It’s an interesting couple of weeks for UConn Athletic Director Warde Manuel. Last week, his alma mater came into town and Manuel saw his over-matched football team play with a lot of heart against college football royalty. This week, he’ll be watching his football team visit the school where he used to be AD, and, despite being favored, there’s a not insignificant chance the Huskies leave Amherst today with a loss. A loss could erase any goodwill the football team earned from the fanbase after last Saturday's close loss.
The Bulls and the Huskies have had similar starts to their season. Buffalo kept it fairly close on the road against #2 Ohio State but were then soundly beaten at Baylor. Unlike UConn, they survived a scare at home against FBS opponent Stony Brook, needing 5 overtimes to grab the W. So to summarize: they kept it close against a power team, lost comfortably to a superior opponent and played down to a lesser opponent, sound familiar? Today's game will be a good match-up between two evenly matched teams that will give us better idea of how good each of these teams really are.
There's an 8-game win streak against the Bulls is on the line in the Huskies first road game of the year. The last time Buffalo beat us, we were still playing on campus at Memorial Stadium. Hopefully the Huskies can keep the streak alive, but more importantly- notch our first win of the year.
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My unsolicited advice? I would stay away from this match-up… to many weird things can happen between these two teams. Although, gambling can make watching any game fun and if last year’s game is any indication, we could be in for an ugly one today.
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To get some context around this 'rivalry', take a look at Mac’s article on our recent history against the Bulls. In the Tuesday press conference, Paul Pasqualoni kicked off Buffalo week with effusive praise of Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack.
If you’re into X’s and O’s, Andrew Callahan put a great scouting report together highlighting the keys to the game and players to look out for. We collaborated with SB Nation’s Bull Run to exchange Q&A and also, Callahan appeared on their podcast “Last Bull In” yesterday (fast forward to the 29-minute mark).
It’ll be a clear day, 72 degrees and sunny in Amherst, NY with no wind and moderate humidity.
Out: S Andrew Adams (shoulder)
Questionable: WR Kamal Abrams (knee), CB Taylor Mack (shoulder), WR Shakim Phillips (hamstring), RT Kevin Friend (ankle), LB Graham Stewart (ankle)
Questionable: Brandon Oliver (knee- expected to play)
UConn will be wearing their away whites with white pants. The Bulls are also sporting new jerseys, which are also part of a university wide re-branding. Theirs emphasizes that UB is the premier state school in New York.
UConn 22, Buffalo 17
I could really see us losing this game, but hopefully the Michigan game developed some confidence and we come into Buffalo ready to play. I think the offense finds its rhythm and the defense holds it down and we come out with a close win against an improved Buffalo team.