Friday, October 05, 2012

Jimmy Bennett ready for Big East debut

There are no lack of emotional sidebars to write about leading into tomorrow's UConn/Rutgers game.

Defensive stalwarts Dwayne Gratz and Ryan Wirth, two of the six New Jersey natives on the Huskies' travel squad, didn't hide their contempt for Rutgers when they met with the media earlier this week. On the Rutgers side, perhaps there is still some emotional baggage after UConn's 40-22 win over the Scarlet Knights a year ago, a game that ended Rutgers' hopes of earning the Big East's bid to a BCS bowl.

However, to me one of the most remarkable story lines has to be that tomorrow will be the first Big East game for the Huskies' often-injured fifth-year senior Jimmy Bennett.

Bennett, the starting offensive left tackle, was downright giddy when he looked ahead to finally getting able to play in a conference game in his fifth year at UConn.

"It seems like it has turned into a little bit of a rivalry against them," Bennett said. "I feel like it is going to be a really good game so be in the atmosphere of playing there I am excited. I’ve never had the opportunity to go to Rutgers. Each time I’ve had the opportunity to go, I’ve been injured. I am excited to get down there and play and see what everybody is talking about.

"My first season I got hurt in camp so I didn’t play in any games at all. The next year I got hurt in the Vanderbilt game so I didn’t get to play in the Big East because the Rutgers game was the next week. It is upsetting to be out there, be healthy and then get hurt again and not be able to play those games. I’ve watched them, I’ve been around them for home games. I know what the atmosphere is like but being in the game is probably a whole other level."

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