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UPDATED: Casey Cochran to start at quarterback

Redshirt freshman Casey Cochran will start at quarterback for UConn this weekend at SMU.

Jared Wickerham

Interim coach T.J. Weist believes that a true, program-leading quarterback could be in the building.

This Saturday against SMU, UConn will get its first glimpse at whether redshirt freshman Casey Cochran can be that man.

As of today, Weist has moved Cochran to the no. 1 spot on the depth chart ahead of freshman Tim Boyle, who previously started the last four games for the Huskies. UConn lost each of those contests to USF, Cincinnati, no. 17 UCF and no. 20 Louisville by a combined margin of 147-53. Over his starting stint, Boyle finished 58-132 for 619 yards, zero touchdowns and eight interceptions.

"[Boyle's] first game, he threw a bunch of good footballs," Weist said. "After this last game, some of his simple passes weren't on target."

During mop-up time this season, Cochran has completed 17 of 28 throws for 183 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The second-year signal caller hails from Monroe, CT and will be the third player to start under center for the Huskies in 2013.

"Ever since this summer ... I set out to work as hard as I can every, single day and get better every, single day no matter how I was feeling or what the circumstances were that day. " Cochran told the media. "I knew at some point I was going to get my shot."

According to Weist, his decision was a product of many factors, including decision-making, performance in practice and production on the field. Ultimately, he made the switch because he believes Cochran currently gives the Huskies the best chance to win on Saturday.

"He’s made very smart decisions," Weist said. "He’s shown ability that he can handle the pressure … Casey is a very smart quarterback ... He watches film more than any other player we have."

After watching his team battle against some of the toughest defenses in the AAC, Cochran will take his first shot against the team that's allowed the most points in the American. While it should be noted that the Mustangs played Texas Tech, Texas A&M and TCU in its non-conference schedule, they did give up 49 points to Temple, 29 to Memphis and 55 to Rutgers in three overtimes.

How many points Cochran can put on the board will be obviously be critical, but the most important piece to Weist will be how his new quarterback performs when the heat is on.

"It all comes down to how he makes decision under pressure in the game."

Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. EST this Saturday. The game can be seen in full on ESPN3.

For more UConn football news, updates and analysis, follow Andrew on Twitter: @UConnFB_Andrew.