MORGANTOWN - Bill Stewart issued a warning that his Mountaineer squad better not overlook what many consider to be a weak opponent this week.
The Mountaineers, 5-2 overall and 1-1 in the Big East Conference, travel to Storrs, Conn., to take on a struggling University of Connecticut team that has won three games against struggling opponents.
"I don't know what people think of UConn," Stewart said. "That's not my job. They are a Big East team, so anything can happen. I just worry about the Mountaineers."
NEW?STARTER — UConn quarterback Zach Frazer, right, hands off to Jordan Todman in the Huskies’ game at Louisville last week.
at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday, October 23, 2010. Louisville defeated UConn, 26-0. (John Woike/Hartford Courant/MCT)
The two teams tangle at 8 p.m. Friday in front of an ESPN2 television audience. WVU has never lost to the Huskies since UConn joined the Big East in football in 2004. Stewart said his team better view the game as Round 3 in conference competition and not look at who the opponent is or what their record may be.
"It's game three; that's it," the coach said. "When you leave that mindset, that's when you get beat. Don't worry about game 13 (the bowl game) until you take care of the first 12. We have to get up off the canvas and fight. We got TKO'ed in Round 2, but they didn't knock us out. Nobody can knock us out but us.
"We should play a faceless opponent every week," he added. "I don't care who they are or where they're from. We need to play Mountaineer football."
The Huskies are led by junior tailback Jordan Todman, who ranks fifth in the nation with a 140 yards per game rushing average. But the runner was held to just 80 yards last weekend in a 26-0 loss at Louisville, the first time he has been held under 100 yards all season.
"He's a good football player," Stewart said. "He doesn't go down. He's elusive, and he has hurt us in the past."
UConn, because of disciplinary problems and other issues, has used three different quarterbacks this season. Last year's starter Cody Endres was banished for violating team rules, so Michael Box got the starting nod at Louisville.
The Huskies have also used Zach Frazier under center.
Defensively, linebacker Lawrence Wilson leads UConn, and he leads the conference with an average of 11 tackles per game. The senior has been placed on the "Watch Lists" for the Lombardi, Chuck Bednarik and Bronko Nagurski awards. He was also a pre-season pick for All America by The Sporting News.