Mixed results for UConn quarterback Endres
10/11/2009 3:31 AM
PITTSBURGH - Cody Endres wanted Pitt to recruit him during his days as the starting quarterback at Trinity High School. These days, he has to settle for playing against the Panthers.
Endres made his fifth collegiate start Saturday when Connecticut traveled to Pitt for a Big East Conference game at Heinz Field.
There was a lot of good - like a 79-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Easley for the only touchdown of the first half - and a little bad - Endres fumbled twice on quarterback sacks, losing one with the Huskies in scoring position.
Chances are Endres will remember the final score. Pitt rallied from a 15-point deficit for a 24-21 victory.
"The No. 1 thing I wanted to do was come here and win. I'm a team player," Endres said. "Overall, we battled well and made some plays when we had to. It came down to some late drives and some big plays."
Pitt made most of them during the fourth quarter. Endres made plenty during the first three.
And the former Pitt fan admitted "there was a little bit of extra motivation" coming into this game. Endres attended two or three Pitt games each year and wanted the Panthers to recruit him.
Any chance of that ended when Pat Bostick, Pennsylvania's top recruit coming out of Manheim Township High School, committed to Pitt before the start of the 2007 season. Endres picked Connecticut over Cincinnati, Akron and Ohio.
"I thought I was a good quarterback and I wanted to play wherever I felt they gave me a chance," Endres said. "UConn gave me that chance and I feel I'm playing the best that I can. I just have to keep playing well."
Statistically, Endres had his best performance against major college competition against Pitt. He completed 17 of 23 passes (73.9 percent) for 197 yards and the touchdown to Easley. Endres passed for career highs in yards (289) and touchdowns (two) against Division I-AA Rhode Island two weeks ago.
The first Washington County player to start at quarterback for a school from one of the six major college conferences since Ringgold's Scott Zolak quarterbacked Maryland in 1990, Endres replaced Zach Frazier when he went down with a knee injury against North Carolina. Endres entered Saturday with a 139.57 efficiency rating, 466 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The 6-4, 233 redshirt sophomore provides Connecticut's offense a patient presence and a big-play arm, as evidenced by the 79-yard touchdown where he hit Easley in stride 40 yards passed the line of scrimmage.
"It's a joy to go out and execute and do things you think can work," Connecticut coach Randy Edsall said. "That's how we got a 79-yard touchdown."
If there's been one knock on Endres, it's that he holds onto the football too long. It happened in the second quarter and cost the Huskies an opportunity for points.
On a third-and-6 at the Pitt 11, Endres was sacked by Greg Williams and Max Gruder, who forced a fumble. After a scrum, Pitt's Greg Romeus recovered back at the 32.
"Bad things happen when you don't throw the ball away and take a sack and fumble the football," Edsall said. "He's heard that from me about every week of the season so far. He needs to see it and he needs to throw the ball away, especially in that situation."
Endres knows but Edsall reminded him as he came to the sideline.
"The play in the first half when I fumbled in the red zone, I should have thrown it away," Endres admitted. "That was completely my fault."
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