That’s a wrap!

by Mike Grant on January 3, 2010

in UConn Football

 

Connecticut's Andre Dixon (2) tries to get around South Carolina ...

AP Photo / Butch Dill

UConn 20, USC 7

Go for it! Go for it! Go for it!  That was the chant of the afternoon in the UConn section following Steve Spurrier’s brazen, disrespectful, and downright stupid decision to go for a 4th and 1 on his own 32 yard line in the first quarter.   As if the highlight reel Kashif Moore touchdown catch  moments earlier wasn’t enough, Spurrier gave the Huskies’ defense a golden opportunity to set the tone…and that’s exactly what they did.  Turnover on downs…thank you very much.  The Huskies made them pay, turning the sequence into a 33 yard field goal by Dave Teggart.   10-0 game, ten minutes in…the Huskies would never look back. 

Zone Blitzing?  Brilliant!  The Huskies befuddled Stephen Garcia and the Gamecock coaching staff with zone blitzes all day.  I spoke with Jon Silver of the Manchester Journal Inquirer (  http://silversdailydish.blogspot.com/ ) who told me a tearful Stephen Garcia admitted after the game that South Carolina was caught completely off guard by the blitzing schemes.  Out-coach a former National Champion football coach?  Check. 

It’s amazing what the extra practice can do for the youngsters.  Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Jerome Junior both played very well.  This was just the type of effort the secondary needed…a confidence and momentum builder for 2010.  The unit is undoubtedly the team’s largest question mark going into next season.  Seniors Robert McClain and Robert Vaughn have played their last games as Huskies…how Wreh-Wilson, Dwayne Gratz and  Junior perform next season could be the difference between another solid season, and a special season. 

Zach Frazer got away with one.   He had a tough game, consistently over throwing receivers, including a sure-fire touchdown to Ryan Griffin in the first quarter.  Griffin got loose on a second down play from the 16 and was all alone in the end zone…Frazer’s pass was too high…Griffin is 6’6″.  Later he threw a perfect pass to  South Carolina cornerback Akeem Auguste, who dropped it…had he not, it was a pick six, and who knows where the game goes?  Frazer ended the game 9-21 for just 107 yards and a touchdown.   It wasn’t a great performance but he managed the game well enough.   Andre Dixon and the defense made Frazer’s lackluster day a moot point…

Ol’ Andre had it going…33 carries for 126 yards and a touchdown.  Only Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram (Alabama) had more yards rushing vs South Carolina this year.  Dixon injured his left elbow early in the game, but was able to battle through it.  Good thing.  He pounded away at the South Carolina front until they finally broke early in the 4th quarter, when he rushed up the middle for a 10 yard touchdown, which put the game away.  Dixon was awarded the game’s MVP…a fitting way for his UConn career to end.  I think someone would be very wise to select the Dreads in the 2010 NFL draft…

Odds and sods :  The Huskies improve to 3-1 all time in Bowl games. 

 The win over South Carolina marks the program’s first win over an SEC opponent. 

The Big East, which formed the football conference in 1991, improved to 21-18 vs the SEC.

Lawrence Wilson had four tackles, including a 10 yard sack, in his home coming…Wilson is from nearby Tuscaloosa. 

Jory Johnson, also an Alabama native (Mobile), recorded a tackle for a loss.

Marcus Easley had 4 catches for 40 yards in his final game as a Husky, bringing his season total to 48 catches for 893 yards.

Robert Vaughn intercepted a pass in final game in a UConn jersey…too bad it was on a 4th and 19  Hail Mary attempt…the pick cost UConn 40 yards of field position…doh!  Randy let him know he was less then pleased with the blunder…

It was COLD in Birmingham.  About Birmingham…the people there are warm and welcoming…very gracious hosts.  I was only called a Yankee one time…in the elevator back at the hotel, after the game, by a South Carolina fan.  He extended his hand and smiled as he said it.  

Southern Hospitality is a living, breathing thing.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim Grant January 4, 2010 at 8:19 am

College Football isn't just a game, it's a way of life…Seeing all the UCONN Blue and White a 1000 miles from home was great; seeing a sea of South Carolinian Garnet at Legion Field was amazing. You just cannot compare Pro Football rivalries to College Football rivalries…You can have a "Mason-Dixon lines" running down the middle of any state. Battle lines are drawn, but we the fans are the winners. The winners are also the folks within the cities that host Bowl games. It's great business for our economy and great entertainment for all of us. Let's keep these traditions going. Thanks BirmINgham! and a great big thanks to my son Mike Grant for making our trip a memorable one.

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Mike Grant January 4, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Well said…and what a great trip it was, capped off by a Herculean effort from the UConn defense. 2010 is a season that we’ll never forget…

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