Huskies Still Have Goals

STORRS – Three days after losing to Louisville and being mathematically eliminated from the Big East Conference championship race, the sound of disappointment remained in the voices of Connecticut football players on Tuesday.

But the Huskies say they have turned the page and are looking forward to playing Rutgers (8-3, 4-2) Saturday at Rentschler Field. The Scarlet Knights have developed into one of UConn's biggest rivals for a variety of reasons. The two teams have played some tense and tight games recently and the Huskies haven't defeated Rutgers since 2007.

Rutgers remains in the hunt for the Big East's BCS bid. UConn (4-6, 2-3) can still become bowl eligible by winning its last two games. And for 13 UConn seniors, Saturday will be the final home game of their careers.

"In the locker room after the [Louisville loss] it was a little bit heartbreaking, but I have to give it to the guys in there and the captains; the morale is pretty good in there right now," senior kicker Dave Teggart said Tuesday. "We're trying to make a bowl. We want to beat this Rutgers team and pay them back for what happened last year.

"Any Big East team is a rival for us. Obviously, Rutgers is close to us in geography but I think the fact that the games have always been close makes it more of a rivalry for us."

Last year San San Te kicked a 34-yard field goal field goal with 13 seconds remaining to give the Scarlet Knights a 27-24 victory over UConn at Rutgers Stadium. The Huskies led 24-17 at the half but couldn't get anything going offensively in the second half.

"It's just something about [Rutgers]," said senior center Moe Petrus, who has been looking forward to this game all season. "They look down on us. We drive there when we go to them, so it feels like a cross-town game almost. I'm just looking forward to it."

When the season is over, the Huskies – especially the seniors – will look back at the 34-20 loss to Louisville as a lost opportunity. There were dropped passes and missed tackles that will haunt this UConn for a long time.

Coach Paul Pasqualoni said it is time to forget about the Louisville game – and the possibilities that slipped out of reach.

"We have two games to go," Pasqualoni said. "We are 4-6. We can end this regular season on a positive note, which would be a great accomplishment and a great achievement. [The players] know that and they'll understand that. We had a very disappointing Saturday, but that game is over. At the end of the day, we've got to move on."

This is Pasqualoni's first year with the Huskies and he hasn't lined up against Rutgers since his days at Syracuse. But he can tell the UConn players are going about business with some added intensity this week.

"I think [having never beaten Rutgers] it is motivation," Pasqualoni said. "It has to be. Rutgers is a metropolitan team. We're a metropolitan team. A lot of [UConn players] know the Rutgers players. Everybody knows each other. It's exciting. At this time of the year, to be able to play a team in your geographic region is interesting. It should be a real good college football game."


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