UConn posts a much-needed win
The Huskies were riding an emotional high after returning from Orlando with a win over Central Florida. There was talk of bowl games in the Huskies not too distant future but the conversation began to change after losses to South Florida and Cincinnati.
When the Huskies got back to campus after being dominated by Cincinnati, there was a now or never feeling among the team's players and coaches.
Following what UConn coach Bob Diaco termed a great week of practice the Huskies put together an impressive effort in a 31-13 win over East Carolina.
"It is representative of the investment that they are making, the energy and the care, the toughness they are putting out to validate that is so incredible important," Diaco said.
Diaco came into the post-game press conference much quicker than is normally his custom and he joked that after UConn lost five of its last six games, he was out of speeches to give after a spirit-sapping defeats. He made his remarks short and sweet with the emphasis on sweet.
There were plenty of stars.
Arkeel Newsome had a 90-yard scoring run, tied for the third longest in program history and finished with 179 rushing yards and 244 all-purpose yards.
Alec Bloom had a 23-yard touchdown reception and had another score called back due to a penalty.
Bryant Shirreffs bounced back from an early interception which was returned for a touchdown to finish 12 of 21 yards for 184 yards and a 3-yard TD run as well.
Graham Stewart had a team-high nine tackles including two of the hardest hits of the season. He also had a sack as did sophomores Luke Carrezola and Cam Stapleton. Jamar Summers had a pair of interceptions while Obi Melifonwu might have played his best game as a Husky.
"We have had a few tough losses and it feels good to be back on the winning side," Bloom said. "It will be good momentum going into next week."
Carrezola, who finished with six tackles, continued to make his presence felt.
"We had to step our game up and that is what we did in practice," Carrezola said. "We had all 105 guys or how many we have on our team to buy in.
"It was everything, it was such a big game, a big stage and we need to continue the path that we are on."
"We have work hard all season, so hard in the offseason and finally see the results that everybody has been waiting for, fans and everybody and just to see that happen is an unbelievable feeling."