UConn football’s home opener and first home game in nearly two years is taking place today, with the Huskies facing a Holy Cross team that is not likely to be a pushover.
The last time these two teams met was the opening game of the 2017 season. The second Randy Edsall era kicked off with an optimism that quickly dissipated as the Crusaders took a 20-7 lead into the halftime break. UConn needed to make a change at QB and eventually pulled ahead in the fourth quarter to secure a 27-20 Husky victory.
Since that win on August 31, 2017, four years ago, UConn has won five games total and has barely edged past FCS competition during that time. They needed every second of gameplay to get a 56-49 win over Rhode Island in 2018, their only win of that season, and then held on to beat Wagner in the 2019 season opener, 24-21, for one of two wins that year.
This year UConn will be playing two FCS opponents in Holy Cross and Yale, and both are expected to be pretty solid. The Huskies are just 2.5-point favorites at home today.
The Crusaders are in their fourth year under head coach Bob Chesney after making the the FCS playoffs in 2019 and 2020. They have a potent rushing attack and a lot of returning production and experience across the offense — it will be a good test for a UConn team that gave up 45 points in its season opener to Fresno State, who is probably a top-half FBS squad, at least offensively.
After such a demoralizing start to the season, UConn really needs to regroup and win this game, because there is no reason a private FCS school in Massachusetts should be scaring or competing against a regional FBS program, unless that program is poorly run.
This week’s depth chart confirmed that Edsall has named Jack Zergiotis the starter at quarterback. Zergiotis struggled in the season opener, completing half of his passes for just 61 yards and 2.5 yards per attempt. He also took the sack-fumble that led to the scoop-and-score that opened Fresno State’s scoring and missed many open receivers downfield. He’ll have the chance to redeem himself today.
The defense will also be looking to redeem itself. A group that we have some optimism around, especially up front, looked every bit as vulnerable as the UConn teams of 2018 or 2019 at times against Fresno State. Today we’ll find out if that was opening-game jitters on the road against a high-quality opponent. They should be able to take care of business, and at least not get dominated at the line and do a better job tackling, against a smaller, slower team.
UConn announced 21,000 tickets were sold for this game but a simple Twitter search shows that a decent amount of folks are trying to give away tickets. Tailgates at the Rent will be a welcome sight to see as we seek a return to normalcy in the sports world. Hopefully the Huskies can buck our expectations and win this one comfortably instead of scraping by and leaving more concerns for this season and the future.