UConn continues to struggle with its running game on offense. Scoring only six points against one of the worst Big East defenses was disheartening in a 13-6 loss to South Florida on the road Saturday night.
UConn has managed only 16 points in its last two games and the Huskies (3-6, 0-4 Big East) have a short week of preparation for Friday night's game against Pittsburgh (4-5, 1-3) at Rentschler Field (8 p.m., ESPN2).
In spite of all the negatives, wide receiver Geremy Davis has emerged as the most pleasant surprise on either side of the ball for the Huskies this season. Davis caught seven passes for 98 yards against USF, giving him a third productive game in his last four. Davis, a 6-foot-1 red-shirt sophomore, caught four passes for 79 yards against Syracuse and four more for 78 yards against Rutgers.
"I think he's doing a good job getting open, I think he's also doing a good job catching the ball," UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni said Monday. "He had one over there [at USF] where he had to go up vertically, pull the ball out and took the ball away from the [defensive back]. The DB had a pass interference on top of that. "
Last season, Davis had six receptions for 73 yards and no touchdowns. Through nine games this season, Davis leads UConn with 36 receptions, 547 yards, and a 15.2-yard average. But in a reflection of UConn's problems, he has scored only one touchdown.
UConn has only three touchdowns in its last 16 quarters plus an overtime period.
"We've got to work on it," Davis said. "Maybe we've got to do extra things in practices – like run the ball to the end zone every time we catch a ball. Get in a habit of actually scoring. We've got to instill little things like that. Our job is to put points on the board."
Pasqualoni thinks Davis can help just as much with the running game as he has with the passing game.
"He can be a physical blocker," Pasqualoni said. "He's big guy."
"We've got to play our part," he said. "We don't want to be what coach [George] DeLeone calls pass-catching specialists. We want to contribute the run game too. We've got make sure we are kicking out the [defensive backs] and blocking them so we can open holes for the running backs, just like the offensive line does."
Davis ranks seventh in the Big East with four receptions per game and is fifth in the conference with 60.8 receiving yards per game.
"Geremy is a young player, getting better every week," Pasqualoni said. "He's a good example of working hard, getting better and each week he goes out and tries to prove that. Hopefully, he'll take a few steps this week [against Pitt]."