KICKOFF: 7:00 p.m.
TV: CBS Sports Network
ANNOUNCERS: Dave Ryan (play-by-play), Corey Chavous (color analyst), Melanie Collins (sideline)
RADIO: UConn IMG Radio Network (WTIC 1080 AM, WILI 1400 AM, WAVZ 1300 AM, WGCH 1490 AM), SIRIUS 113, XM 203, XM 960 (Internet), TuneIn Radio app
ANNOUNCERS: Joe D'Ambrosio (play-by-play), Wayne Norman (color analyst), Ken Sweitzer (sideline)
POINT SPREAD: South Florida -19.5
SERIES HISTORY: This is the 14th time these two teams have met on the gridiron and the USF Bulls hold an 8-5 advantage. Since 2005, the two teams have played 11 times as conference foes and UConn is 5-6. USF beat the Huskies 28-20 at the Rent in 2015.
Of UConn’s remaining games, this one is the least likely to end in a win per Football Study Hall’s projections. S&P+ is projecting an 18-point Bulls win with a 14% chance of a Husky upset. F/+ likes South Florida a bit less, projecting a 16-point USF win.
S&P+ has UConn as the 83rd-ranked (104th offense, 66th defense) team in the country while USF is at 28th (9th offense, 74th defense). The Huskies’ chances of making a bowl game are at 47.5%, up considerably from 24.5% going into last week’s game against Cincinnati.
By the Numbers
98.8 - Rushing yards per game allowed by the UConn defense, good for 11th in the country.
4- Noel Thomas’s national ranking in receptions per game this season. Through six games, the senior has 55 receptions for 631 yards and three touchdowns. His receiving yards per game are 15th in the nation and he is currently ninth in school history in receptions and tenth in receiving yards.
9 - Florida natives on the UConn roster: K Bobby Puyol, C Ryan Crozier, G Daniel Oak, RB Ron Johnson, CB Jhavon Williams, CB John Green, OL Kyle Schafenacker, LB AJ Garson and RB Ja’Kevious Vickers.
4.8 - The average margin of victory from the last nine games in this series. They haven’t been pretty, but they have been close. USF has currently won four in a row. #dySFunCTion
10 - USF has scored 35 or more points in 10 straight games.
UConn defensive front seven vs. Quinton Flowers and Marlon Mack
This is the big one. UConn’s run defense has been successful, USF’s rushing offense is 12th in the country. Something’s got to give. Diaco has been very pleased by the performance of the line and linebackers thus far, but they will have their work cut out for them Saturday.
Jamar Summers vs. Rodney Adams
Diaco has said that Jamar Summers’ future at UConn and beyond is at cornerback. Though he played well at safety last week in the win over Cincinnati, Summers may move back to corner this week to man up USF’s best receiver. He struggled against a similar player in Syracuse’s Amba Etta-Tawo, but will need to have a redeeming performance if UConn is to have any chance of slowing the USF attack.
Bryant Shirreffs vs. USF pass defense
USF will put up points in this game, whether it is a lot or a whole lot is up to the Husky defense. Either way, UConn will need to have its most productive outing of the season offensively. In last year’s matchup, the Huskies gained over 500 yards of offense as Shirreffs enjoyed his most productive game of the season, with 365 passing yards, 100 rushing yards, and two total touchdowns. He will need a similar performance for UConn to compete in this one.
I think UConn can keep it closer than expected, but it would be very tough to pull off the upset given the explosiveness of USF’s offense and, well, non-explosiveness of UConn’s. The point of the game, after all, is to score more points than the other team. Even if UConn can make a couple of stops and hang in this one, the Huskies can’t win a shootout and probably aren’t stout enough defensively to keep the Bulls off the board for long. USF wins, 31-23.