As the 1973 UConn Football Season approached, there was change in the air on the Storrs campus as Larry Naviaux took over for the first of his four seasons at the helm. What developed was one of the best seasons in program. Led by a senior fullback from Troy, NY in Eric Torkelson. A 6-2 194lb bruiser of a back that would have a record season by the time the 8-2-1 year was over.
The 73' campaign started with a two point loss to Lehigh at home before Tork and the Huskies took off. 151y rushing on a rainy day at Vermont (w 26-14), then in a dominant and rare 27-13 victory at Yale, the big guy ran the ball 25 times for 158y. And he went over 100 yards a third straight time as the Huskies won a 7-3 slugfest over New Hampshire.
The second and final loss came at the #1 "Small School" Team in the country, Delaware...The Blue Hens stiffled the Huskies in a 35-7 beatdown. Torkelson held to 31 yards on 11 carries. Back to Yankee Conference play and a 30-3 rout of Maine in Orono with Tork carrying the ball 20 times for 148y....Homecoming against UMass, Torkelson and the O-Line did it's job again. 31 carries 109y in a 28-6 win....And perhaps Torks best performance ? 29 carries for 164y in UConn's 27-19 victory over Rutgers..
The Huskies clinched a tie for the Yankee Conference Crown with a hard fought 19-10 road win on the rock hard turf of B.U.'s Nickerson Field...Torkelson surpassing the 1,000y mark in the victory. Following a hard fought 7-7 tie at URI where Tork ran for another 126 yards, the Huskies' annual season finale against Holy Cross was a dog fight. Torkelson grinding out 95y on 26 carries in a last minute 10-9 win to finish the season 8-2-1. The most wins by a UConn Football team in 72 years (1901 8-2) .
in 1973, Eric Torkelson broke Vinny Clements single season rushing record at UConn. A school record 276 carries for 1,233 yards and 8 touchdowns. The 1,233y stood for 23 seasons until Tory Taylor surpassed it in 1995 with 1,262. Torks' numbers still fifth best on the UConn Single Season rushing list.
Eric Torkelson was drafted the following spring by the Green Bay Packers in the 11th round. And he stuck with the Packers thru 1981 as a fullback. In 93 games, he started 26...had 351 carries for 1,307y and 8 career TDS. He also caught 59 passes in his days with the Packers finally retiring in 1981. Following football, Tork became a sales rep in the Medical Field, retiring from Stryker Corp. Just last July, Torkelson was nominated to join the Packer's Board of Directors.
Eric Torkelson....at the time, a bruising Fullback in National Flag Blue.....