Before practices even started for the UConn football team, the quarterback competition seemed to be a three-horse race. Graduate transfer Mike Beaudry, transfer Micah Leon and redshirt freshman Steven Krajewski were the frontrunners, and the two incoming true freshmen were longshots to win the job.
However, when news broke minutes before the game that Beaudry, who started their first game against Wagner, would not be the starter against Illinois, that was somehow not the biggest shocker. While many expected head coach Randy Edsall to go with Krajewski, who was previously expected to be the backup, he surprised everyone by starting true freshman Jack Zergiotis.
After the game, Edsall squashed all questions on who will be the starting quarterback for the Huskies for the future.
“There is no quarterback controversy,” Edsall said. “He’s our quarterback moving forward.”
Zergiotis had a so-so collegiate debut, going 21-31 passing for 275 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. He also fumbled twice, including one on a bad snap to open up the game that he was able to recover, but lost the other one later on in the third quarter.
“I thought Jack did a hell of a job,” Edsall said. “There’s something about that man, he’s kinda got a little bit of the ‘it factor,’ and there’s some things that we’ll do to help him even be better. I saw something out of him in the preseason, and Mike [Beaudry] got hurt last week and couldn’t go and I talked with the offensive coaches, but Sunday we went to practice, and I saw something and just said this is the way that we’re gonna go.”
Despite the turnover troubles, he still showed flashes of the talent and “it factor” that Edsall talked about. Zergiotis has a cannon for an arm, proving that he could heave the ball downfield if needed or fire it into a tight gap. For a true freshman, it was a very promising debut.
“There’s a lot of stuff to learn from,” Zergiotis said. “A couple missed reads, a couple missed throws, that could have been back in the game, but now I won’t be missing those throws.”
One notable thing about Zergiotis is that he is actually from Canada, so until now he had never technically played American football. Back in July, quarterbacks coach Mike Moyseenko noted how intriguing this made Zergiotis to him.
“Even though he played, in theory, a different game than us he’s very football smart,” Moyseenko said. “He understands space, he understands leverage very well, very interested to see Jack, when he comes out to this field, he’s gonna be playing on the smallest field he’s ever thrown on before which is exciting.”
Regardless of Beaudry’s health, this is Zergotis’ team moving forward, Edsall made that much clear. With two weeks until their next game vs. Indiana, Zergiots has plenty of time to adjust to his new role as leader of this UConn football offense.
Jorge Eckardt is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at Jorge.firstname.lastname@example.org.