DeLorenzo Adds Depth

STORRS - Max DeLorenzo's big day was missing just one thing on Saturday. It just happened to be the most important factor for a football player.

DeLorenzo, a redshirt freshman running back from Berlin, Conn., made his first career start Saturday at Rentschler Field. With Lyle McCombs held out with a wrist injury, DeLorenzo got the replacement nod and carried the ball 23 times for 91 yards – including a 20-yard gain.

It was pretty exciting stuff for DeLorenzo, until Temple managed a 17-14 win in overtime and ruined the mood for UConn's homecoming game.

"It was very exciting," DeLornezo said. "I got a couple of carries last week [against Rutgers] under my belt. So I was a lot more confident. That's all good, fun and games, but if you can't win, it doesn't mean nothing."

McCombs, who injured his wrist bracing himself on a fall to the ground against Rutgers, is slowly improving. At his press conference Monday, coach Paul Pasqualoni said McCombs is "probable" for Friday night's game at Syracuse (8 p.m., ESPN).

DeLorenzo, who became the first Connecticut native to start at tailback for the Huskies since Matt Lawrence of Bloomfield in 2004, isn't on UConn's two-deep for the Syracuse game. McCombs is still listed at starter with Martin Hyppolite at the backup spot. But it is clear DeLorenzo has more opportunities awaiting him.

"I think it was great that Max had a chance to be in a big game and got to carry the ball," Pasqualoni said Monday. "What I was impressed with, on a couple of occasions, was his help in the protection; blocking. He did a really good job from a pass-protection standpoint. He's got good wiggle and he's got good ability to carry the ball. I think it strengthens us, gives us a little more experience and helps our depth, obviously."

For the season DeLorenzo has 31 carries for 118 yards. Prior to Saturday, his biggest day had been against UMass when he picked up 22 yards on four carries.

There certainly would have been more celebrating for the DeLorenzo family if UConn had defeated Temple.

"It was tough," DeLorenzo said. "We're very upset. We were up the whole game and this was just a heartbreaker."

Last week, DeLorenzo found out he was starting on Thursday. The Huskies will be closely watching McCombs this week to see if he can resume his role as starter by Wednesday during this shortened week.

"The swelling [in McCombs' left wrist] has calmed down; it's healing," Pasqualoni said. "We're going to be able to adjust the cast, which will allow him to grip the ball and have ball security. We're going to see how he carries [the football] today in practice. We'll watch it closely. The problem last week with the cast was he couldn't grip the point of the ball."?


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