Last year's Big East co-champions meet in Conn. Print
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Friday, 31 October 2008 08:48
NCAAF Headline News

 STORRS, Conn. (AP) -Scott Lutrus and his Connecticut teammates have rings and a trophy that say they earned a share of the Big East championship with West Virginia last season.
They also have memories of a 66-21 drubbing at the hands of the Mountaineers in Morgantown that would suggest the title of co-champion is a bit misleading.
``They put up 66 points on us and over 500 yards rushing on the ground,'' said Lutrus, a sophomore linebacker who leads the Huskies with 60 tackles this season. ``So what does it say if we go up head-to-head and they proved to be the better team?''
Lutrus and his teammates say it means they still have a lot to prove. Pictures of the scoreboard from last year's game adorn the Huskies locker room as do photos of the Mountaineers' offensive line.
UConn (6-2, 2-1) gets another shot at West Virginia (5-2, 2-0) Saturday in East Hartford, where the Huskies have won 11 consecutive games.
Mountaineers come in on a roll, having won four straight since a 1-2 start, including a convincing 34-17 victory over Auburn last week.
West Virginia dominated the Tigers despite getting just 8 yards rushing from quarterback Pat White, who needs 348 yards to break the NCAA career record for quarterbacks set by Missouri's Brad Smith from 2002-05.
Instead of using his feet, White threw three touchdown passes and Noel Devine had a career-high 207 yards rushing as the Mountaineers scored the game's final 31 points.
It was White's first full game in a month following head and hand injuries, and UConn coach Randy Edsall said he's not looking forward to seeing the senior at full strength behind the same offensive line the Huskies faced last year.
``When you put the run threat with the passing threat, I don't think there is anybody better than him in the country,'' Edsall said.
West Virginia's spread offense isn't quite the same as it was last season under former coach Rich Rodriguez used to run all over the Huskies last year.
First-year coach Bill Stewart said he changed things up in part because tailback Steve Slaton and fullback Owen Schmitt are now in the NFL, and they had to find a way to protect White. So they have been using more motion and throwing the ball more.
e under the hood, that to me is broken.''
Connecticut's defense is giving up just 17 points a game and is second in the Big East, allowing opponents just over 300 yards per game. Last week, the Huskies held Cincinnati to 0-and-14 on third-down attempts, and 0-for-2 on fourth downs in a 40-16 win.
``They come off the line and put the pressure on the quarterback,'' said West Virginia receiver Alric Arnett. ``They play zone and some man-to-man, so we're putting a game plan together to find help us keep the ball moving.''
Connecticut still has a big question at quarterback. The Huskies lost two in a row after losing senior Tyler Lorenzen to a broken right foot late in September.
Sophomore Zach Frazer led the team in those games, but suffered a head injury against Rutgers. Redshirt freshman Cody Endres took over last week and completed just 18-of-42 passes for 196 yards against Cincinnati, but threw no interceptions in the UConn win.
The Huskies have relied heavily on tailback Donald Brown, who leads the nation in rushing with an average of over 165 yards per game despite being the focus of every defense.
Brown, who ran for 129 yards a year ago against the Mountaineers, said ball control and intensity will be keys on Saturday.
``Last year they embarrassed us,'' he said. ``We're going to use that as motivation.''
 

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