After a disappointing loss last Friday to BYU, UConn is looking to get to .500 against FCS opponent Stony Brook. Head coach Bob Diaco was planning on sticking to the two quarterback system from last week, but after a recent development on Thursday, backup Chandler Whitmer will be starting as Casey Cochran recovers from what the New London Day is reporting as a concussion.
In 36 snaps on Friday Whitmer went 8 for 17 and 113 yards. He is 5-11 in his career at UConn and has a serious opportunity to both build on that record and solidify his position with the coaching staff.
Diaco will also look to continue a rapid rotation of players in order to build depth going forward. 50 different players saw the field against BYU last week, they could surpass that number this weekend if UConn can take care of business early.
After opening the 2013 season with a loss to FCS opponent Towson, UConn should be well prepared even though this is a less talented Stony Brook team. The Sea Wolves, led by Syracuse (ew) transfer John Kinder at quarterback, struggled offensively in a 13-7 loss to Bryant. They have had trouble passing the ball but feature a few workhorse backs in Marcus Coker and Stacey Bedell. Their defense is solid as well.
This is an extremely pivotal game for the Huskies, who need to build momentum after a disappointing open to the season. It is also a very winnable game and a great opportunity to boost the confidence of some players who had a tough time against a talented BYU team such as safety Obi Melinfonwu, running back Max DeLorenzo, and now most notably, Chandler Whitmer.
Prediction: UConn wins, 35-0
Gametime/TV: 12:00 pm, SNY
Location: Rentschler Field, East Hartford, CT
Broadcast Team: Eric Frede, Sean Mulcahy Radio: WTIC-AM - Joe D'Ambrosio, Wayne Norman, Kevin Nathan
Forecast: Partly cloudy with high 70s during tailgate hours, low 80s with a chance of thunderstorms by the end of the game
Injuries: UCONN - T Andreas Knappe – questionable, QB Casey Cochran - Out
From UB Bull Run's Tim Riordan (Stony Brook took Buffalo to 5OT last year the week before the Bulls faced off against UConn):
They look to be down this season but beware of Stony Brook. Besides taking us to five rounds of overtime our SUNY brethren had Syracuse on the ropes in 2012 (and beat Army). The year before that they took UTEP to overtime. In the past four seasons only USF really had their way with Stony Brook. They don't have a ton of FBS wins to their credit but they do tend to bring their A game when a chance presents itself.
The Seawolves coaching staff makes good use of the tools they have. They can also game plan around their oppoents expectations. UB was expecting the Wolves to use their solid running game to stay with Buffalo but the Wolves came out throwing and caught the Bulls flatfooted.
Key to beating them? Avoid big mistakes and be patient while you punish them in the trenches. Use superior depth to break them.