Fiction and History
When King Harsin and his gridiron knights on snorting galloping steeds thundered into Connecticut five years ago it was the king’s first year on the thrown.
It was a sloppy battle. The Connecticut Huskies were greatly aided by a rain-soaked field. The Broncos were without the longer cleats for such occasions. The longer studs for cleats were safely tucked away in an equipment locker in yonder Bronco kingdom far across the great frontier.
For the Broncos that afternoon was like showing up at a jousting tournament with a pole three feet shorter than everybody else and bringing a Shetland as your steed.
The Huskies played the Broncos tougher than expected. The Knights of Harsin prevailed to a 38-21 victory.
There is little similarity in the book by Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and this post. It’s a catchy title only. Our king, Bryan Harsin, is not a bumbling backward superstitious potentate, he’s studious modern-day football genius.
Merlin is not a mysterious conniving and controlling wizard, he is the young dashing, good-looking Brett Rypien. However, he does hurl footballs with wizard-like precision and casts spells on opposing corners and safeties.
The Connecticut Huskies would just as soon mail their score rather than make a six-hour flight across the fruited plain. Their own subjects are predicting a Boise State 51-17 win.
Quarterback, David Pindall, runs the Husky offense. His best asset is allusiveness.
Last year he connected on 84 of 159 tosses in 7 games. He had 4 TD passes and 6 interceptions. He gained 289 yards in 72 rushing attempts.
Last week against UCF, Pindall ran for 157 yards on 22 carries. He passed for 266 yards completing 27 in 41 attempts. Realistically, UCF was probably playing a bend but don’t break defense.
Their number one running back is sophomore Kevin Mensah, a 5’9” 198 pounder. Last year he rushed for 561 yards in 126 carries for a 4.5 average.
His running style reminds one of Ryan Wolpin—on a bad day. His engine just doesn’t rev like Ryan’s.
Against UCF Mensah had 20 carries for 59 yards.
Athlon has only two UConn offensive players on the Ameican Conference offensive teams, running back Kevin Mensah and wide receiver Hergly Mayala. They are on the fourth team. Quayvon Skanes is a third team punt returner.
The Huskies head coach is Randy Edsall. This is his second go around with the Huskies. He was the head coach for 11 years, wooed away to Maryland in the Big Ten for 5 years, and now in the second year of his return to UConn.
What we see here is life in some sort of a drama played out metaphorically in a football program. A couple marries and after nearly a dozen years the guy decides to latch hold of a younger gal with more promise and money. Things don’t go well.
The guy comes to his senses and goes back to the first wife, thinking it wasn’t so bad after all. After a couple years he’s faced with the real facts—it wasn’t her, it was him all along.
Anyway, we learn little about ourselves and life from these types of scenarios in sports. So I thought I’d pass on something useful—or not.
Last week the Broncos beat a team that many feel is in the upper third of Division One programs. Many were predicting a competitive contest. Even while having it out of gear in the second half, the Broncos handed Troy a solid 56 to 20 loss.
Quarterback Brett Rypien was near flawless completing 20 of 28 attempts. He passed for 305 yards and 4 TD passes.
Eight different players made receptions. Sean Modster had a monster day; 7 catches, 167 yards, and 2 TDs.
The Broncos didn’t try to establish any sort of ground game. The team total was 111 yards. Why risk an injury to a running back when a running game was obviously not needed.
“Looking for a Place to Fall”
The best thing about this game is that the Broncos don’t have to fly to another coast to lay an old-fashioned butt-whoopin’ on an opponent.
There is nothing less gratifying than whoopin’ a kid in front of his own house with his family looking on. As satisfying as that might seem—it’s not. It’s best to bring him over to your backyard and thank him for coming over after it’s over.
Years ago I talked with a former heavyweight boxer who faced George Foreman in the ring. I asked him, “What did you think about before the bell and you looked across the ring at Foreman?” He said, “I didn’t even look at him. I was just looking around the ring, trying to find a good place to fall.”
That’s fatalistic thinking at its best.
We certainly don’t expect the Huskies to exhibit that sort of pessimism. They won’t lay down. They will play with pride. However, the Broncos don’t want anyone invading their kingdom and leaving with anything other than a demoralizing defeat.
The final score; we’ll let the Connecticut fans’ prediction stand (51-17). That is so generous. It will likely be worse.