Welcome back to The Terry Baltimore Cup, a 12-play tournament to pick the best play in UConn football history. We've reached the semifinals where the four plays that got a first-round bye will have to defend themselves. We'll have two votes today and two tomorrow. Our first contest? D.J. Hernandez's two-point conversion against Greg Robinson Jr.'s sack of Matt Grothe. Check back at 1 p.m. for today's second matchup. You have until 6 a.m. tomorrow to vote for your favorite.
Today's first contestent is Greg Robinson Jr.'s game-sealing sack of Matt Grothe. Here's what we wrote about it last week:
If this series proves anything, it will be that the three-week run in 2007 when UConn beat Louisville, USF and Rutgers can put itself right up against the end of 2010 as the most exciting stretch in UConn football history. When No. 10 USF came into Rentschler Field on that cold and rainy October night it was a big deal. Not only were the Huskies working on their best opening in school history, but they were also looking for their first win over a ranked opponent. And boy did they get it.
It wasn't easy. After jumping out to a 16-0 start, the Huskies struggled to keep USF at bay and a handful of mistakes (including conceding a safety) did nothing to help matters. How close was it? Well, USF had the ball on UConn's 2 yard line with less than a minute left. That's where Greg Robinson Jr. came in along with what felt like half of the Husky roster. The video clip above gives you a good feeling for what Rentschler was like in the moment (click here to get a better angle on the play itself), because when Grothe dropped back and found himself surrounding by a sea of Huskies everyone knew the game was over. On the next play -- fourth down -- Grothe sailed a pass over his receiver's head and out of the endzone. UConn had its first win over a ranked opponent, the fans rushed the field, and what (then) felt like a miracle season continued on.
The sack of Grothe is taking on D.J. Hernandez's two-point conversion to win over Pittsburgh. Our description:
It wasn't necessarily a joy to be a UConn fan in 2006. The Huskies, now two years removed from the Motor City Bowl, and with DJ Hernandez under center and an untested freshman named Donald Brown carrying most of the workload in the backfield they struggled, losing five of their last six games to finish four and eight. But note that I said they lost five of their last six, not all six. That's because of the play you see above.
UConn had struggled to score all year so with the Huskies down 31-17 in the fourth quarter and needing two long drives to tie it up a loss seemed like a foregone conclusion. Somehow, someway Hernandez led UConn on drives of 98 and 77 yards to force overtime with three seconds remaining in regulation.
The teams traded touchdowns in the first overtime and Pittsburgh scored in their half of the second. UConn scored thanks to Donald Brown, but instead of taking the chip-shot extra point and forcing triple overtime Randy Edsall did the one thing he never did -- roll the dice. He sent Hernandez back out to go for two. He rolled out on a bootleg, saw an opening and scampered into the endzone, giving UConn a 46-45 win and celebrating by throwing the ball clear out of Rentschler Field.