KICKOFF: 12:00 PM
TV: ESPNU, WatchESPN
ANNOUNCERS: Mike Corey (play-by-play) and Rene Ingoglia (color analyst)
RADIO: UConn IMG Radio Network (WTIC 1080 AM, WILI 1400 AM, WAVZ 1300 AM, WGCH 1490 AM); TuneIn; XM Channel 84, XM Internet Channel 84
ANNOUNCERS: Joe D'Ambrosio (play-by-play), Wayne Norman (color analyst), Ken Sweitzer (sideline)
POINT SPREAD: UConn -4.5
By the Numbers:
11/4: Originally scheduled for November 4, this game was rescheduled to Sunday so that UConn could make up their game with USF. Both ECU and UConn were supposed to have bye weeks this week.
5,000: Bryant Shirreffs became just the fifth UConn quarterback to have 5,000+ total yards in his career. He joins UConn legend Dan Orlovsky, Matt DeGennaro, Shane Stafford and UConn radio sideline reporter Ken Sweitzer.
3: After Kevin Mensah ripped off a 30-yard garbage time touchdown in loss last week, expect three Huskies running backs to split the workload against the Pirates. While Arkeel Newsome and Nate Hopkins are still listed as starters, Mensah will be in line for more touches this week.
455: The Huskies gave up 455 yards in the air to former ECU player and current UVA quarterback Kurt Benkert in last week’s 38-18 road loss to Virginia. If UConn wants a shot at beating the Pirates at home, the secondary must be better.
2: UConn turned the ball over twice in the red zone early on against Virginia, which really hurt their chances of staying close with the Cavaliers. If the Huskies want to beat the Pirates, they’ll have to be more careful with the football and cash in on when they’re in East Carolina’s territory.
0: In the loss against Virginia, UConn did not attempt a single field goal or extra point. Some of this could be due to the absence of long snapper Nick Zecchino, who did not travel with the team last week and is now home in New Jersey dealing with a health issue. With Zecchino out again this week (and possibly longer) it will be interesting to see how the Huskies approach the kicking situations against ECU.
Keys to the Game:
Please Don’t Suck
We were flying pretty high in Week 1 after watching the defense post a second-half shutout and Bryant Shirreffs lead the offense as competently as he did, even if it was against Holy Cross. The bye week let us stay high while we gained more info about other teams’ weaknesses. Unfortunately, the UVA game brought a crash down to earth and the realization that this team is not likely to be very competitive soon. So the bar has been substantially lowered. With what should be the worst team in the conference coming into town, the Huskies need to put on a solid performance and make sure that dubious distinction doesn’t get transferred onto them by losing to this 0-3 East Carolina team.
Ryan Van Demark is starting at tackle; a new long snapper will be in place in Brian Keating; running back Kevin Mensah is in line for more touches; Ian Swenson is listed as a starter at safety. All four of them are true freshmen, joining a number of redshirt freshmen, freshmen, and sophomores littered across the two-deep. I’m excited to see more of Eddie Hahn, Aaron Garland, Omar Fortt, Tyler Coyle, Tahj Herring, and Brayden Brown defensively. Offensively it’ll be nice to track the progression of receivers Quayvon Skanes, who made some nice plays in the UVA game, and Keyion Dixon.
Things really started to unravel after the Huskies turned the ball over twice on the goal line against Virginia. Even if it was on Bryant Shirreffs legs, the offense showed that it was able to move the ball at times this past Saturday. It needs to finish drives however, and not leave red zone opportunities without points. They’re simply making too many mistakes out there— 2 turnovers in each of the two games so far is not promising to start the season.
Offense Step Up
For years, we’ve been able to depend on UConn’s football team having a stout defense and an offense that... needs to try its hardest. At this point, the defense is a definite weakness, with the secondary looking like an obvious place to attack for any opposing offensive coordinator. I don’t really buy the positive bill of goods being sold around the Husky offense thus far, that it punted just once against UVA, or has decent aggregate yardage rankings, but it does seem to be a lot better than it has been in the past. Against a very weak ECU defense, and perhaps for the rest of the season, it needs to lead the way while the defense is clearly lagging behind.