Welcome back, dear readers, to another episode of Husky Football Flashbacks, where I take you on a ride back in time through certain important games in UConn football history.
This week, we’re getting right to the juicy stuff: UConn vs. South Florida at Raymond James stadium on December 4, 2010. After not even a decade at the Division I FBS level, Randy Edsall had his team on the verge of taking on the Big 12 champion in the Fiesta Bowl. Nine years of progress had built up to this.
Despite waffling between starting quarterbacks throughout the year, the Huskies won four straight conference games against West Virginia, Pitt, Syracuse and Cincinnati to give them a chance at pulling off the impossible. With a win against South Florida, Randy Edsall, Jordan Todman, Kendall Reyes and co. would get to compete in a BCS bowl.
0:25 - Oh hell yeah, preparing myself for a Jordan Todman game, one of my favorite UConn running backs of all time.
0:30 - Speaking of, Todd McShay just referred to Jazz Howard as Jordan Todman. Oops.
2:57 - “There’s been a lot of debate in regards to the pros and cons of a playoff system” oh lord, those sweet souls.
6:15 - Pretty funny: USF started a walk-on QB in this game who had completed just 20 passes prior in his career. Even funnier: the week before this he beat Randy Shannon’s Miami team.
6:45 - Completely forgot that this was one of many SKIP HOLTZ revenge games.
12:43 - Moise Plancher, a player you all know and love, is destroying UConn’s front seven right now. USF field goal.
14:32 - Future FXFL (Fall Experimental Football League) starter Scott Lutrus with a nice tackle for loss.
16:43 - Zach Frazer kicks ass, I don’t want to hear it.
17:02 - Anthony Sherman too! Man, this team is stacked.
20:45 - Frazer with unreal poise under heavy pressure to convert a first down on a quick slant to Michael Smith, but the Huskies have to settle for a field goal after Todman is ROCKED in the backfield.
24:00 - We get b-roll of local malls in the Tampa area. I miss 2010.
28:30 - Scott Lutrus and his wonderful neck roll come up with a quality INT.
33:35 - We get a cut-in of Nebraska beating Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game, and one finger of the monkey’s paw curls.
37:00 - I haven’t been keeping track but Frazer has targeted Sherman about two dozen times in this game.
39:01 - UConn’s OL is getting close to no push for Todman, he’s been having to fight for every inch he gets.
42:08 - Eveld isn’t really doing too bad here in USF’s beyond conservative offensive gameplan.
45:15 - Eveld runs like he has to think about operating each limb independently.
46:29 - A lot of it is facing a walk-on QB, but UConn’s secondary set up a no-fly zone after that first drive.
49:53 - Arkansas was ranked No. 7 this week, which makes 2010 seem like 40 years ago.
52:18 - Todman just grinding this USF defense down.
54:45 - Robbie Frey was a speedy little bugger!
57:01 - Zack Frazer just unleashed a glorious arm punt on this down, and we get a cut-in of Edsall looking absolutely bewildered. We also got what would have been a dynamite reaction gif:
58:04 - PANDEMONIUM! Lawrence Wilson pick six on the very next play! It was bound to happen eventually, Eveld isn’t the smoothest passer. UConn goes into the locker room at halftime up 10-3.
1:06:01 - The announcers are giving an admirable effort to make this game look entertaining.
1:08:15 - On second thought, the UConn long snapper just dove to down a punt on the one yard line. Maybe this game isn’t so bad after all.
1:10:37 - Knowing the final score of the game, I was baying for a safety as Eveld ran for his life from Reyes in the end zone.
1:11:45 - Announcers just made a Michael Jordan reference, because Jordan Todman wears No. 23. This is our chance for The Last Dance SEO.
1:12:56 - UConn’s offensive line is really starting to move mass in front of Todman now.
1:14:23 - Commentary crew really emptying the clip of interesting game notes now, talking about a USF linebacker who has three children at 22.
1:15:30 - Edsall settles for a field goal on 4th and short from inside the five, time remains a flat circle.
1:19:23 - Fake power option toss, you have my attention Skip Holtz.
1:20:30 - Poor Daniels sitting on the sideline in his pads, knowing that he could have saved UConn from a crimson evisceration some five weeks later.
1:22:30 - Oh hello, Demetris Murray.
1:23:24 - Despite Eveld’s numbers, UConn’s secondary isn’t doing an amazing job in this game. Lots of open receivers have dropped the ball or had the ball overthrown.
1:25:46 - Insanely good mention of TCU joining the Big East. This might not be much of a game, but it’s a very good time capsule.
1:28:45 - We get a quick cut in of Tyrod Taylor ripping up Florida State’s defense in the ACC title game. It’s hard to believe that college football would never be as good as 2011 again.
1:31:20 - The commentators have talked throughout the game about how Frazer isn’t a runner which is weird, because he was probably better on the ground than in the air.
1:33:20 - Todman is obviously great, but every time Frey touches the ball, it’s electric. He never really got the touches he deserved in those stacked backfields of the late 2000’s
1:34:54 - Mistral “Skinny” Raymond might be the coolest football player of 2010. Incredible nickname, wears a visor and full white sleeves.
1:36:05 - Dave Teggart is the goddamn terminator, with a 50-yard field goal into the wind
1:38:26 - Kendall Reyes is untouchable right now, he gets off the ball too damn fast for any USF offensive lineman to touch him.
1:39:04 - Ohh buddy, Eveld. Might be time to bring in a pinch hitter.
1:41:12 - Robbie Frey is just having a mega all-star game right now, showing out on offense and special teams.
1:45:30 - Todman has taken some time out of his busy schedule to absolutely toss a USF linebacker in pass protection.
1:47:30 - And then he fumbles it, UConn’s second turnover of the day.
1:50:00 - Bulls ain’t out of it yet! Lineback Lawrence Wilson slips on an imaginary banana peel, and USF in for a touchdown.
1:58:00 - Eveld with an overthrow that might have cost USF the game. USF eventually forced to punt it away with six minutes left in the fourth quarter.
2:02:48 - USF’s defense has been playing great coverage all day, trying in vain to drag Eveld and the offense to victory.
2:06:43 - After watching him for close to a full hour now, I don’t think it’s possible for a quarterback to have less of a pocket presence than Eveld. He’s worse than Jack Zergiotis was last year in that area.
2:09:30 - UConn’s backers haven’t dropped into coverage effectively all day, and it comes back to bite them late in the fourth. Eveld hits a wide open Devontia Bogan to set up first and goal
2:11:41 - But UConn’s defense holds strong! Nevermind the fact that Skip Holtz called a goal line fade on third and goal. USF ties it up at 16 with a field goal though, and it’s up to Frazer, Todman and co. to keep the game from going into overtime.
2:15:02 - Nice, crisp hitch route from Kashif Moore creates a target so big even Frazer can hit him in the hands.
2:16:00 - Good job by Michael Smith to hang onto the ball after getting rocked. After Frazer is forced into a sack, Edsall has to call his penultimate timeout.
2:17:30 - Lord, Frazer almost threw another interception that would have gone for six. Now, it’s all up to the bionic leg, Dave Teggart.
2:18:30 - RIGHT THROUGH THE UPRIGHTS. USF’s attempt to ice Teggart fails miserably, and he nails a 52-yard field goal which would have been good from 62 yards, easily.
It’s tough to put this in perspective because of all that comes after, but this ugly, tough to watch slogfest which featured zero offensive touchdowns from the winning team, was the highlight of UConn’s entire football experiment.
Eveld was totally ineffective through the air, and USF’s ground presence wasn’t great either. If B.J. Daniels started, it’s easy to see a version of history where USF wins pretty handily. Instead, UConn had a date with destiny against Oklahoma in Phoenix, and the football program has been on a steady downward trend since.