Masters Lost for Season

Observers noted that Connecticut right guard Adam Masters departed the Carrier Dome Friday night on crutches with his left foot in a boot. That didn't sound like good news. And coach Paul Pasqualoni confirmed as much Saturday.

Masters will need surgery on his injured ankle and his season is over. That means the end of his UConn career and the redshirt senior from Bethesda, Md., will be missed. The problems along the offensive line have gotten worse, week by week.

"He was our most versatile guy, our swing guy," Pasqualoni told state reporters during his conference call Saturday. "Not only that, he's played probably the most snaps of football up there. We're going to lose a guy with versatility and we're gonna lose a guy with experience."

Pasqualoni said redshirt sophomore Gus Cruz will move into the starting spot at guard. Cruz has played extensively but Pasqualoni said the 6-2, 306-pounder will have to "step it up."

Dalton Gifford, who backs up Jimmy Bennett at left tackle, will get reps at guard, as will Tyler Samra. Masters started 30 games in his UConn career.

"We'll continue to have seven people that will be prepared," Pasqualoni said. "Masters is obviously disappointed. It is at the end of his senior year and he is very disappointed. He is a tough guy. He is optimistic. He will get the surgery and do the rehab but it is going to take some time and as it would be for anybody, it is really disappointing for him."

Masters was one of several Huskies who were laid out on the Carrier Dome turf during a 40-10 loss to the Syracuse Orange Friday night. Yawin Smallwood, Sio Moore, Trevardo Williams and Michael Smith all returned to the game, however.

UConn (3-5, 0-3 Big East) finds itself in a horrible spot with four games remaining in the season. The Huskies have a bye week and won't play again until Nov. 3 at South Florida.

During the off-week Pasqualoni said the team's emphasis will be on revitalizing the running game. UConn has struggled to pick up yards on the ground all season. Problems along the offensive line have contributed to that and that means the injury to Masters will be felt heavily.

Against Syracuse, the Huskies were held to minus-six rushing yards, the worst output performance since UConn joined the Football Bowl Subdivision.

"We've got to really zero in and go to work on the run game, specifically what concepts and runs we can establish," Pasqualoni said. "We're going to take a look at everything we do on third down. And we've got to work on protection against these safety and corner blitzes that we saw quite a bit the other night. We've got to be 100 percent on it."

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