Start Time: 2:30 PM Central
Location: Pratt & Whitney Stadium, East Hartford, Connecticut
Weather: 47 degrees with 0% chance of rain
Records: UCONN: 5-5. Houston: 10-0. First meeting between two schools.
Live Stats: here.
If the Mascots Were to Actually Fight 1 on 1: Cougar over Husky
This is where it happens.
These are the weeks the M. Night Shyamalan twist occurs.
Houston is a team coming off a big win and potentially looking to next week. They are heading on the road into the cold to face a Connecticut team that is trying to salvage their season with a signature win and clinch bowl eligibility.
Meanwhile the Cougars have beaten everyone that has been put in front of them so what will they need to do to continue the trend?
When the Cougars have the ball:
A major key for the Cougars, regardless of the quarterback, will be to get off to a fast start.
Through six weeks, Houston was one of two teams to score a touchdown on their first possession every game. Since then the Cougars haven’t done it once but have been redeemed by the fact they have outscored teams 217-89 in the second half.
This is a testament to the coaching staff but the most dangerous thing they can do is to give a team like UConn hope and let them stick around.
The Cougars bring their #8 rushing offense up against UConn’s #70 rush defense which does not bode well for the Huskies especially as the offensive line continues to improve by the week as the trio of freshmen gain experience.
The Huskies hang their hat on defense in the secondary where they are tied with Houston for seventh in the country with fifteen interceptions.
Last time out, sophomore defensive back Jamar Summers was named American Defensive Player of the Week when he returned one of those interceptions 67 yards for a touchdown to help the Huskies beat Tulane.
When the Huskies have the ball:
Unfortunately for UConn, the Summers interception was the only time they scored all game. The Huskies were held to season low 227 yards but had a bye week to fix their issues and game plan for the Cougars.
UConn comes in ranked 110th rushing the football and only slightly better through the air. The man behind the magic and best playmaker for the Huskies is sophomore running back Arkeel Newsome who leads the team in rushing and is second in receiving.
If the Cougars can corral Newsome it will be a long day for the Huskies. Expect safeties Trevon Stewart and Adrian McDonald to get the first shot with the heat-seeking missile turned linebacker Elandon Roberts and the athletic Tyus Bowser helping out as well.
Coming off a bye week, the Huskies should have new wrinkles to get Newsome the ball and probably a few tricks up their sleeve as well to complement their ‘nothing to lose’ mentality.
In a nutshell, the Cougars have to go on the road against a team that creates turnovers, does not give the ball away and doesn’t hurt itself with penalties. That’s usually a recipe for disaster for Houston, especially with UConn coming off a bye week, but not this time.
The Cougars jump all over the Huskies and take this one 38-13 moving Houston to 11-0 and adding to the lore of Tom Herman and a little something extra to next week’s match-up with Navy.
The future is bright for UConn as most of their playmakers are underclassmen but they fall to 5-6 on Senior Day and will need a win next week against Temple to gain bowl eligibility for the first time since 2010.
Good luck with that.