Connect with us


Connecticut Football Returns Home to Face Virginia

Bryant Shirreffs (AP Photo)

Bryant Shirreffs (AP Photo)


Coach Bob Diaco’s UConn football team returns home on Saturday, Sept. 17 when they host the Virginia Cavaliers at 1:30 p.m. at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. The Huskies carry a 1-1 record into the non-conference clash with Virginia, after having lost a hard-fought 28-24 decision to Navy last Saturday.

Connecticut was knocking at the door on the Navy two-yard line when time expired while spoiling their last minute, game-winning scoring drive. The Huskies were hoping to open the 2016 season 2-0, which would have marked the first time since 2007 and 2008 that they would have accomplished that feat.

Quarterback Bryant Shirreffs had a record-setting game against the Midshipmen go for naught as he threw for 239 yards (23-for-26) and one touchdown (no interceptions). Shirreffs set a new school record for completion percentage (88.4%) in the loss to Navy. Shirreffs seems to relish the big game pressure and showed great poise and confidence in directing what looked like the game-winning scoring drive.

Surprisingly, the Huskies chose to run the ball on the final attempt of the game, rather than allow Shirreffs to make a play when the game was on the line.

The Huskies junior cornerback and All-American candidate Jamar Summers (Orange, NJ) returned a fumble 86 yards in the third quarter which tied the score 21-21.

Virginia, under first-year coach Bronco Mendenhall, enter the contest looking for their first win, after suffering a pair of losses – an opening loss at home to Richmond (37-20) and a road loss last Saturday to Oregon (44-26).

Mendenhall has made a whole host of changes in Charlottesville since taking over for Mike London and most noteworthy has been naming transfer Kurt Benkert (East Carolina) as the Hoos starting quarterback.

Benkert has shown he is able to put points on the board passing for nearly 500 yards (46-for-73) and five touchdowns in the first two games. On the other hand, Benkert has thrown five interceptions.

Albert Reid leads a Virginia ground attack which made major strides against Oregon, after the offense rushed for just 35 yards in the Richmond debacle. Reid scampered for 126 yards in the Oregon game.

Defense has been the Achilles heel for Virginia as they have relinquished nearly 1200 yards in their first two games. The Cavaliers defense will be hard pressed to handle the playmaking skill of the Huskies Shirreffs.

The game (1:30 p.m. kickoff) will air on the UConn IMG Sports Radio Network (WTIC – Hartford, 1080 AM) and broadcast live on ESPN3.


The big question will be, can the Huskies regroup after the disappointing loss to Navy?

Two very talented quarterbacks will be on full display, and if up to form, should provide quite an exciting game to watch. Whoever has the ball in the game’s final moments will win …

FINAL: UConn 42 Virginia 35

Game notes

The Virginia game will be the third meeting between the two schools. The last time the two schools met was Sept. 13, 2008 and the Huskies prevailed 45-10.

UConn’s Diaco and Virginia’s Mendenhall met for the first time in 2014 when the Huskies played Mendenhall’s BYU team. BYU went on to win 35-10.

Mendenhall will be looking for his first win as the Cavalier coach. His next win will mark his 100th career win.

UConn defensive coordinator Anthony Poindexter is one of Virginia’s most beloved alums. Poindexter earned All American honors at UVA (1996-1998) while starting at cornerback.

UConn senior linebacker Matt Walsh (Madison, Conn) had a career-best 12 tackles against Navy.
After Virginia the Huskies will face another ACC foe Syracuse (Sept. 24).

Follow Bob for all the UConn football game highlights, features and more: @WhitneyBob

The following two tabs change content below.

Bob Whitney

Bob is a college basketball columnist here at He also covers Yale football and the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA.
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in College