Saturday, November 17, 2007

Your Syracuse post game notes

With the Rocky theme song running through my head, here are some post game notes:

UConn has been informed that next Saturday's game with West Virginia will NOT be a noon game. Though the actual time won't be announced until later tonight or tomorrow, the Huskies have been told it will be either 3:30 p.m. or 8 p.m. Also, the game will be on ABC. Whether that's a regional or national telecast has also yet to be decided.

Another nugget to chew on...a Cincinnati win over West Virginia tonight clinches a share of the Big East title for the Huskies. That crown will be recognized by the conference even if UConn eventually loses a tiebreaker for the BCS down the road.


The bond between University of Connecticut coach Randy Edsall and star linebacker Danny Lansanah runs a little deeper than the usual player-coach relationship.

Edsall has a soft spot for Lansanah because both are from central Pennsylvania, Edsall’s hometown of Glen Rock only about 40 miles from Lansanah’s Harrisburg home.

So it was no surprise that Edsall had a little something extra to whisper to Lansanah during the pregame ceremony honoring UConn’s 10 seniors in their final home game.

“Not bad for a guy from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania,” Edsall said as Lansanah trotted past. “Finish it the right way.”

Lansanah took those words to heart.

Early in the fourth quarter, he drifted back into coverage as Syracuse quarterback Andrew Robinson looked to pass. Reading the play perfectly, Lansanah stepped in front of Robinson’s intended receiver, picked off the pass and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown to give the Huskies a 30-0 lead.

It was Lansanah’s second interception return for a score on the season, and the team’s fifth interception return for a score this season, both tying school records. It was fitting for a player who had led UConn’s defense the past two seasons.

“I’ll remember that moment for the rest of my life,” Lansanah said.

Chances are Edsall will remember it too, though the coach certainly couldn’t pass up the opportunity to rib Lansanah when asked about the play afterward.

“Well, I’m just glad nobody had the angle on him because I think he’s put on some pounds during the year and he looked a little slow chugging down through there,” Edsall said.

Told about the comment later, Lansanah could only laugh.

“I think I did, you know, that great food they feed us,” Lansanah said. “But I was only trying to conserve some energy because I had to come right back out there for the next drive.”


The Rentschler Field stands were only half full when the UConn seniors were honored prior to the start of Saturday’s game.

And after the final seconds ticked off the clock sealing a perfect 7-0 home record for the Huskies – the first time in 14 years and only the second time in Big East history a team won all seven home games – the sellout crowd of 40,000 had virtually emptied.

It was a fact that didn’t escape Edsall.

“I was going to have the kids take a victory lap, just to thank the fans, really,” Edsall said. “I wish they did stick around to celebrate a little more because they’re a big part of us being 7-0. I don’t want to get on our fans because I think they’ve been great. But it was Senior Day, for what these kids did it’s a little bit disheartening to see a half-empty stadium when these kids are getting honored. Hopefully next year when it’s Senior Day we’ll get everyone in the stadium because these kids really appreciate what the fans do for them.”


Robert Vaughn's team-leading sixth interception should have gotten him nothing but warm congratulations on the sidelines. Instead, he caught the full wrath of Edsall. Rightly so, Vaughn agreed afterward.

Vaughn's decision to run the ball out from eight-yards deep in the end zone, where he was tackled at the UConn 5-yard line, could have been more trouble than it should have been. Luckily, the Huskies had a comfortable 24-0 lead in the third quarter.

A red-faced and screaming Edsall greeted Vaughn on the sideline, and the message was clear. Don't be so stupid next time. Vaughn simply should have taken a knee and played it safe.

"It was a mental mistake on my part," Vaughn said. "I have to learn from it. (Edsall) is just being a coach, and trying to coach me up."


Punter Desi Cullen, the self-proclaimed "Kentucky Hammer", has been solid in his first season as the UConn starter. On Saturday, he showed he can think quickly on his feet, as well.

After dropping the snap from center prior to a punt in the second quarter, Cullen improvised. He scooped up the loose ball, noticed the defender closing in quickly, and made like a rugby player. One quick step and Cullen booted the ball away. Turned into a decent punt, too. Forty-one yards, in fact.

"That was a designed fake," Cullen said with a straight face before laughing. "No, don't write that. I just lost focus at the last second and dropped it."

Cullen also made fourth solo tackle after a kickoff later in the game, moments he lives for. Thus, the Kentucky Hammer moniker.

"Always," Cullen said. "I always love making tackles."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's Go Mountaineers!

November 22, 2007 1:59 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's Go Mountaineers!!!!

November 22, 2007 2:00 PM 

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