Five Things We LearnedMcCombs Stands Tall
Sophomore running back Lyle McCombs (5 feet 8, 166 pounds) might be small in stature, but the size of his heart can't be measured.
Although Louisville gave up 161 yards on the ground, McCombs hadn't been turning out numbers like he was last season. Most of that wasn't on him. On Saturday, McCombs cut, slashed and spun his way to 133 yards on 29 carries. It was his best game of the season in terms of showing that he wanted to be a factor. He had two swing-pass grabs for 32 yards, too. He may need a spell here and there, but McCombs showed he wanted to be the guy getting done what the Huskies needed to get done on the ground.
Christen Quite The Study
UConn junior kicker Chad Christen is one sharp guy, and we're not just talking about GQ-style wardrobe.
His ability to note, correct and move on from his mistakes as fast as he has is impressive.
He was half-kidding after the game Saturday, but Christen said he had forgotten all about missing all four attempts in a three-point overtime loss at home to Temple. Actually, he learned that he never wanted it to happen again. He is 7 of 7 on field goals since the Temple game, including the 3-for-3 effort he had against the Cardinals. He hit the game-winner in the third overtime, a 30-yarder.
"I really felt fine out there," Christen said. "I've put in a lot of work this season and … sitting behind Dave [Teggart], I learned a lot and was able to carry some of that out to here. You know, opportunities like this aren't going to come for a kicker all the time. You dream of stuff like this. It feels good."
Defensive Line Is A Strength
Losing defensive tackles Kendall Reyes and Twyon Martin, and with one of their replacements, 300-plus-pound Shamar Stephen on the mend all spring and summer, the biggest concern facing the Huskies was how good would the line be? Would it ever be good? The answer can be found in rushing yards against the Huskies. Today that number is 100.2, ranking UConn ninth in the country. Another area is sacks. UConn is 13th in the nation in that category, with 2.91 per game. These numbers are coming out of a game against a team that was ranked No.19 in the country. The line has been a pleasant surprise. Louisville coach Charlie Strong said the game was won – and lost – with that unit. Bridgeport's Trevardo Williams had three sacks from his end spot. Tackles Ryan Wirth and Julian Campenni had one each, and they were facing one of the best quarterbacks in the country in Teddy Bridgewater. The Cardinals gained 27 yards on 28 carries on the ground.
Manuel Liked What He Saw
UConn athletic director Warde Manuel, with the women's basketball team, was watching the game in St. Thomas. He liked what he saw.
"It was a great win for the team," he said. "I thought they really showed great effort, tenacity and resolve, particularly in the second half. We weren't moving the ball very well, and [Louisville] started to move it better. But we showed great resolve during the time when Louisville had the momentum. We kept fighting.
"I watched the entire game with several of our donors and fans. It made us very proud. It's a game of emotion, and in the end it was elation. They showed the ability that their effort helped them produce."
The Huskies Could Go Bowling
They have to beat Cincinnati (8-3, 4-2) at home Saturday on Senior Day. If the Huskies (5-6, 2-4) win, they'll be eligible for a bowl berth at 6-6. The Huskies ended last season 5-7, losing a wild one (35-27) at Cincinnati in the season finale.
Staff writer John Altavilla contributed to this story.