In hindsight, maybe Connecticut coach Paul Pasqualoni would’ve had more fun in Central New York if he had picked apples and rode the hay wagon.
Pasqualoni sure didn’t have much fun on the football field on Friday night. His Huskies were demolished by Syracuse on Friday night, 40-10, in his old stomping grounds at the Carrier Dome.
“The people were great, the people were awfully nice,” Pasqualoni said. “We just felt we could’ve done a lot better tonight.”
That’s an understatement.
The Orange were dominant in all facets of the game. On defense, SU held UConn to just 290 total yards, including -6 yards on the ground.
The offense, which had scored just four offensive touchdowns in its last three games, exploded for its second highest offensive output of the season. Syracuse had been struggling in the red zone, but had no suchs problems on Friday night.
Even the beleaguered special teams had a solid performance, as Ritchy Desir had a couple of nice punt returns, and Ross Krautman hit his season long field goal of 47 yards while not missing any of his four field goal attempts.
“It feels good,” quarterback Ryan Nassib said. “We really accomplished everything we set out for this game and we executed on all three facets.”
It was the kind of win that Pasqualoni would have leading the Orangemen in the late 90s.
The Orangemen were a perinniel power in the Big East with Donovan McNabb, and consistently competed for a BCS game. In 2001, the Orange finished the season ranked No. 14, and defeated Kansas State in the Insight Bowl.
But that would be the coach’s final winning season on The Hill, as he went 4-8 the following season, his only losing season at Syracuse. He went 6-6 the following two years before he was ousted following Syracuse’s 51-14 loss to Georgia Tech in the Champs Sports Bowl.
Pasqualoni played it off as business as usual this week in his first return to the Carrier Dome since 2004.
“This is a business. We’re not going up to Central New York to pick apples, ride on the hay wagon,” Pasqualoni said on Monday. “This is a business trip. Really, all I can see is getting ready to play this game.”
But in reality, the game had to mean something to Pasqualoni, the second most successful coach in Syracuse history.
“We’ve played a lot of years of football and it was good to be here tonight,” Pasqualoni said. “The Dome is a good venue, a great place to play.”