The repetitive pattern of win one, then lose one has taken a toll on the UConn players. They need a winning streak in the worse way, but after a 19-3 loss at Rutgers last week, the best UConn (3-3, 0-1 Big East) can do is stay in that holding pattern.
Win one. Lose one. It takes you nowhere. But a loss to Temple (2-2, 1-0) Saturday at Rentschler Field (1 p.m., ESPN3, UConn IMG Sports Radio Network) would take the Huskies several places they don't want to go.
"Honestly, it's the turning point of our season," offensive tackle Jimmy Bennett said. "It's not necessarily that losing means the season is done. But we really need to get this game. This is important to our season.
"If we can finish these next two games with wins, go into our off week and get a little rest, hopefully we'll feel a little bit better about ourselves. It would be good for our enthusiasm and everything about us."
Bennett is dead on. This is a winnable game against Temple, which has never won back-to-back games in Big East play. The Huskies have a short week, heading to Syracuse (2-3, 1-0) for a game at the Carrier Dome on Friday Oct. 19. But unless the Huskies take care of business against Temple, there can be no thought of a winning streak.
"It's not really pressure, but we need to have some urgency this week," cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson said Tuesday. "We need this week to be an important week for us and we need to approach it at a high level from our fundamentals, out techniques, to our film study. We know what is expected of us so we everyone needs to come in and just take everything up one level."
Losing to Temple would sting in many ways. The Owls are back in the Big East, literally filling in for departed West Virginia. Temple was expected to finish last in the conference but coach Steve Addazio is a high-energy guy who directed the Owls to a 37-28 win at South Florida last week.
Adazzio filled up reporters' notepads earlier this week with his stories about Pasqualoni's staff at Western Connecticut. That was Adazzio's first job and this week he painted the picture of a Walton family Christmas every day at Western. He talked about his love for his mentor and how he learned his attention to detail from Pasqualoni.
If Adazzio beats his mentor, it would unlock a world of trouble for Pasqualoni. He is already facing criticism for his lack of imagination on offense. Offensive coordinator George DeLeone has come under attack too. Adazzio was a favorite of UConn fans when Pasqualoni was hired prior to the 2011 season. Then athletic director Jeff Hathaway saw things different and hired Pasqualoni.
Bennett swears it's little things that are dragging UConn down on offense.
"It's not the coaches," he said. "There were plays to be made [at Rutgers] and we just didn't make them. It's up to us as players. The coaches are doing their best to put us in a position to win. It's up to us to actually go out there and do it. The coaches want to take the blame but they're not the ones out there playing. Maybe we've got to turn it up a bit."
Here's what else is happening in the Big East this week.
Saturday, October 13
Louisville at Pittsburgh......................... 11 a.m.
Series: Pittsburgh leads, 8-7
Last Meeting: Nov. 12, 2002 — Pittsburgh, 21-14
Syracuse at Rutgers.................................. Noon
BIG EAST Network Game of the Week
Television: BIG EAST Network
Series: Syracuse leads, 30-11-1
Last Meeting: Oct. 1, 2012 — Rutgers, 19-16 (2ot)
Temple at Connecticut............................ 1 p.m.
Series: Temple leads, 8-4
Last Meeting: Sept. 18, 2010 — Temple, 30-16
Fordham at Cincinnati............................. 7 p.m.
Series: First meeting