Property of the University of Connecticut.
Syracuse, at some point, is going to be in the ACC. I don't know if UConn will join them or not, but I do know this: UConn has absolutely owned them in the Big East. The Huskies defeated the Orange 28-21 yesterday, beating the Orange for the fifth year in a row. They did this despite having five tournovers, and as an added bonus kept the Orange from winning at Rentschler Field, which they've never done.
It wasn't a pretty game, the teams combined for eight turnovers that resulted in zero points, with seven of them coming in a derp-tacular first half that saw UConn drive after UConn drive die on Syracuse's side of the field. But somehow enough things went UConn's way and they woke up this morning tied for third in a very, very, convoluted Big East.
A big piece of the credit needs to go to Lyle McCombs, who ripped off 152 yards and one touchdown on 23 attempts. McCombs is not the fastest guy on earth, and on several occasions he was caught by defenders a faster back would have beaten, but he was consistently able to find holes in the defense and make his way upfield.
McCombs was great, but the real credit needs to go to Paul Pasqualoni, who seems to have finally realized that the Johnny McEntee experiment has failed and UConn's offense works better with Scott McCummings taking the majority of the snaps. Sure, it was about 11 quarters after everyone else realized that, but still. When McCummings took over in the 4th quarter the offense started moving in a way that it hasn't all season.
McCummings isn't perfect, he didn't attempt a pass and the one time he dropped back he was sacked after holding onto the ball for what seemed like hours. But the offense still works. McCummings ran 13 times for a respectable 59 yards, and added two tds to boot. I don't know if the passing will ever come, but I'm not sure it needs to either. UConn has a bye next week, so if Paul Pasqualoni does the smart thing and keeps him under center the Huskies will have a full two weeks to work on some sort of limited passing package for him.
The defense looked really good for three quarters -- I'll forget about the explosion of points in the third quarter since both teams apparently decided defense wasn't allowed. They also made some nice plays late and Sio Moore had one of his best games of the season with five tackles and an interception. Plus, Blidi Wreh-WIlson should be back after the bye, which can only make things better.
Looking ahead, I'm feeling as good about this team as I have all year. They're still going to have to win two of their last three to become bowl eligible, but their next two games (against Louisville and Rutgers, both in East Hartford) are very winnable. There is still a long way to go, but for the first time in about six weeks I have some hope and am feeling good.