UConn football opened up its 2019 season with a 24-21 victory over the Wagner Seahawks in a game that was not quite as close as the score might have indicated. For the Huskies, a win is a win and the defensive play could be a sign of progress to come through the remaining 11 games of the slate. Here is how the teams that appear on the schedule played in Week 1.
Illinois (1-0) - Sept. 7
The Akron Zips visited Champaign, Illinois on Saturday and the Fighting Illini took them to the woodshed, 42-3. Akron scored on its first possession, but over its next 11 drives, they turned the ball over twice and had just two drives of more than 30 yards.
Quarterback Brandon Peters was efficient throwing the ball, as he went 13-for-22 for 163 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. However, a lot of the damage was done on the ground and with an exceptionally balanced attack. Six runners had between five and eight attempts and while none of them broke 50 yards on their own, this stable of six players combined for 208 rushing yards, including 36 yards and a score for Peters.
Indiana (1-0) - Sept. 21
The Hoosiers also were victorious at home on Saturday as Ball State couldn’t pull an upset, falling 34-24. Indiana kept its opponents at arms’ length throughout the game, but were never able to truly put the Cardinals away. Michael Penix Jr. was the Hoosiers’ leading rusher and passer, completing 24 of his 40 passes for 326 yards with a touchdown and a pair of interceptions mixed in to go along with 67 more yards on the ground on just seven attempts. Stevie Scott III had the bulk of the carries and struggled to gain yards efficiently, but scored from close range twice in the second half to help preserve the lead.
No. 17 UCF (1-0) - Sept. 28
The Huskies open conference play agains the Knights, who easily dispatched FCS opponent Florida A&M 62-0. Brandon Wimbush earned the start at quarterback but alternated throughout the game with Dillon Gabriel, so either could be facing the Huskies when they travel to Orlando. Wimbush was 12-for-23 passing for 169 yards and two touchdowns, while Gabriel was 9-for-13 for 127 yards and a trio of scores. Adrian Killins Jr. added 106 yards on the ground and also found the end zone once. UCF gained 696 yards and allowed just 96 to the completely overmatched Rattlers.
USF (0-1) - Oct. 5
USF hosted No. 19 Wisconsin in one of the more intriguing games of the Week 1 slate, but the Bulls suffered an embarrassing 49-0 defeat. Blake Barnett was a mere 13-for-30 passing for 109 yards with a pair of interceptions. The rushing attack was functionally eliminated with the large deficit USF faced but when they did run the ball, it was ineffective at best. Jordan McCloud had 17 of the team’s 26 yards on the ground and as a whole, the offense gained only 157 yards. The Wisconsin running backs had no trouble on the ground, earning 5.4 yards per carry.
Tulane (1-0) - Oct. 12
The Green Wave earned a strong 42-14 win at home over FIU on Thursday night. For Tulane, it didn’t matter who was running the ball, as eight of the nine players to record a carry gained more than five yards per attempt. Corey Dauphine scored on two of his three rushes and Darius Bradwell added 90 more yards on 13 attempts to shoulder the load. Justin McMillan was an impressive 14-for-18 passing the ball for 199 yards and two touchdowns. The defense also did an exceptional job limiting opportunities for Florida International, as only one drive outside of the two that went for touchdowns gained more than 20 yards.
Houston (0-1) - Oct. 19
The Cougars had the American Athletic Conference’s toughest test as they traveled to Norman to face the No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners. Houston was down 21-10 at the half after being torched for three touchdowns early, but Jalen Hurts scored six total touchdowns as the Cougars couldn’t keep up with the Heisman Trophy candidate. D’Eriq King was pedestrian in the passing game, completing 14 of his 27 passes for 167 yards and a pair of scores, but he was much more effective on the ground. The senior rushed for 103 yards and another touchdown. Mulbah Car found the end zone as well on his way to a 76-yard performance.
UMass (0-1) - Oct. 26
The Minutemen put up 21 points in the first quarter and seemed poised to cruise to victory on the road over Rutgers. But in the words of Lee Corso: not so fast, my friend. After three consecutive 75-yard touchdown drives to begin the contest, UMass gained 82 yards through the final 45 minutes. Meanwhile, the Scarlet Knights added 31 points in the second quarter to take a commanding 38-21 lead into the locker room and continued to stall the UMass offense for a 48-21 win. Randall West finished with 20-of-31 passing, but only for 106 yards. West also added a touchdown and an interception. It was the running backs who were more effective, as Bilal Ally added 66 yards and a score, with Cam Roberson not far behind at 56 yards and a touchdown.
Navy (1-0) - Nov. 1
UConn will host the Midshipmen on a Friday night on ESPN2, but first, Navy dispatched Holy Cross 45-7, a team who just two years ago took the Huskies to the brink at Rentschler Field. The triple option attack was rolling, with Nelson Smith and CJ Williams the stars of a 428-yard rushing performance. Smith gained 96 yards and three scores on 15 carries, while Williams ran for 91 more on 10 carries with a touchdown mixed in. Quarterback Malcolm Perry and Isaac Ruoss each found pay dirt as well. Six players rushed for more than 25 yards, of which four were above the 50-yard plateau. Perry threw the ball nine times and completed six of them for an additional 103 yards.
Cincinnati (1-0) - Nov. 9
The Bearcats were featured on ESPN against UCLA on Thursday evening and earned a 24-14 win over the Bruins in a game that was close throughout, despite Cincinnati dominating the yard and time of possession battles. The Bearcat defense also forced four turnovers. Desmond Ridder was 18-of-26 passing for 242 yards with a pair of touchdowns and one interception. Michael Warren II led the rushing attack, running for 92 yards on 26 attempts with a touchdown. Gerrid Doaks also added 53 yards on the ground.
ECU (0-1) - Nov. 23
While the score was closer than last year’s affair with NC State, the result was the same as the Wolfpack blew out the Pirates, 34-6. ECU couldn’t get anything going on the ground, as Darius Pinnix Jr. earned 23 of the team’s 41 yards. Holton Ahlers fared slightly better through the air, completing 22 of his 39 passes, but they only went for 167 yards. The Pirates only had two plays go for more than 20 yards. The only scoring came on a pair of field goals, one midway through the first quarter and the second with just over a minute remaining in the contest.
Temple (1-0) - Nov. 30
The Owls welcomed Bucknell to Philadelphia and were not gracious hosts, grabbing a 56-12 victory. Temple posted 695 yards to the Bison’s 211 and opened up strong with three touchdowns in the first quarter to effectively put the game away. Anthony Russo was the star for the Owls, posting 409 yards on 32-of-41 passing. He threw four touchdowns to one interception. Re’Mahn Davis and Jager Gardner were an effective one-two punch on the ground, gaining 60 and 54 yards, respectively. Gardner added two scores to Davis’ one. Temple scored on its first four possessions and despite Bucknell returning an interception for a touchdown on the fifth, the Owls never lost control.