has said they don't prepare any differently for away games but certainly something is missing when this team goes on the road. The true mark of a good football is a team that goes on the road and wins. The Huskies have yet to learn how to do that.

One reason to be positive if you're a UConn fan is the team is most definitely playing looser. The Huskies appeared tight earlier in the season, perhaps not ready to perform under the expectations some heaped on them in the preseason. If body language is any indicator, UConn is at a season high in confidence right now. They'll need to take that swagger with them to Syracuse if they are to pull off their third upset victory in as many games.

More good news for the Huskies is along with their new found confidence they'll be bringing the Big East's most productive running back to Syracuse. Jordan Todman rushed for 222 yards vs Pittsburgh, a team that had not allowed a 100 yard rusher on the season. He leads the league in rushing yards per game with 147, which ranks him second nationally behind Oregon's LaMichael James. Todman has had good success vs Syracuse in each of the two times he's faced them. In 2008 he carried 6 times for 78 yards and a touchdown and last season he carried 25 times for 123 yards and a touchdown. If he and the offensive line play anything like they played against Pittsburgh last week, it's going to be a long night for the Orange.

If the Huskies are going to stay in the hunt for the 2010 title, they'll have to buck the trend because two of UConn's remaining three games are on the road, and realistically they have to win out for a chance at the title. Following this weekend's game with Syracuse, the Huskies will host Cincinnati then finish the regular season at South Florida, a place they've never won. UConn must get some consistency on the road if they want to move from the lower half of the Big East to the upper echelon. A win over Syracuse this weekend would certainly be a nice place to start.


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