Jasper Howard’s Death: Two years later

Photo by Colin McDonough. The mural in the Burton Family Football Complex.

By Colin McDonough, Associate Sports Editor

Today is the second anniversary of the death of UConn cornerback Jasper Howard. Howard was killed in a fight outside a school-sanctioned dance at the Student Union on Oct. 18, 2009. This came hours after the Huskies’ 38-25 win over Louisville on Homecoming Weekend. Howard had 11 tackles, a forced fumble, which he recovered, in the win. His famous words to the media on Oct. 17, 2009, “You gotta play every play like its the last play you’re ever gonna play,” will not be forgotten by the UConn football team or many students and fans at the university. Howard has a memorial in the Burton Family Football Complex.

http://www.dailycampus.com/sports/the-joy-and-sadness-of-6-1.2652090

http://www.uconnhuskies.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/jasperhoward.html

UConn- Western Michigan at the half

It's Military Appreciation Day at the Rent

By Matt McDonough, Sports Editor

EAST HARTFORD– The UConn Huskies trail the Western Michigan Broncos 17-7 at halftime in East Hartford. After an anemic first half for both offenses, Western Michigan broke the scoreless tie as Alex Carder found Jordan White at the 11:15 mark in the second quarter, connecting on a 25-yard touchdown pass.

The UConn football team's dramatic entrance at Rentschler Field didn't lead to any points in the first quarter.

Carder found Dallas Walker five minutes later. Walker’s seven-yard touchdown reception gave the Broncos a 14-0 lead. Johnny McEntee led the Huskies’ on its first scoring drive, hitting Kashif Moore in the back of the end zone on third down to cut the deficit to seven. Western Michigan would counter, however, with a scoring drive of their own. John Potter kicked a 39-yard field goal with 22 seconds remaining in the half.

The stadium started to fill up by the end of the first quarter.

Lyle McCombs was a bright spot on a cloudy day, rushing for 105 yards in the first half including a 65-yard run in the second quarter that set up the Huskies’ only score. I’m not sure if coach Paul Pasqualoni gave the team an inspired halftime speech, but for those who need a little inspiration before cheering on the Huskies in the second half, look no further than UConn’s introduction video.

Check dailycampus.com for the full stories on the game and as always pick up the newspaper on campus.

Report: UConn pursuing ACC

http://espn.go.com/college-sports/story/_/id/6989031/uconn-huskies-aggressively-seeking-acc-move-source-says

UConn versus Iowa State

By Colin McDonough, Associate Sports Editor

EAST HARTFORD- The UConn football team (1-1) is up on Iowa State 10-7 at halftime. The quarterback shuffle has continued for the Huskies with Johnny McEntee starting the game, and Scott McCummings and Michael Nebrich also seeing time.

McEntee is 3 for 7 with 44 yards and 1 interception. Nebrich came in at the end of the first quarter and has thrown three passes, completing one for four yards.

McCummings gave UConn a 7-0 lead on a 10-yard touchdown run, the first of his career. Dave Teggart made a 52-yard field goal at the end of the first quarter to make the score 10-0, but Teggart has also missed two kicks, from 41 and 43 yards. James White cut the deficit to 10-7 on a 26-yard touchdown run with 11:03 remaining in the second quarter.

The Huskies have forced three turnovers off the Cyclones, picking off Steele Jantz three times. Dwayne Gratz, Byron Jones and Jory Johnson have recorded interceptions.

Dobbs commits to UConn

Ansonia High’s Montrell Dobbs has orally committed to Paul Pasqualoni and the UConn football team. Dobbs was named the Register State Player of the Year by the New Haven Register this past fall. Dobbs will attend Milford Academy this fall and will enroll at UConn in January as a member of the 2012 recruiting class. Sports Editor Matt McDonough featured Dobbs in a column in February.

http://www.dailycampus.com/sports/my-pitch-for-mont-1.1966788

Kemba Walker selected by Bobcats

By Colin McDonough, Associate Sports Editor

The Charlotte Bobcats took Kemba Walker with the ninth overall pick in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft, held at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. Walker, who led the UConn men’s basketball team to the 2011 national championship in April, will play in Charlotte.

Walker is the highest Husky selected since Hasheem Thabeet was taken second overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2009 draft. Walker is the first UConn player to be drafted by the Bobcats since fellow national champion Emeka Okafor was taken second overall in the 2004 draft.

Column: UConn baseball takes next step, needs to improve field

By Matt McDonough, Sports Editor

UConn men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun was late.

Calhoun was later than expected to a scheduled mid-week media availability meeting in the underbelly of Gampel Pavilion. After the coach emerged from the blocked off men’s basketball hallway, he explained to the press that baseball coach Jim Penders and a couple of recruits had visited his office for a meeting. Calhoun commended the job Penders was doing at UConn before talking about his own team who, although struggling at the time, was on its way to a national championship.

Of course the baseball team didn’t win a national championship this summer. And with the men’s basketball team winning a third NCAA championship this spring, it still wouldn’t hurt if Penders took his recruits to talk to a Hall of Fame coach about the prestige of UConn athletics and the progress the baseball team has made in recent years.

But there will come a time when Penders won’t have to take his prospective athletic students to visit a basketball arena.

Although the Huskies fell to the defending champion Gamecocks at South Carolina in the Super Regional last weekend, it was just another needed step in the right direction. Dubbed the “Pride of New England,” UConn played in front of a national television audience on ESPN 2 and ESPNU in the program’s first Super Regional. Although the Huskies have made the College World Series five times, it’s been 32 years since the last trip. A much different and much easier format favored Northeast schools then, now it’s nearly impossible for a New England school to make it to Omaha. Still, Omaha was the Huskies season goal.

Although UConn didn’t achieve two of its goals, the College World Series and a Big East tournament championship, the Huskies still captured the conference regular season title and the Clemson Regional. With its back to the wall after a 13-1 defeat at the hands of Coastal Carolina on the Regional’s first day., UConn climbed back. The Huskies went on to beat in-state foe Sacred Heart 13-3, eliminated the Chanticleers 12-6 then pushed Clemson to the brink of elimnation with a 7-6 walkoff win. Ryan Fuller’s game-winning hit made it a winner-take-all Regional Final on Monday June 6.

June 6 is famous for the beginning of the World War II D Day invasion. June 6, 2011 may go down as the greatest day in program history. The Huskies romped the Tigers 14-1 on their home field. During the game, George Springer and Matt Barnes were both selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft’s first round. Eight other players would be selected over the next two days. UConn was going to its first Super Regional with its two highest draft selections ever.

The run, however, would end as the Huskies fell to South Carolina the next weekend 5-1 and 8-2, respectively. As USC’s closer Matt Price was mobbed by his teammates, ESPNU cameras panned to the UConn dugout, full of long faces. The Huskies had ample opportunities in both games, and based on the season goal, losing two games shy of the World Series was a disappointment for the players. UConn was outclassed by the reigning champions. Barnes, their ace didn’t come through in the first game and the Huskies offense seemed to end every inning with a double play in the clincher.

When interviewed by ESPN between innings, Penders seemed to deflect all credit away from him, saying he hadn’t built anything noting that UConn has always had a good baseball program.

He was half right. History supports the latter portion of his statement, but Penders, the Big East Coach of the Year, has built something in the state of Connecticut. UConn hosted a Regional last year, played off-campus games in New Britain and Norwich this season and has had three first-round picks in the last two years. It’s now a place for players who want to play at the next level. The seniors and juniors who move onto professional careers can hang their hats on the fact that they made baseball relevant at UConn again. It may always be in the shadow of bigger sports, but baseball is on its way to regularly sharing some of the Storrs spotlight.

The thing to do now is to improve J.O. Christian Field. It will never have the mystique and championships that college ballparks in Louisiana, Texas, Arizona and California do, but it does have the potential to be a great baseball facility. I’ve always considered the Huskies’ home in Storrs to have charm, but when Eastern Connecticut (Divison III) and Southern Connecticut (Division II), although both successful programs, have far better baseball fields that the state’s flagship university, it’s a problem. At least add some seatbacks to those cold, metal bleachers.

Improvements to J.O. Christian field would help recruiting, especially with TCU added to the Big East. UConn would actually be able to host a Regional on its campus. It would give Penders a place to market because someday, sooner rather than later, there will be College World Series appearances.

The Pride of New England will receive regular national recognition and UConn baseball will speak for itself.

And Penders won’t have to show recruits the banners in Gampel Pavilion anymore.


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UConn Men’s Basketball

West Region - No. 3 Seed, 30-9 (9-9)

Last Game: 65-63 W vs. (5) Arizona (March 26)

Next Game: vs. (4) Kentucky (April 2, 8:49 p.m., Reliant Stadium, Houston.)

1 - Enosch Wolf
2 - Donnell Beverly
3 - Jeremy Lamb
4 - Jamal Coombs-McDaniel
5 - Niels Giffey
10 - Tyler Olander
13 - Shabazz Napier
15 - Kemba Walker
21 - Kyle Bailey
22 - Roscoe Smith
23 - Benjamin Stewart
25 - Michael Bradley
34 - Alex Oriakhi
35 - Charles Okwandu

UConn Women’s Basketball

Philadelphia Region No. 1 Seed, 36-1 (16-0)

Last Game: 75-40 W vs. (2) Duke (March 29)

Next Game: vs. (2) Notre Dame (April 3, 9 p.m., Canseco Field House, Indianapolis, Ind.)

3 - Tiffany Hayes
5 - Caroline Doty
12 - Lauren Engeln
14 - Bria Hartley
23 - Maya Moore
25 - Michala Johnson
30 - Lorin Dixon
31 - Stefanie Dolson
32 - Heather Buck
34 - Kelly Faris

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