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Storrs — Zach Frazer has been handed the keys to UConn's offense.
But this time, with his hands firmly on the ignition switch, he plans to turn his final month as a Husky into a pleasure ride.
"It feels great to be back in there," said Frazer, who will start at quarterback again on Thursday when UConn faces Big East leader Pittsburgh at Rentschler Field (7:30 p.m., ESPN). "I'm sitting back and enjoying myself. I'm not going to put pressure on myself or the team. It's going out there and having fun and playing a game.
"It should be an exciting season the rest of the way and that's how we're looking at things."
The Huskies (4-4, 1-2) are coming off their first win over West Virginia, a 16-13 overtime comeback that was engineered by Frazer, a senior whose college football career has featured a variety of twist and turns - with a road block or two thrown in for good measure.
This year alone, Frazer began the season as UConn's starter, dropped all the way to No. 3 on the depth chart after four games, and now is in position to put the Huskies back into the Big East race with a win over Pittsburgh (5-3, 3-0).
"I haven't really been raised to be a quitter," said Frazer, who returned to the starting lineup following the suspension (and ultimate dismissal) of Cody Endres and an injury (concussion) to Mike Box. "I've always prepared as a starter. I was still watching film. Nothing has changed. The only thing that changed was I wasn't on the field. I wasn't playing in the game. … It was a difficult experience to go through but ultimately it was a test."
The test now is to finish the season strong, just like a year ago when Frazer led UConn to four straight victories, including a bowl win over South Carolina. The Huskies are determined to go bowling for the fourth straight year and still have a chance to factor into the conference race.
Playing relaxed, Frazer said, is the key.
"Even the week before West Virginia, everyone was getting all riled up during practice and just having fun," he said. "There was smack talking … you could hear the defense get a little loud and we would get a little loud. It was just kind of a relaxed atmosphere, and we had the same thing happen yesterday as well. It's fun being out on the field. I feel like our team is trying to carry that over."
That wasn't the case early on. UConn, which entered the year with great expectations, played tight through the first half of the season.
"I don't know the reason," Frazer said. "You can definitely see it on film that some of the times we were a little uptight … a little worried about something. You can just sense that everyone wasn't relaxed and into the rhythm of the game. That's just my personal thoughts. I feel like the rest of the season everyone's going to be a little more relaxed.
"It should be exciting to see how it plays out."