"That was the rush of my life right there," running back Martin Hyppolite said.
UConn was on the 50-yard line, facing a third-and-one situation. Hyppolite lined up at tailback with no other thought than to pick up the first down, but instead bust loose for a 50-yard touchdown run.
Once he saw his opening, he started thinking about the end zone.
"Basically I was focused on getting that one yard for the first down, but everything was blocked up," said Hyppolite. "I saw daylight and I just had to hit the hole."
One of the most important blocks came from running back Lyle McCombs. McCombs was lined up at fullback and threw the lead block for Hyppolite, and that's an unusual role for McCombs.
"I made the block as best I could, the hole opened up and he took off and finished the run," McCombs said. "That was a great job of him finishing the run because that was a great score."
The rush was the longest play in Hyppolite's career at UConn, as well as his first touchdown. Previous to that play he only had 10 career rushing yards on seven carries. He finished the game with six rushes for 60 yards and a score. He and McCombs combined for a total of 157 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
"His speed was pretty impressive on Saturday," coach Paul Pasqualoni said of the redshirt junior (6-foot, 214 pounds). "Martin is a bigger guy; a guy that can run and a guy that can put the ball in the end zone."
|Hyppolite headed to end zone (US PRESSWIRE)|
Hyppolite's performance might be impressive enough to warrant more playing time. Pasqualoni's goal was to get Hyppolite in on 10 to 12 plays against Buffalo. Previous to Saturday's game, Hyppolite had only had four carries this season and seven total carries in his time at UConn. Hyppolite missed all of last season due to a knee injury.
Pasqualoni feels Hyppolite will be a good addition to the run game, allowing McCombs time to rest and talk strategy with the coaching staff. McCombs had 29 rushes in the game against Buffalo and has been UConn's workhorse back since last season.
A key factor against Big East rival Rutgers Saturday (noon, ESPNU) will be consistency with the rushing game. An efficient run for Pasqualoni is four or more yards. On Saturday Hyppolite averaged 10 yards per carry and is now up 6.5 yards per attempt on the season.
"That's the opportunity I was waiting for," Hyppolite said. "I knew one opportunity would come and I had to make the most of it to get some more playing time. Hopefully I can make the most of the opportunities he's going to give me in the future."