Huskies ready to bounce back after loss to WMU
Published: Thursday, October 6, 2011
Updated: Thursday, October 6, 2011 03:10
No. 16 West Virginia will begin Big East Conference play against the defending Big East champions, Connecticut, Saturday.
The Huskies are 2-3 on the season but could easily be undefeated. Their three losses were by a combined 14 points, and Connecticut was leading in the fourth quarter of each of those games.
The most recent of the Huskies' losses came last Saturday against Western Michigan. The Broncos were able to win 38-31.
"Obviously we had another hard-fought, disappointing result for us," said Connecticut head coach Paul Pasqualoni. "We were able to generate some offense, but we didn't play well enough defensively."
Western Michigan was able to compile 490 total yards of offense against Connecticut. Broncos quarterback Alex Carder carved up the Huskies' defense for 479 yards and five touchdowns.
"We didn't play well enough on pass defense last week," Pasqualoni said. "We will certainly try to tighten up the coverage this week and hopefully do a better job rushing the passer."
Pasqualoni understands the team must be better in all facets defensively to slow down the high-octane West Virginia offense. In fact, he thinks the realization of the Mountaineers' offense potential may spark his team.
"It's big motivation," he said. "I would expect them to have a very well-focused week of practice, realizing the task at hand and how good the people we are playing really are.
"We're moving on to an awfully good West Virginia team at West Virginia, so this will be a huge challenge."
One of the biggest challenges for Pasqualoni and his staff will be preparing for West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen's offense. Mountaineer quarterback Geno Smith has thrown for over 1,700 yards in five games this season.
"Geno is a very exceptional quarterback," Pasqualoni said. "His receivers are excellent with vertical speed and real athleticism."
Smith wasn't the star in West Virginia's game last week, though, as freshman running back Dustin Garrison ran for 291 yards and two touchdowns. Coach Pasqualoni feels Garrison made the Mountaineer offense extremely difficult to prepare for.
"The system they're in, obviously, is difficult enough to defend," Pasqualoni said. "When you're able to run the ball like that it just makes it that much harder to defend."
The Huskies are 0-3 all-time in Morgantown, and coach Pasqualoni knows what type of atmosphere to expect at Milan Puskar Stadium this weekend.
"It is an intense place to play— there is no question about that," he said.