UConn football can't dwell on rout to Missouri with USF coming up this week

Published on Tuesday, 31 October 2017 18:45


For the second time in four weeks UConn football coach Randy Edsall is having to pick his team up after a thorough thrashing.

But the margin of victory and the manner in which his Huskies played in last week’s 52-12 loss to Missouri doesn’t matter much to Edsall right now, he says.

“Maybe I make it too simple. Maybe as you get older you look at things a little differently but that game is over with,” Edsall said Monday. “You need to have a short memory and we didn’t play as well as needed to play. You just move on.”

UConn (3-5) is moving on to another talented opponent. The Huskies will face South Florida Saturday in East Hartford (3:30 p.m., ESPNU).

The Bulls are 7-1, having just suffered their first loss of the season. Houston beat them in Tampa, 28-24, knocking USF out of the AP Top 25.

“We just didn’t play well. It was a home game and we should have played a lot better,” USF coach Charlie Strong said Monday. “But we’re looking forward to going on the road to Connecticut and get back on track.”

The UConn-USF game was originally scheduled for Sept. 9 until a hurricane hit Florida and forced the schedule to be shuffled. The coaches and players have already spent some time preparing to face each other, though it was nearly two months ago.

“At that time, they were going to quarterback change, which they did,” Strong said, referring to Bryant Shirreffs’ insertion. “They’re a different football team, they’re a better football team than they were.”

UCF at noon

UConn’s Nov. 11 game in Orlando against Central Florida will kickoff at noon, the American Conference announced Monday. It will air on ESPNU.

The Knights are currently undefeated and ranked No. 15 in the nation.

Fenway festivities

Fenway Park, the home of the Boston Red Sox, is currently undergoing a transformation so that it can host football games this fall.

UConn will play Boston College Nov. 18 at Fenway, the third of three college football games slated for the venerable baseball stadium next month.

Mark Lev, the managing director of Fenway Sports Management, says the revival of the sport at Fenway is refreshing.

“Football was played at Fenway back to 1912,” Lev said during a stop at Pratt & Whitney Stadium Saturday. “We announced some Thanksgiving-week high school games and one of the schools was Everett High School. We did some research and they actually played in the national high school football championship back in 1912, the year Fenway opened. There’s a great legacy of football at Fenway, high school, college, professional.”

Two collegiate games will be played at Fenway next month before the Huskies and Eagles clash: Brown will play Dartmouth and UMass will face Maine.

Although he didn’t reveal any current ticket sale data, Lev said he expects a rather big crowd for UConn-BC.

“We’re hoping to get upwards of 25,000 fans to come to that game,” Lev said. Two years ago, 38,686 watched Notre Dame beat BC 19-16 at Fenway.

By the time the transformation is complete, Fenway may not look like it does in the middle of the summer.

“The bullpen walls have been removed for the first time ever. The goalposts are in. The stanchions that hold the netting behind the goalposts are in. And at some point this week they’ll be putting sod in over the infield dirt,” Lev said.

Lev credits longtime Fenway groundskeeper Dave Mellor for the miracles he works in making the building accommodate whatever is needed.

“Between all the transformations we do in-season for concerts, hockey rinks - you know UConn played hockey at Fenway this past January. We set up a 150-foot tall ski ramp at Fenway Park a few years ago. So this is, if you ask Dave, a piece of cake,” Lev said.

Posted in New Britain Herald, General Sports, UConn on Tuesday, 31 October 2017 18:45. Updated: Tuesday, 31 October 2017 18:47.