Add another disruption to the local sports scene compliments of Hurricane Irene: The UConn football season opener against Fordham, originally scheduled for Thursday night at Rentschler Field, has been postponed. Used as an Air Force Base to protect the North Atlantic during World War II, the property was donated to the state by United Technologies in 1999, and The Rent was built as the final piece of the puzzle in upgrading the UConn football program to Division 1 from Division 1AA.
The parking lot surrounding the stadium is currently being used as a staging area for the National Guard to deliver supplies, including food and bottled water, to needy homes throughout the state. The stadium’s location – smack in the middle of the state – makes it an ideal venue for an emergency depot. Additionally, central Connecticut was hit particularly hard with Irene’s wrath in the form of excessive flooding. “Tractor trailers are being off-loaded with pallets of water and meals ready to eat,” said Connecticut National Guard spokesman Col. John Whitford. Currently, there are approximately 100 Guardsmen and women on duty at The Rent.
“It’s a fairly decent-sized operation,” added Whitford.
UConn is hopeful the game can be played at The Rent on Saturday at noon – but that, of course, depends on whether or not the National Guard is still using the parking lot for emergency relief.
“The University of Connecticut vs. Fordham football game scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 1, has been postponed due to Rentschler Field being unavailable for use,” said a statement released by the UConn athletic department yesterday. “The stadium is currently being used by the Connecticut National Guard for use as a commodities distribution center to provide towns and cities of the state that are in need of essential supplies in the wake of Hurricane Irene.”
So the Paul Pasqualoni Era is on hold. Pasqualoni, a Cheshire native who led Syracuse to nine Bowl appearances in his 13 years as head coach of the Orange, was hired after Randy Edsall abruptly skipped town to take the head job at Maryland immediately after his Huskies were pummeled by Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. Edsall left without acknowledging his departure, nor even saying goodbye to his team. He simply boarded a plane from Phoenix headed for Maryland and never looked back. Thus ended the Edsall Era. (His actions reek of an ulterior motive, which we will investigate at a later time.)
Pasqualoni had promised to announce UConn’s starting quarterback on Thursday. Freshman Michael Nebrich, redshirt freshman Scott McCummings, and junior Johnny McEntee are vying for the job vacated by the graduation of senior starter Zach Frazer. Redshirt sophomore Mike Box, the apparent incumbent, abruptly announced last week that he was leaving the program for a Division 1AA school where he would not have to wait out a year nor forfeit any eligibility. Box had apparently fee-fallen from No. 1 to No. 4 on the Huskies‘ QB depth chart.