Rebecca May Ristow | A&E Editor
Connecticut football fans celebrated last Saturday night as University of Connecticut’s football team won their third straight game of the season. This win marks UConn’s sixth win this year, their most successful season since 2015. This, in itself, is incredible, but the win meant much more to Huskies fans than people may realize. UConn’s football team is now bowl eligible for the first time in seven years.
On Saturday night, November 12th, the UConn Huskies beat the Liberty Flames 36-33. Fans stormed the field, celebrating the team after the incredible victory. The whole scene looked like one out of a movie. Students cited the game as being unreal and beamed with pride over the team’s new ranked title. But, to what can we attribute this insane victory against Liberty, who previously had only one loss in the season?
Some attribute the victory to new coach Jim Mora. Mora, who had previously coached at UCLA as well as in the NFL, took on the UConn football team as a rebuilding project in late 2021. David Benedict, UConn Director of Athletics, claimed at the start of the recent season that "Jim is a proven winner, a man of integrity, and he possesses the experience and the energy to lead our football program back to success,” continuing, “I'm certain that, under Coach Mora's leadership, UConn football will once again realize [their] potential.” Benedict wasn’t the only one who was excited, Mora claiming that he too saw the potential in the program and was excited to see that brought to life again. Mora brings 31 years of coaching experience to the table as well as numerous records in his previous seasons.
Besides Mora, UConn also is receiving acclaim for their star players in the match against Liberty. Zion Turner, freshman quarterback for the Huskies, connected with Kevens Clercius for a 30-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter. This was what cemented the final win. Other notable players were Victor Rosa, who added 10 carries for 62 yards, and Robert Burns, who carried the rushing attack with 104 yards on 11 carries. The two also scored touchdowns that helped UConn gain their lead.
But, at the end of the day, it's not about any one coach or player. Jim Mora claims that Saturday’s game was all about sheer willpower and teamwork. Maybe that’s why the fans reacted so strongly. Suddenly, UConn was bowl eligible and it was all thanks to the incredible effort put forth by every player, faculty member, student, coach, and fan. The Huskies, who despite having incredibly successful athletics otherwise, had previously been a laughing stock in the world of football. But, after beating Liberty, the 19th highest ranked team of the season, they're back on top.
Being bowl eligible in the college division means that UConn has become available to participate in postseason bowl games. And, with UConn’s winning season at a current 6-1, and Jim Mora on their side, it isn’t hard to visualize a bright future for Huskies football.
Watch the fans storm the field on CBS’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/i/status/1591532043611299840.
Photo Credit attributed to The Hartford Courant.