When quarterback David Pindell suffered a knee injury in the third quarter, UConn put the ball in the hands of redshirt freshman Marvin Washington to finish the game against Syracuse.
With the Huskies trailing 41-14, the Orlando-native, would have to make hiscollegiate debut in front of a frenzied and hostile Syracuse crowd, who were wound up from the game’s opening drive. The Huskies looked destined for the endzone after a 25-yard run by a Kevin Mensah and a 29-yard catch by Tyraiq Beals helped put UConn at the edge of the redzone, in what would be a recurring theme throughout the night, Syracuse’s pass rushers stifled UConn’s offense. Defensive back Antawn Cordy came off the edge to hit Pindell and cause a fumble that was recovered by the Orange. Syracuse held a 24-7 lead after the first quarter.
UConn did get within 10 points in the second quarter but the Carrier Dome was rocking from kickoff to the final whistle.
The Carrier Dome is the largest venue that Washington had ever played in, but football is football no matter where it’s played.
“I had some pretty big games in high school,” Washington said. “I like football so I enjoy all of it. This experience, playing in Syracuse… it’s all enjoyable.”
Despite the intense environment and the deficit on the scoreboard, there were no butterflies to be found in Washington’s stomach. When coaches came over to him and told him he better prepare to enter the game, Washington didn’t hesitate to seize his chance.
“I was waiting for this moment since [the beginning] of the season,” said Washington. “I felt like I could I start every week of the season.”
His first drive as a college quarterback was one he will never forget. With the Huskies on Syracuse’s 26-yard line, Washington let loose a perfect rainbow pass that looked laser-guided into tightend Tyler Davis’ hands in the left corner of the endzone.
Washington finished the game with two completions for 66 yards and one touchdown. However, he also added two turnovers to the statsheet. With just under nine minutes to play, Washington turned to pass before fully collecting the snap and the ball slipped through his fingers. Syracuse pounced on the ball to regain possession. Syracuse’s drive ended with a field goal, the finishing touch to their 51-21 win.
“It’s a great lesson for Marvin because Marvin got out there and did a couple good things but again; consistency,” said head coach Randy Edsall. “It’s experience and getting in there and doing those things.”
According to Washington, none of the coaches let him beat himself up on the sideline over the play.
“Everything was all positive. They just told me to slow it down just like it was practice,” said Washington. “They were there for me.”
Even though UConn’s trip to Syracuse was a fruitless endeavor and Washington’s debut itself was a mixed bag, he isn’t discouraged.
“I know if I stay on the right track, do what I’m supposed to do everyday and work hard I’ll see a lot of good snaps in the future,” Washington said.
Bryan Lambert is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.