Rentschler Field (40,000/Natural Grass)
East Hartford, Conn.
Saturday, September 3 • 12:00 p.m. • ESPN3.com
ESPN3.com — Bob Picozzi and Christian Fauria
WTIC-AM 1080 (flagship)
Connecticut and Fordham meet for just the second time when they begin the 2011 season … The only previous matchup was a 35-0 Fordham win in the 1915 season … Fordham head coach Tom Masella was an assistant coach at Connecticut in 1998 under current USF coach Skip Holtz … Masella also holds ties to Connecticut as the head coach at Fairfield (1995) and Central Connecticut (2004-05) … Fordham receivers coach Patrick Maguire is a 2009 graduate of Connecticut and a former student assistant with the Huskies.
Paul Pasqualoni (Penn State ’72)
0-0, first season at Connecticut
141-76-1, 20th season as collegiate head coach
Connecticut turned to Paul Pasqualoni as its head coach following the offseason departure of Randy Edsall to Maryland … Pasqualoni is hardly a stranger to the BIG EAST as he served as Syracuse’s head coach from 1991-2004 and has a league-record 62 conference wins … The Huskies bring a five-game regular-season winning streak into the 2011 opener … Connecticut has won a share of the BIG EAST title twice in the last four years (2007, 2010) … Connecticut returns nine starters from last year’s unit … DT Kendall Reyes earned All-BIG EAST First Team honors to lead a group of four returning starters on the defensive line … S Jerome Junior and CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson had four interceptions each last year … LB Sio Moore, who ranked fifth in the BIG EAST with 110 tackles last year, is the lone returning linebacker … The offense will feature new starters at quarterback, running back and three interior line positions … The Huskies do not have a quarterback on the roster who has started a college game … OT Mike Ryan (All-BIG EAST First Team) and C Moe Petrus (All-BIG EAST Second Team) anchor a veteran offensive line … K Dave Teggart is an All-BIG EAST First Team pick who scored 111 points last year.
Tom Masella (Wagner ’81)
26-30, sixth season at Fordham
43-56, 10th season as collegiate head coach
Fordham is coming off a 5-6 season in 2010 as the Rams won three of their last four games … The Rams have finished 5-6 in each of the last three seasons after winning the 2007 Patriot League title … Fordham is ineligible for the Patriot League championship due to the Rams’ awarding of athletic scholarships in football beginning in 2010 … In addition to Thursday’s game against Connecticut, the Rams also face Army from the FBS ranks … Fordham has just four home games in 2011 and plays just two of its first seven at home … The Rams have 11 returning starters from last year … RB Darryl Whiting rushed for 771 yards and four touchdowns last season, while DT Justin Yancey registered 41 tackles, three sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss … QB Ryan Higgins finished the year as Fordham’s starter and threw for 665 yards and four touchdowns against four interceptions in 2010.