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Connecticut natives Isaiah Wright and Jaelin Robinson excited for Temple’s game Saturday at UConn

While Temple players don't like to put any more emphasis on a single game, Wright and Robinson say playing at UConn will have special meaning.

Temple wide receiver Isaiah Wright runs with the football against East Carolina defensive back Daniel Charles on Saturday, October 6, 2018. YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Temple wide receiver Isaiah Wright runs with the football against East Carolina defensive back Daniel Charles on Saturday, October 6, 2018. YONG KIM / Staff PhotographerRead moreYong Kim

Temple's football players have always prided themselves on not placing any more importance on a single game, but this week, two starters from Connecticut admit that Saturday's game at UConn is extra special.

The two players are junior wide receiver Isaiah Wright and redshirt senior offensive lineman Jaelin Robinson.

Temple (7-4, 6-1 American Athletic Conference) will visit UConn (1-10, 0-7) at Rentschler Field in Hartford.

Immediately after Wright had a 73-yard punt return for a touchdown that gave the Owls the lead for good in Saturday's 27-17 win over South Florida, Wright was asked if it would be special coming home and playing UConn.

"Yes, I am not going to lie," said Wright, who was a standout at Kingswood-Oxford High in Hartford. "I feel like I didn't do what I was supposed to do last year against UConn so this is a big game for me."

Last year, Temple also didn't do what it was supposed to against the Huskies, losing by 28-24 at Lincoln Financial Field to a UConn team that would finish 3-9.

Wright actually may have been hard on himself. He had six receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown in the loss. He caught a 9-yard scoring pass from another former Connecticut high school product Logan Marchi that cut the UConn lead to 21-14 midway through the third quarter. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Wright only returned one punt, for no yards.

This will be Wright's second time playing at UConn. As a freshman in a 21-0 win on a rainy Friday night, his most notable accomplishment was one kickoff return for 23 yards

On Monday, Wright was named AAC special teams player of the week after the punt return touchdown and a kickoff return for 47 yards against USF.

He is sixth in the country in punt return average (14.9) and has returned two for touchdowns. Wright is also 33rd in kickoff return average (23.6) and also has 33 receptions for 368 yards and three touchdowns.

In each of his previous three seasons, Robinson has appeared against UConn, but all in a reserve role. This season he has shown tremendous versatility in starting all 11 games for the Owls.

The 6-foot-6, 325-pound Robinson started the first two games at right tackle. He then started the next seven at left tackle. After center Matt Hennessy was injured, Robinson started the last two games at right guard, with Vincent Picozzi moving from right guard to center.

Robinson said he and Wright were having a friendly competition as to who could get more tickets for the game. After practice on Tuesday, Robinson said he had gathered 42 tickets for the game.

"I have to thank my teammates for that," he said.

Robinson, who only played one season of high school football at Wilbur Cross High in New Haven, says he can't wait to return home.

"It feels amazing just to know that my football career started in Connecticut and my last collegiate (regular season) game is going to end in Connecticut," said Robinson, who was a basketball player in high school before being coaxed to come out for football as a senior "Everything comes full circle so I am excited about it."