Football: Seniors lead program to new horizon

UConn head coach Bob Diaco leads his team out of the tunnel prior to a home game. Diaco led the Huskies to their first bowl game since 2011. (Ashley Maher/The Daily Campus)

As a roller coaster of a season ended with UConn football going 6-7, one thing that was for certain is that the program is on the rise. The future is bright at Rentschler Field, and Huskies fans have head coach Bob Diaco to thank for that.

UConn started the season with victories over both Villanova and Army. These two wins tied the 2014-15 campaign’s win total. Next, the Huskies marched into Missouri for a noon game against the nationally-ranked Tigers. The game ended in a 9-6 Mizzou win. The Huskies had a chance late in the contest, but a fake field goal attempt resulted in an interception for Missouri that sealed the victory.

The Missouri game was the first of three straight losses, as the Huskies would next drop a game at home against a Keenan Reynolds–led Navy team and then fall in a rout at the hands of BYU in Provo, Utah. The losing streak ended with an UConn win at UCF. The Huskies would return to Storrs with the Civil Conflict trophy before losing the Homecoming game to USF, 28-20.

From there on, UConn would rattle off three straight wins. Without a doubt the peak of the season was the Huskies’ late November home game against the No. 13 Houston Cougars. Against all odds, UConn pulled off a 20-17 upset on national television that ended with Huskies fans rushing the field.

That would be the last win for the Huskies, as they would drop a road game at Temple to close out the regular season and lose the St. Petersburg Bowl, 16-10, to the Marshall Thundering Herd.

This graduating class has been through a lot of adversity in their time with the team. They’ve seen their fair share of coaches, from Paul Pasqualoni, toT.J. Weist and now Diaco. They’ve played through two-win and three-win seasons, but the senior class can leave knowing they have helped start the change at UConn.

The 2016 NFL Draft came and went and for the first time since 2006, not a single UConn player was taken in the seven rounds. Nevertheless, five Huskies were signed as undrafted free agents.

Senior safeties Junior Lee and Andrew Adams were both signed by the New York Giants. They’ll be joined by linebacker Graham Stewart, who recently signed with the Giants after originally intending to sign with the Minnesota Vikings. The Houston Texans picked up senior defensive tackle Kenton Adeyemi while the Indianapolis Colts signed defensive tackle Julian Campenni.


Connor Donahue is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at connor.f.donahue@uconn.edu.