There were few bright spots for Connecticut's football team in 2011. Paul Pasqualoni's first season as head coach was inconsistent to say the least.
The Huskies followed each win with a loss and finished the season 3-4 in the conference and 5-7 overall.
But there is some reason for hope in 2012.
Running back Lyle McCombs is returning for his sophomore year at Connecticut after emerging as one of the conference's best backs in his freshman season. The 5'8" Staten Island product rushed for more than 1,100 yards and seven touchdowns on his way to freshman All-American honors.
The Big East's second-leading rusher shouldered most of the load offensively in 2011 for the Huskies, including a season-high 32 carries against USF.
Chances are he will be asked to do the same again.
A disparity between defensive and offensive talent on Connecticut's roster is obvious. Despite losing Kendall Reyes to the NFL, the Huskies defense should be solid once again.
But, as expected, UConn's success will hinge on offensive production. And with little hope for improvement in a below-average passing attack, a sophomore tailback could be responsible.
McCombs' body type fits that of your typical runner: short, stocky and quick. He is tough to bring down in the open field, and he has the patience to read blocks effectively.
Here are a few reasons Lyle McCombs will run through the Big East in 2012...