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UConn football vs. No. 4 Michigan Wolverines: How to watch, by the numbers, what to watch for

The Huskies will travel to the Big House and play on network television.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

KICKOFF: 12 p.m. ET


ANNOUNCERS: Bob Wischusen (play-by-play), Roddy Jones (color analyst), Kris Budden (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)

RECORDS: UConn (1-2), Michigan (2-0)

LAST WEEK: UConn was smoked by Syracuse, 48-14. Michigan spanked Hawaii, 56-10.

POINT SPREAD: Michigan -47.5

OVER/UNDER: 60.0 (odds via DraftKings)

SERIES HISTORY: The UConn Huskies and Michigan Wolverines have met two previous times on the gridiron. The Wolverines hold a 2-0 record.


PREGAME PRESS CONFERENCE(S): Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh; UConn head coach Jim Mora;


Fun With Numbers

1,058: Number of days between FBS wins for UConn (as of game day). It is also the number of days since its last FBS road win

2,192: Number of days elapsed (as of game day) since UConn has beaten a Power 5 school

384: Rushing yards by Nathan Carter, which is good for third in FBS

39: Tackles by Jackson Mitchell, which leads the country

10: Number of times UConn has faced a top-10 opponent in football. Six of those games have been against teams ranked in the top five

112: Michigan players who have seen game action in their careers, including 31 this season

6: Michigan players who hail from Connecticut (Kechaun Bennett (Suffield), Tristan Bounds (Wallingford), Cornelius Johnson (Greenwich), Will Rolapp (Darien), Jake Thaw (Westport) and Luke Schoonmaker (Hamden)

302: Number of consecutive games Michigan has played at home in front of 100,000 plus fans

13: In Jim Harbaugh’s 83 games, the Wolverines have not been ranked for 13 games

What to watch for

In the trenches

Against the most physical defensive line that they’ve faced all year, the UConn running backs and offensive line did all that was asked of them against Syracuse. Nathan Carter and sophomore Devontae Houston combined for 99 yards on the ground on 5.2 yards per carry. These are notnot game-breaking numbers by any means but enough where they should have been able to set up other areas of the offense around it.

Unluckily for UConn, this weekend’s opponents have a defensive front seven that’s about as impressive and physical as it gets. Defensive tackle Mazi Smith made waves during the offseason with his freakish weightlifting numbers, but youngsters Junior Colson (linebacker) and Mason Graham (interior lineman) have also been extremely impressive so far in the early season.

What’s up, short stuff?

UConn came into the Syracuse game expecting a disadvantage in pass protection, and this game against Michigan should be no different. UConn was able to effectively utilize the screen game, thanks to the improvement of Aaron Turner. A running back by trade, Turner seems to finally have found his footing as a pass catches after drop issues early in the season. Turner caught six balls for 71 yards receiving, the highest mark on the team, mostly on screens and tosses behind the line of scrimmage.

A successful rushing attack combined with a solid weapon on short passes can usually be parlayed into creating opportunities in the deep passing game, but that never really got off the ground against Syracuse. UConn attempted 17 passes, and although just three were thrown for incompletions, all 17 of them were thrown in front of the first down sticks.

Out of the frying pan

After a weekend where the UConn secondary got torched by a run-first quarterback for 292 yards and three touchdowns through the air, the Huskies are just getting started on their gauntlet of quarterback arm talent. Exciting Michigan freshman J.J. McCarthy won the starting job this week over Cade McNamara, the quarterback who earned one of the biggest victories in recent Michigan history last year against Ohio State, with an explosive 11-for-12, 229-yard, three-touchdown performance against Hawaii.

McCarthy is a five-star recruit with tremendous arm strength and accuracy, along with being an athletic and mobile quarterback. The freshman has a big, experienced receiving corps to target and a solid running game to fall back on. It’s a pretty cushy spot to be in for McCarthy and offensive co-coordinators Matt Weiss and Sherrone Moore, and if UConn’s defensive backs can’t step up to the challenge, it’ll be more smooth sailing for Michigan’s new-look offense.