KICKOFF: 6:30 p.m.
TV: CBS Sports Network
ANNOUNCERS: Dave Ryan (play-by-play), Corey Chavous (color analyst) and Melanie Collins (sideline)
RADIO: UConn IMG Radio Network (WTIC 1080 AM, WILI 1400 AM, WAVZ 1300 AM, WGCH 1490 AM); TuneIn; XM 202, Internet 962
ANNOUNCERS: Joe D'Ambrosio (play-by-play), Wayne Norman (color analyst), Ken Sweitzer (sideline)
POINT SPREAD: Missouri -12.5
By the Numbers:
7 - This will be the seventh meeting for UConn against an SEC team, with the Huskies holding a 2-4 record to date. The wins have come in a regular season contest against Vanderbilt and the 2010 PapaJohns.com Bowl against South Carolina.
9 - The 14 points allowed by the Huskies last week against Tulsa are the fewest UConn has given up since last year’s 20-9 win over Cincinnati.
2012 - The last time UConn had six sacks in a game, as it did against Tulsa last week.
168.6 - Bryant Shirreffs’ QB efficiency, good for 7th in the country. He’s also 9th in the nation in completion percentage at 68.2 percent. The redshirt senior has 1952 passing yards on the season and 13 touchdowns. Dude’s having a hell of a season.
6 - Through seven games, there are six UConn pass-catchers with over 200 receiving yards. There were three all of last year.
Keys to the Game/What to Watch For
Preventing Big Plays
Missouri’s success offensively has been predicated on making big plays. UConn’s defense has been pretty generous in allowing big plays so far on the season, so they’re going to have to keep that under control as best they can. Against Tulsa, the Husky secondary finally got some support from the pass rush, which could be the key again today as the young group is still prone to rookie mistakes.
Moving on Without Arkeel
Arkeel Newsome was a consistent home-run threat out of the backfield before suffering a sternum injury. He’s going to be out 3-4 weeks, so while Nate Hopkins and Kevin Mensah should be able to hold things down at running back, UConn is going to need someone to step up on the big-play front. Numerous receivers have flashed the ability over the course of the season, but someone is going to need to step up and do it more consistently.
Changing the Course of the Season
Football Study Hall’s S&P+ efficiency rankings have Missouri at 78th and UConn at 112th, predicting a 65 percent chance of a Tiger victory and a projected point spread of 6.5. Still, it’s a winnable game for the Huskies and one which could really change the outlook for the season if they could pull off the upset. Getting to 4-4 would put a bowl game within striking range, needing two more wins with four games remaining. It would also give us hope that the Nov. 18 meeting with Boston College (who is... decent?) at Fenway will be a good game. Just a few weeks ago, this looked like a team in full-on rebuild mode. Winning today would mean every game the rest of the season is interesting.