Emotional Lift for Huskies

At this point in the football season, one game can make a big difference in the standings. Connecticut could see that after Saturday's 16-10 victory over South Florida in the home conference opener for the Huskies.

Now 1-1 in Big East play, the Huskies (3-4 overall) leapfrogged from last place in the Big East to the middle of the pack – and just one game behind first-place Rutgers (2-0).

"There weren't a lot of Big East games [Saturday]," coach Paul Pasqualoni said after the game. "We're at 1-1 at that gives us a chance to stay alive in the conference. It's a big conference game. Every one of them is critical. They're precious. It's a great feeling to be where we are right now."

The Huskies are tied for fourth with Pittsburgh behind Rutgers and Cincinnati and West Virginia (both 1-0). UConn and Pitt will get a chance to break that tie but they must wait until Oct. 26 – that's right, it's a Wednesday night game on ESPN.

"It's not really a bye week," Pasqualoni said. "We'll have a normal Sunday and a normal Monday, which is their day off. We're going to give them one extra day off on Wednesday, then we'll go to the next Wednesday when we play. We have a legit open week prior to the Louisville game (Nov. 19). To me this is just a couple of days, and then play."

Here are some thoughts Pasqualoni shared during his "day after" teleconference with the media on Sunday.

On the poor protection for quarterback Johnny McEntee, who was sacked seven times (five of those coming in the first half): "I think that [USF] came with some pressures, some blitzes that we had not seen in preparation for this game. On at least two of them early in the game they kind of got us on it. That was a little bit of an issue. On another we were just caught by surprise and didn't get the ball out. I thought we had a chance to get the ball out on one of them and just flat out got surprised on it. There were a couple of others I thought we may have been able to avoid but kind of got trapped back there. They had a total of seven sacks for minus 39 yards, which is a lot. We're going to have to do a better job with it. Maybe we prepare as we go into each week for what ifs. We saw a little bit of that against West Virginia. In my opinion people are trying to pressure us a little bit more. We're going to need to be prepared for blitzes a little big more. Or maybe that's because we are inexperienced at the quarterback position."

Who got game balls?:"We're giving game balls this week to Kendall Reyes (4 tackles, 3 solo, 1 tackle for loss) and Dave Teggart (field goals of 18-, 46- and 28-yards)."

On dominating the time of possession (34:26 to 25:34): "At halftime I think we had only 22 plays on defense. So the defense being on the sideline in the first half was a big key. We didn't come up with a lot of points, but we had a lot of minutes of possession. We talked about time of possession going into the game and that the offense had to do their part in keeping the ball away from [USF quarterback] B.J. Daniels and that offense. The third down production is still not where we want it to be. But it was 7 of 18 so we moved in a positive direction there."

On Byron Jones, who has moved from safety to cornerback: "I thought he played pretty consistent football in this game as a corner. The fact he played safety in one game and made plays, and he's played corner in two others, gives you an idea of the kid's versatility. He's only a redshirt freshman. I think he has what I would call position flexibility. That's great to have. It really helps the team."

On the possibility of Blidi Wreh-Wilson (knee injury) returning for the Pitt game: "I don't know that yet. That's a good question. We'll find out a little more here as we work in on Tuesday. We'll see a little bit more of where Blidi might be. So I won't have an answer for that until probably Thursday."


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