It is not often you hear college football players or coaches talk about an "embarrassing" loss. Especially at UConn. Generally, it is hard to get any Huskies to address last week's game, let alone last year's. But a 66-21 drubbing, that is another story.
From UConn Head Coach Randy Edsall to a number of his players, the word they most often use to describe last season's game at West Virginia is "embarrassing." How else can someone describe a national TV game for the Big East title that ended 66-21? Now, as fate would have it last fall, West Virginia would lose the next week to Pittsburgh, giving UConn a share of the Big East Championship. But trust me, neither team will be in a "sharing" mood Saturday.
The Huskies bring an 11 game home winning streak to Rentschler Field and there are many reasons to believe that they can extend that streak:
- Donald Brown leads the nation in rushing. Some of his lineman told me today that offensive line coach Mike Foley tells them just to make sure that Donald gets four yards, after that, he will do the rest.
- UConn's defense is nasty, led by two guys who I think deserve serious consideration for All-American honors: defensive end Cody Brown and cornerback Darius Butler.
- The Huskies love playing at home, even if fans show up late and leave early. Defensive tackle Robb Lunn has told me that part of their success at home is the chowder they eat Friday night at the Rocky Hill Marriott. Whatever works.
Still, let's be honest, many questions remain:
- Who will start at quarterback? Head Coach Randy Edsall says he has not yet named a starter and that Zach Frazer, who missed last week's win over Cincinnati with a head injury, will practice this week. Cody Endres, 18 of 42 passing last Saturday, is the other option.
- Can UConn slow down West Virginia quarterback Pat White and running back Noel Devine? I saw White in person last year in Morgantown. How good did I think he was? I voted White for the Heisman. If UConn can slow down the senior, they can win. But that is a bigger if than the economy turning around anytime soon.
- West Virginia is the beast of the Big East. The 'Eers are the only team in the league the Huskies have never beaten. They figure to be biggest, faster and stronger than the Huskies Saturday. But will they be better?
Here is my prediction:
UConn wins 27-24. If I am right, it will be the biggest win in school history and give the Huskies the inside track for a Big East title. WVU is 2-0 in the league right now, UConn is 2-1. It would also, in many ways, erase that embarrassing loss last year and become this groups proudest moment.
See you Saturday at noon, not 12:10.