1. UConn's defense can dominate someone (who is decent).
After getting destroyed by Cincinnati last week, a game in which the Huskies gave up a season-high 37 points, and giving up a lot of big plays in the loss to USF the week before, many were unsure if the defense was actually as strong as previously believed. Those concerns were quieted rather conclusively as UConn completely shut down the ECU offense, keeping it off the scoreboard until the fourth quarter. The Huskies intercepted the two Pirates' quarterbacks four times, and 5 out of 13 ECU drives were held under 20 yards.
This is no scrubby offense either. The Pirates scored 24 against Florida in a close loss, beat Virginia Tech behind a 35-point effort, and fell to BYU only after putting 38 points on the board. They can really light it up, but simply weren't able to against UConn.
Overall, the UConn defense showed great resiliency to bounce back like this. It should be able to build on this game next week when they head to New Orleans to face Tulane, who has the second-worst scoring offense in the conference.
2. Bowl game chances are still alive!
UConn came into Friday night needing three wins in four games to reach bowl eligibility, which appeared to be a longshot. Nobody really expected the Huskies to beat ECU, and most assumed that the Huskies' chances of a postseason appearance had died. But beating ECU in such convincing fashion has renewed hope for a postseason berth.
With Tulane coming up next week, the Huskies have a good chance to get to five wins, needing only one more in the remaining two games. Now, those two games are against nationally-ranked Houston and Temple, but the Huskies could pull off an upset.
Houston will be coming off games against Cincinnati and Memphis, and will end the year against Navy. This screams trap game for the Cougars, who will be visiting Pratt & Whitney Stadium on Senior Night for the Huskies' home finale. The cold weather and the opportunity to clinch at home should give the Huskies an extra edge.
Beating Temple on the road would be tough, but anything is possible, right?
3. Arkeel Newsome: Superduperstar
The sophomore running back continues to outdo himself with each passing week. Newsome started off the season somewhat quietly but has seen his role gradually increase across the season. After posting over 100 yards from scrimmage in five of the last six games, he is now at a point where Bob Diaco is saying that it's hard not to give him the ball every time.
Newsome's big play potential and ability to make something out of nothing are a breath of fresh air for a UConn offense which has been as stale as the 1940's-era playbook it looked like it was running under the previous regime. His skills have the potential to mask a lot of deficiencies in the offense, such as blocking or quarterback play. The beautiful part is that he is just scratching the surface as a sophomore.
4. The Huskies Need Better Fan Support
I am usually not one to make this battle cry- if fans don't feel like going to the games that is usually (in my opinion) on the program for not putting on a good show. With UConn Football, that has been the case for about five years running so it's an uphill battle to change people's minds. Having a stadium 25 minutes off-campus and making students pay to get there doesn't help, but that's a different story for a different day.
It is hard for me to fault people for not wanting to spend their Friday night at PAWS ARF after the way the Huskies lost in Cincinnati, and even the week before against USF at Homecoming. There is no hatred or rivalry (yet!) in a game against something called East Carolina and all indications were that the Huskies were going to suffer a loss at home.
But for the fans who were there to leave so early because the game was well in hand for UConn is tough to see. UConn basically brought its postseason chances back from the grave and by the time it was all over there were maybe a couple thousand watching. The Huskies had broken through for what was truly a hallmark win in the Bob Diaco era, but nobody was around to cheer on the team's accomplishment. It wasn't a work/school night, there wasn't inclement weather- it's hard to comprehend why more UConn fans wouldn't stick around until the end instead of heading for the exits with nearly five minutes left because the Huskies were ahead big.
If the Huskies win this Saturday in New Orleans, they will be playing Houston with a chance to clinch the first UConn Football postseason appearance since 2011. Hopefully that opportunity will draw a better, larger crowd, especially for Senior Night, and hopefully they stay until the end if UConn is winning.