EAST HARTFORD, August 23 – Head coach Randy Edsall begins his second stint with the University of Connecticut football team Thursday night at Pratt and Whitney Stadium when the Huskies open the 2017 campaign by hosting Holy Cross in a 7:30 p.m. at the Rent.
The Huskies (3-9, 1-7 AAC) are looking to rebound from a disastrous conclusion to the 2016 when they lost six in a row and scored a total of just 32 points in the final five contests of the season. Third-year head coach Bob Diaco was let go at the end of the year.
Edsall was hired in late December. He coached the Huskies from 1999 to 2010 and is the winningest football coach in UConn history with 74 wins (74-70). He led the Huskies from Division I-AA to Division I-A and a Big East championship in 2010 along with a berth in the Fiesta Bowl. Edsall resigned soon afterward to coach at Maryland from 2011-15.
Edsall gets another shot to build up the Huskies program, which hasn’t posted a winning season since he left.
Junior quarterback David Pindell is expected to take the helm of the Husky offense, after throwing for 2,424 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2016 at Lackawanna (Pa.) Junior College. Senior running back Arkeel Newsome from Ansonia looks to lead the UConn ground game. Senior linebacker Junior Joseph should be among the leaders for the Connecticut defense, after totaling 81 tackles and two pass breakups last season.
It will the first game between the two old rivals since 1985 since UConn won at the now-demolished Memorial Stadium in Storrs. This is the 29th game between the two schools with the Crusaders holding a 19-8-1 edge.
Holy Cross (4-7, 2-4 Patriot League) returns 16 of 22 players that started in the final game last November. Holy Cross averaged 356 yards and 23.5 points a game a year ago.
Fifth-year senior quarterback Peter Pujals returns to lead the Crusaders after missing the majority of the 2016 season due to injury. A first team All-Patriot League selection in 2015, Pujals has thrown 67 TD passes and for over 8,900 yards in his collegiate career along with rushing for more than 1,600 yards and 16 TDs.
Defensively, Holy Cross has six starters back led by senior Nick McBeath, who led the Patriot League with 106 tackles last season including eight tackles for a loss.
The game will be broadcast on SNY and can be heard on WTIC-AM (1080).