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UConn Opponent Review: Week One

How every opponent left on UConn's schedule fared in the first week of college football action

Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports

Stony Brook: The Seawolves lost 13-7 at home to a Bryant team that was not very good last year (finished 5-7), finishing with 186 total yards of offense. Stony Brook is UConn's lone Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) game of the year but I expect better results from UConn against Stony Brook than the Towson game last year.

Boise State: Boise State lost 35-13 to Ole Miss, a 9.5-point favorite, in the Georgia Dome last week. The Broncos snagged three interceptions in the first half; however, they also threw three of their own interceptions. It was the first time that each team threw three picks in the first half since Oct. 31, 2009. They were down 7-6 heading into the fourth quarter, but then allowed three touchdown passes in the first 7:15 of the quarter. Despite throwing four interceptions, Boise's QB Grant Hedrick finished the day with a very strong 81.8 completion percentage. If UConn does not learn how to get more pressure on the QB when they play Stony Brook, it will be another long day for UConn fans when they host these guys. It will be interesting to see how the Broncos fare this week as 10.5-point home favorites to Colorado State.

South Florida: Despite winning, South Florida still lost (such a USF move!). Despite being a 27-point favorite, USF defeated the Western Carolina Catamounts 36-31. USF's freshman running back Marlon Mack leads the country with 275 yards rushing, scoring four times on 24 carries. The Bulls had to come back from a 14-3 deficit to avoid losing at home for the second straight year against a FCS opponent. The Catamounts, who threw the ball 67 times, actually led 17-16 at halftime. Also, Western Carolina had the ball for 15 minutes longer than South Florida. To put in perspective how ugly of a win this was for USF, Western Carolina had five players suspended and haven't won a road game since October 2010. In addition, they have won four games total over the past three seasons, with three of those wins against Mars Hill, a Division II school. USF hosts Randy Edsall's Maryland team next week and are a 12.5-point underdog. Expect another low scoring game when UConn plays USF.

Temple: The Owls started the season with a bang for the American, trouncing Vanderbilt 37-7 in a Thursday night road game in which they were 8.5-point underdogs. Tavon Young had two interceptions, as Temple forced seven turnovers and scored 27 points off of those turnovers. Vanderbilt's offense, led by Stephen Rivers (yes, this is Philip Rivers' brother), struggled, as Vanderbilt's only touchdown came on a fumble recovery in the end zone. The teams combined to go 5-31 on third down. Temple is a 3-point underdog at home against future American member Navy next week.

Tulane: Tulane lost 38-31 in double overtime to fellow conference newcomer Tulsa. The Green Wave held a 28-20 lead with 6:53 left in regulation, but Tulsa was able to tie the game with 2:53. Tulane had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but their kicker missed a 21-yard field goal attempt. Tulane allowed the sixth most passing yards in the country last week, including 13 receptions for 233 yards by 5'10", 198-pound Keevan Lucas. Tulane's bright spot was Sherman Badie, who rushed for 215 yards on 15 carries.

Eastern Carolina: ECU played FCS North Carolina Central (who finished 5-7 last year and lost one of those games 35-17 at home to Towson). The Pirates were down 7-0 less than five minutes into the game but after that it was all Pirates as they scored 52 unanswered while racking up 582 total yards. Remember the name Shane Carden: he is one of the best QBs in the American Conference and one of the more underrated playerss in the entire country. ECU opens as a 16.5-point underdog to South Carolina this week then has back-to-back games against ACC opponents Virginia Tech and North Carolina.

Central Florida: The Knights' star QB Blake Bortles was taken third overall in the NFL Draft. The lack of Bortles showed as UCF gained only 35 yards of total offense in the first half of the season opener against Penn State in Dublin. This was their worst offensive start to a game in over ten years. Even with the atrocious start, UCF was only down 10-3 at halftime. Justin Holman (who must be the worst practice player of all-time) replaced starting QB Pete DiNovo on the second drive of the second half and changed the whole complexion of the game. He finished 9 for 14 with 204 yards and a touchdown, while adding another two scores on the ground. UCF converted a fourth and long during its final drive and scored to go up 24-23 with 1:13 left in the game. However, Penn State drilled a 36-yard field goal to win the game, 26-24, as time expired.

Army and Cincinnati: Both teams had bye weeks to start the season. (The only logical reason for not having a game in week 1 is that both teams are being given ample time to prepare for UConn.)

Memphis: The Tigers opened up their season at home against the (great nickname alert) Governors of Austin Peay, who have not won a game since 2012. This was the Tigers' highest point total since 1969, scoring seven rushing touchdowns against a hapless opponent. Paxton Lynch threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more as the Tigers gained 303 yards on the ground and 242 through the air. Austin Peay was held to 146 total yards (116 on the ground) and converted one of 13 third downs. Memphis led 42-0 at halftime and easily covered the 39.5-point spread. Memphis has a much more difficult task next week as they fly out to California to take on No. 11 UCLA as 23.5-point underdogs.

Southern Methodist: Speaking of difficult tasks, the Mustangs were 33-point underdogs to 10th ranked Baylor as they opened the brand new, waterfront McLane Stadium in Waco. The over/under for this game was an astronomical 76 points. Baylor led 24-0 after the first quarter and went on to win 45-0. SMU looked completey dejected and lost without Garrett Gilbert, who averaged 505 pass attempts over the last two seasons. Three QBs for SMU combined to go 21 for 40 for 91 yards and one interception. The passing game was actually the bright spot as SMU allowed eight sacks and were held to -24 (yes, NEGATIVE 24 yards) rushing.  Dating back to last year, SMU has now been shut out two of its past three games. Things can only go up from here as SMU travels to North Texas (reminder: UConn won a basketball championship in North Texas last year) and is a 2.5-point underdog.