KICKOFF: 4:00 PM ET
TV: ESPNews, WatchESPN
ANNOUNCERS: Shawn Kenney (play-by-play), Dustin Fox (color analyst)
ANNOUNCERS: Mike Crispino (play-by-play), Wayne Norman (color analyst), Adam Giardino (sideline)
POINT SPREAD: Syracuse -27.5
LAST MEETING: Syracuse beat Bob Diaco’s UConn Huskies at the Rent behind 400+ passing yards from Eric Dungey and a monster performance from grad transfer receiver Amba Etta-Tawo, who set a school record with 270 receiving yards on the day.
Fun with Numbers:
100 - Career wins for Randy Edsall with his first and 100th coming at UConn.
25 - The number of tackles on the season for Kevon Jones, which is tops for freshman in all of Division I.
1 - Last week against URI a few players notched some firsts: an interception for corner Oneil Robinson, receiving touchdown for Heron Maurisseau, sack for Eli Thomas and fumble recovery for Jordan Morrison against URI last week. All but Thomas are true freshman.
0 - Number of times Syracuse has trailed in a game all season.
31 - The number of underclassmen UConn has used this season.
27 - Points off of turnovers for Syracuse this year
321 - Rushing yards for David Pindell, second among FBS quarterbacks.
5 - At one point, from 2007-2011, UConn won this matchup five times in a row. Syracuse has won the last two.
9.62 - Yards per play for UConn’s opponents. The defense is bad.
UConn, which just gave up 550 yds in a 56-49 win against FCS URI —a team that didn’t gain more than 400 yds in either of its games vs FCS opponents — is allowing a staggering 9.62 YPP--almost 2 full yards more than any other team in the past decade> https://t.co/9fbLRw1IBz https://t.co/rXXQEKFl62— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) September 18, 2018
What to Watch For
After getting throttled by UCF and Boise State before surviving a shootout with FCS foe Rhode Island, this young and banged-up Huskies defense has another tall task in trying to stop the Syracuse offense. So far, the Orange have scored 55, 62 and 30 points in their three games this season, all of which have been wins. They’re averaging just over 485 yards of offense per game and are led by quarterback Eric Dungey, who torched UConn two seasons ago, throwing for 407 yards and two touchdowns. This Cuse offense is just as dangerous, and Dungey and company could feast on this porous defense in the Carrier Dome if the Huskies don’t improve.
Dungey might not be playing, in which case backup Tommy Devito, who has less experience and is more of a pocket passer, will be leading their attack. Even with the backup quarterback, the Syracuse offense represents a challenge for this Husky defense.
Syracuse welcomes UConn after rolling past Florida State 30-7 last week at home last week and before they travel to Death Valley to take on No. 3 Clemson. Last year, the Orange ruined the Tigers’ chances to repeat with a 27-24 victory. After a big conference win last week and a top-five match-up on deck, it’s not out of line to think that Syracuse may not be totally focused on taking down the Huskies. If UConn can hang around and get a few stops on defense, it may be just enough to catch the Orange off guard.
Non-Pindell Offensive Playmakers
After a big performance against URI, UConn’s offense needs to prove it can do things against an FBS team now. Syracuse is probably not the defensive juggernaut it appeared to be against Florida State, but also probably isn’t the same team that allowed Western Michigan to score 42 points. This will be a solid test for the Husky attack.
Syracuse has a veteran-filled defensive line, but is younger at linebacker and in the secondary. If the Orange can get consistent pressure on David Pindell, it could be a long day, but Pindell will have a chance to make plays against these linebackers, who haven’t had to stop a quarterback like him yet.
Ultimately, against a vulnerable secondary, UConn’s top playmakers need to make something happen. Pindell has spread the ball out well in the passing game, but we need to see the pass-catchers get big if the Huskies are going to make any noise offensively. Despite 573 yards of total offense last week against URI, only one receiver had more than three receptions and just one had more than 51 receiving yards— so far it has not been a very explosive bunch.