It was a wild and crazy weekend of college football, one which saw three “power five” schools lose to FCS teams while another that saw its fans storm the field after beating an FCS team. There was a kick-six, upsets aplenty, and, sticking with tradition, Boston College lost.
Here’s a rundown of UConn’s upcoming opponents’ performances in Week 1.
Navy, W 52-16 over Fordham
The Midshipmen took care of business against FCS Fordham, but needed to pluck a backup quarterback from the stands after starting quarterback Tago Smith, who had been waiting in the wings for three years behind Keenan Reynolds, went down with a knee injury early in the 2nd quarter.
Smith’s status is uncertain for next week against UConn, but the Navy offense didn’t seem to miss a beat with its backups. Expect a tough contest for the Huskies next weekend against a program which has won eight or more games in each of the past four seasons.
Virginia, L 30-20 to Richmond
The Richmond Spiders are one of the better teams in the FCS ranks, but for Virginia to lose to them the way that they did obviously bodes well for UConn’s chances when the two teams meet at Rentschler Field on September 17.
The Cavaliers gained negative rushing yards while allowing Richmond QB Kyle Lauletta to throw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns as the Spiders gained 524 yards offensively on the day. Virginia’s starting quarterback is actually a somewhat familiar face for Husky fans, ECU transfer Kurt Benkert. He finished with three touchdowns through the air, but two of those came with the game already well in hand for the opponent.
Syracuse, W 33-7 over Colgate
After years of watching a plodding offense, Orange fans were delighted to see an explosion of points, even if it came against a local FCS opponent.
Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey put on an impressive display, completing 85% of his passes on 40 attempts on his way to 355 yards and two touchdowns. Senior receiver Amba Etta-Tawo was the top target of the day, hauling in 12 receptions for 210 yards and one of those touchdowns. It was a great performance for the offense, regardless of the opponent, and should make for an interesting battle when the Orange visit The Rent on September 24.
No. 15 Houston, W 33-23 over No. 3 Oklahoma
This was a big one. The Houston Cougars, who have only lost one game since December of 2014, to UConn, made a big statement with a convincing victory over the Oklahoma Sooners, widely considered the favorites to win the Big 12.
Senior quarterback Greg Ward Jr., who was held out of the contest against the Huskies last year with an injury, was tremendous, throwing for 321 yards and two touchdowns.
The Cougars fell behind early but took a lead into the half and then pulled away for good in the third quarter. One of their third-quarter touchdowns took place off a missed Oklahoma field goal, returned 109 yards by senior defensive back Brandon Wilson.
UConn will visit the Cougars on a short week after the Syracuse game against a Houston team which is better than last year’s and will be looking for revenge. It’s okay to be afraid.
Cincinnati, W 28-7 over UT-Martin
Since every single game is going to jump-start a conversation around which AAC team does and does not belong in the Big 12, College Football Twitter had a great time when the Bearcats fell behind 7-0 to University of Tennessee-Martin and trailed 7-6 at the half. Luckily, they pitched a shutout in the second half to end with a comfortable win. Crisis averted, I guess.
South Florida, W 56-20 over Towson
The Bulls showed why they are the favorites to win the AAC-East with a dominant performance against a strong FCS squad in Towson. This will be a tough team for the Huskies to stop when they visit Tampa in October.
Central Florida, W 38-0 over South Carolina State
UCF notched its first win since 2014 and though it came against an FCS team it’s still a solid start to the Scott Frost era in Orlando. The Knights will be visiting the Huskies for Homecoming weekend on October 22 as the vaunted #conFLiCT rivalry continues.
East Carolina, W 52-7 over Western Carolina State
In the battle between two schools named after made-up states, the Pirates prevailed in the head coaching debut of Scottie Montgomery, taking over after Ruffin McNeill was fired following the 2015 season.
Starting quarterback Philip Nelson completed all but four passing attempts on his way to 398 yards and five touchdowns in the air. Junior running back Anthony Scott ran for 180 yards on just 11 attempts, adding 90 receiving yards and scoring three total touchdowns.
Temple, L 28-13 to Army
Many expected Matt Rhule’s Temple Owls to take a step back after a 10-win season in 2015, but few saw a loss to Army coming in their season opener. Temple should be able to bounce back against Stony Brook next week before a big rematch against Penn State the following week.
Boston College, L 17-14 to Georgia Tech
Playing in Ireland, because branding or something, New England’s premier college football team lost yet another game to a conference foe, which means that UConn will probably win an ACC game before BC breaks its conference losing streak dating back to a win over Syracuse at the end of the 2014 season.
Tulane, L 7-3 to Wake Forest
In positive news, the Green Wave made a field goal which allowed them to take a 3-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Unfortunately, Wake Forest scored a touchdown in the second quarter and that would be all the scoring we would see in this game.
If this score looks familiar, it was the final tally of UConn’s barnburner at Tulane during a rainstorm where the Huskies scored zero offensive points but still took the win thanks to an interception returned for a touchdown by Jamar Summers. Diaco will conclude his third regular season as head coach with a home game against Tulane.