Friday, November 02, 2012

UConn, USF in quest of first conference win

When the season began there was plenty of optimism in the camps of the South Florida and UConn football teams.

USF was picked to finish second in the Big East while the Huskies felt pretty good about their chances of returning to a bowl game after a disappointing 5-7 season in Paul Pasqualoni's first season as head coach.

Never in their collective wildest dreams did either team expect to still be looking for their first Big East victory in the first weekend of November. But that is the situation both teams find themselves in.

"We are just going to focus on trying to get back on the right path, we had a bad week, really a bad month we lost three straight games in October so things really haven’t gone our way," UConn senior linebacker Jory Johnson said. "We are trying to show everybody that we have four games left in our season and it is not lost just yet."

Pasqualoni has a pretty good sense what USF head coach Skip Holtz, a former UConn head coach, is going through and how he is trying to keep his team from losing faith.

"I have always believed that if you keep your nose to the grindstone and you keep working that good things will happen to you," Pasqualoni said. "In this game, that is very, very true. I know Coach Holtz very well, I have a lot of respect for him and their coaching staff, with their philosophy and what their approach with their kids is so I am sure that South Florida is going to keep on working, keep on grinding it out and that would be the approach that , well that is the approach we are taking as well because we are kind of in the same boat."

South Florida's Achilles' heel is the Bulls' inability to close games out.

“Everybody is very much aware of where we are right now,” Holtz said. “We have to win out to go to a bowl game and it is something we would very much like to do especially for our seniors. At some point we have to be able to stop these close losses. It has happened to us four times this year. We have had to lead I believe with two minutes to go or less in four of these games. They have been able to take the ball and go down the field and put points on the board.”


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