McEntee Produces for UConn

Johnny McEntee has been Connecticut's starting quarterback the first four games of the season. But after leading the Huskies to 17-3 victory over Buffalo Saturday night, it appears McEntee finally has emerged as the official choice of the UConn coaching staff.

The three-headed monster may be dead.

UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni said Sunday that McEntee "played his best game" against Buffalo and has "separated himself" from Scott McCummings and Mike Nebrich. McEntee threw his first two touchdown passes of the season and was not intercepted.

"He was able to make some key plays in the pass game," Pasqualoni said. "He avoided the rush on a couple of occasions and made one first down with his feet. He made some good decisions. Not perfect, but made some good decisions. And I think he's got something to build on at this point.

"He's clearly separated himself and put himself in the position to really move forward. We'll see what kind of week he is able to put together."

McEntee was 12-for-21 with 213 passing yards. He threw TD passes to Nick Williams and Mark Hinkley and also connected on a 64-yard pass play to Williams that set up the Hinkley touchdown. McEntee was sacked twice but rushed six times for 10 yards.

Nebrich started the second quarter at quarterback and threw one incompletion. McCummings picked up seven yards on five carries. Neither had much of an opportunity to get anything going.

"We went in with the same approach with Mike starting the second quarter," Pasqualoni said. "Mike didn't do anything wrong."

Pasqualoni said Buffalo's defensive scheme, with nine or 10 players on the line trying to stop the run, led him back to McEntee.

"We went back to the theory of ‘Let's use the older guy' and try to establish some continuity here," he said. "So we went with Johnny and Johnny produced. At the end of the night, it's based on production."

Beyond the improvement at quarterback, it appears UConn (2-2) may be without one of its top defensive players Saturday when Western Michigan (2-2) visits Rentschler Field. The Broncos lost 23-20 at Illinois Saturday.

Here is other news from Pasqualoni during his conference call Sunday:

  • Injured cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson will likely need a MRI early this week to determine the nature of his knee injury. Wreh-Wilson was injured late in the first half and spent the second half sidelined on crutches.

    "I haven't gotten a full report but my sense is there is going to be an MRI done on him and we may not be able to get that done until early in the week," Pasqualoni said. "I'll hold off on what that situation is until I'm 100 percent sure of what I'm saying."

    Wreh-Wilson was having an outstanding game before the injury. He had six tackles, including four solos, and had two pass breakups.

  • Safety Jerome Junior, who did not travel to Buffalo, was back with the team Sunday. Junior was suspended one game for an unspecified team rule violation. "We start over again, so he's up today," Pasqualoni said. "He'll be at the facility and he'll be at the team meeting."

  • Defensive end Jesse Joseph made an impact in his first game of the season. After missing the first three games with an injury, Joseph had five tackles – all of them solo. He also had a quarterback hurry.

    "Jesse helped us," Pasqualoni said. "As the night went on, I thought we got more active and better and I think Jesse kind of got into it. I thought we played a little more active defensively in the second half. It was great to have him back and to get him involved."

    Pasqualoni said the game ball from the victory went to the entire defensive unit.

  • Pasqualoni, on getting stuck in the hotel elevator for almost an hour before the game: "You know, of all the elevators I've ever been up and down, that's the first that's ever happened. So that was my turn, hopefully. The next one will be someone else's turn."

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