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UConn football vs. UMass Minutemen: How to watch, by the numbers, what to watch for

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One team will leave McGuirk Stadium on Saturday with their first win of the 2021 season.

NCAA Football: Massachusetts at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

KICKOFF: 3:30 P.M. ET

TV: NESN, FloSports

ANNOUNCERS: Jay Burnham (play-by-play), Andy Gresh (color analyst), Matt Goldstein (sideline)

RADIO: UConn IMG Radio Network; Varsity Network App; 97.9 ESPN Hartford, WINE 940 AM, WGCH 1490 AM, WICC 600 AM, WAVZ 1300 AM, WATR 1320 AM WILI 1400 AM and 95.3 FM

ANNOUNCERS: Mike Crispino (play-by-play), Wayne Norman (color analyst), Adam Giardino (sideline), Bob Joyce (pregame host)

RECORDS: UConn (0-6), UMass (0-5)

LAST WEEK: UConn lost to Vanderbilt, 30-28, on a last-second field goal; UMass was spanked by Toledo, 45-7

POINT SPREAD: UConn -3.5

OVER/UNDER: 57.5

SERIES HISTORY: The UConn Huskies and UMass Minutemen have met 73 times on the gridiron. The Minutemen hold a 36-35-2 advantage over the Huskies.

DEPTH CHART: UConn; UMass

OPPONENT PREVIEW: UMass

WEATHER FORECAST: Amherst, MA


Fun With Numbers

715 - The number of days between UConn football wins (as of game day). Ironically, their last win was on October 28, 2019 against the Minutemen

61 - Total tackles by Jackson Mitchell which ties him for the best in the country

10.2 - Tackles per game by Mitchell which is tenth best in the country

-163 - Amount of points UMass has been outscored in their five games (236-73)

102 - Career-high receiving yards for freshman wide receiver Keelan Marion vs Vanderbilt

123 - Career-high rushing yards for freshman running back Nate Carter vs Vanderbilt

127 and 130 - SP+ rankings for UMass and UConn respectively


What to watch for

You play to win the game

It’s a well-known cliche when any program hasn’t had success in a period of time, but it’s one that certainly applies to UConn football: In order to finally get the monkey off of their back and score a victory over their opponents on any given week, they need to do more than outplay their opponents. They need to learn how to win.

The old sports talk radio adage was on display in the final minutes of UConn’s loss to Vanderbilt. In the final few minutes of the game, the Huskies were faced with defending a Vanderbilt team driving for a field goal in the last two minutes of the game. After an unsportsmanlike penalty gave the Commodores prime field position on their own 40, they drove well into field goal range, aided by a pass interference penalty, and kicked the field goal for the win.

Against Wyoming, UConn was in the lead 16-10 heading into the fourth quarter before giving up two touchdowns in the fourth quarter in an eventual loss. The game just didn’t break UConn’s way, but that’s what happens when you’re having a season like UConn’s. In order to avoid heartbreak against arguably the worst opponent on their schedule, the Huskies will have to avoid those little mistakes, along with executing on both sides of the ball. The good news, though, is that each week, they get a little closer.

“We’re really coming together as a team, everybody’s got the same mindset, everybody wants to win and I think it’s very evident. You watch our games now, we’re competing for 48 minutes,” tight end Jay Rose said this week during availability. “It makes the games a lot more fun.”

Can the offense continue to click?

Interim head coach Lou Spanos was spared a difficult decision this week after UConn’s true freshman phenom Tyler Phommachanh was ruled out “indefinitely” with a lower leg injury. This week would have been Phommachanh’s fourth game of the season, any more and he would be forced to give up his redshirt and burn a year of eligibility.

In his place, Krajewski had his good and bad moments, completing 18-of-24 passes for 264 yards, looking equal parts brilliant and lost in relief. He was buoyed by freshman running back Nate Carter, who ran for 124 yards on a solid 5.1 yards per carry. The Huskies also relied partly on trick plays with Krajewski at the helm, running a flea-flicker and a double pass against Vanderbilt.