A little help, please?
On Saturday, Tom Luicci said that Antonio Lowery didn't play at Army for scheme reasons, although I have also heard that he was injured against Pitt, so there's some confusion there. It'll be important to have a healthy Lowery for UConn. Not only is he a very good player, but there's another aspect at play here as well. UConn will be playing inspired football in honor of Jasper Howard, but Rutgers has its own Florida contingent too, and the Scarlet Knights Lowery and Tim Brown were close to him. We'll need Antonio on Saturday to have a chance of matching the intensity from what will likely be a packed and raucous Rent.
Back to the individual matchups though. Manny Abreu has a lot of potential, and may be good enough to start, although he can't match Lowery's experience or, or motivation for this one. UConn may have lost Donald Brown to the NFL, but their rushing attack hasn't missed a beat with the combination of Jordan Todman, and New Brunswick's Andre Dixon. Both teams sack the quarterback a lot, and have given up a lot of sacks to this point, so whichever team is able to effectively run the football best will be in the better position to win.
We'll need to see a good game from the linebacker corps. That will also mean that Ryan D'Imperio will have to play through his nagging shoulder injury, and show the big play ability that he flashed all through 2008. I've actually started to see some backhanded criticism of Ryan in recent weeks. He hasn't played bad by any means, but people are starting to tug at superman's cape, if you know what I'm saying.
Anyway, I'm starting to get into UConn mode this morning. There's a lot to discuss - have they found a passing game, how do you replace several losses to the NFL, what's up with their kicking game, and so forth. I'll get into those questions in more depth tomorrow, and so much more, when I post the answers from a Q&A with Kevin from The UConn Blog.