KICKOFF: 12:00 PM
TV: ESPNU, WatchESPN
ANNOUNCERS: Mike Couzens (play-by-play) and John Congemi (color analyst)
RADIO: UConn IMG Radio Network (WTIC 1080 AM, WILI 1400 AM, WAVZ 1300 AM, WGCH 1490 AM); TuneIn; Sirius 157, XM 202
ANNOUNCERS: Joe D'Ambrosio (play-by-play), Wayne Norman (color analyst), Ken Sweitzer (sideline)
POINT SPREAD: Tulsa -6
By the Numbers:
707- UConn went 707 days between road wins, snapping the nearly two-year long drought with a 28-24 win over Temple last weekend. A win over Tulsa would mark the first time the Huskies have won consecutive games since rattling off a three-game win streak in the 2015 season.
824- After giving up 117 yards against Temple last week, UConn’s defense will have its hands full once again in containing Tulsa running back D’Angelo Brewer, who ranks seventh in the country with 824 rushing yards this season. The Golden Hurricane rank 11th in the country in rushing offense, averaging 271.7 yards per game.
-3- After making an impact primarily as a receiver this season, UConn running back Arkeel Newsome was held in check from a pass-catching standpoint against Temple, catching four balls for -3 yards. He still managed to contribute though, racking up 56 yards on 18 attempts against the Owls. It will be interesting to see whether Newsome gets more touches through the air or on the ground this week against Tulsa.
110- While UConn’s passing defense remains the worst in the country by a wide margin, it might not be an issue against Tulsa, who ranks 110th out of 129 teams in the country with 171.9 yards per game.
2- While the defense is still struggling, it was able to get off the field at times against Temple by forcing two turnovers - one fumble and one interception. If the defense can get stops and continue to force turnovers, the Huskies should have a shot to take down the Golden Hurricane on homecoming weekend as long as the offense remains effective.
Keys to the Game/What to Watch For
Keep it Going
UConn deserves a lot of credit for putting up a solid performance on both sides of the ball last week against Temple after a rough Memphis game. The offense was opportunistic while the defense made a bunch of stops in key situations and forced some turnovers as well. It helped to be playing the easiest FBS opponent of the season thus far, with previous opponents UVA, SMU, and Memphis all currently top-50 teams. Tulsa is more in Temple’s class, and unlike last week this game is at home. The Huskies need to continue to take a step forward in their overall performance with this opportunity. According to Football Study Hall, this is the most winnable game left in the season, with S&P+ giving UConn a 43% chance of victory.
Kicking and punting had been a strength for the Huskies over the past few years but Michael Tarbutt and Brett Graham have not been very consistent. Tarbutt is getting a lot of touchbacks on kickoffs, but is 4-of-7 on the season on field goals, with two key misses on short attempts against ECU and Temple. Graham had two short punts in the 4th quarter against Temple and has had his share of shanks across the season. Edsall has already said that the primary backup at punter Luke Magliozi will be redshirting, so Graham is the man. Tarbutt’s job is pretty safe too, as Edsall seems to believe he just needs to get the mental aspect squared away.
With inconsistency from both, it’s not hard to see why Edsall and his staff have been aggressive on fourth downs.
Return of the Herg
Plenty of players have stepped up in his absence, but Hergy Mayala returning to the Huskies is very good news. He got on the field a bit against Temple, grabbing a touchdown pass, but will be a great addition to what was still a productive offense without him. It will also open things up more for guys like Mason Donaldson, Quayvon Skanes, and Keyion Dixon. Tulsa’s defense is ranked 129th in the country in S&P+ efficiency, so this better be a hallmark performance for the offense.